MORGANTOWN -- Texas company MM-Marcellus II is suing Dinsmore & Shohl after it claims the law firm was negligent and breached its contract.

In 2010, Marcellus says it hired, engaged and retained Dinsmore and its attorneys to examine and search the legal title to the oil and gas estate for the 214 acre tract or parcel of land known as Pine Swamp located in Portland District in Preston County, according to a complaint filed July 3 in Monongalia Circuit Court.

Marcellus claims it desired to purchase outright the undivided one-half interest in the oil and gas in and underlying Pine Swamp and engaged the defendant to ascertain the identity of the true owners and whether any adverse claims or conditions existed which would affect good marketable title to the land.

On July 1, 2010, the defendant reported to Marcellus that the owner of Pine Swamp was the heirs of Mary Grace Friend, and the correspondence contained no references to any adverse conveyances, liens, oil and gas leases, rights-of-way or other significant matters or adverse claims or conditions of the land, according to the suit.

Marcellus claims subsequent to its purchase of the undivided one-half interest in the oil and gas, it was advised by legal counsel of Friend's granddaughter on Aug. 2, that she was the owner of the undivided one-half interest in the gas and oil and that she leased the gas and oil to a drilling company.

Dinsmore failed to exercise the knowledge, skill and ability ordinarily possessed and exercised by members of the legal profession acting in similar circumstances, according to the suit.

Marcellus claims Dinsmore was negligent in the examination and search of the title of the oil and gas and breached the contract of employment.

As a result of the defendant's negligence and breach of contract, Marcellus suffered damages, according to the suit.

Marcellus is seeking compensatory damages. It is being represented by J. Michael Benninger and Daniel D. Taylor.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number: 12-C-442

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