AMRA President Shannon Poe has one of his mining claims illegally top-filed.
A claim AMRA President Shannon Poe (and three others) picked up in 2009 was top-filed by another miner in 2010. This has resulted in a myriad of angry phone calls and is a prime example of how to handle a situation like this.
First of all, whomever files first owns the claim if it was filed correctly. Meaning: a proper location, description, it is on ground open to mineral entry and filing, was recorded properly with the county and has the proper signatures. The claim must be filed timely with the BLM and recorded within 90 days of locating the claim. Our claim is 80 acres and has 4 claimants. As a reminder, you need one signature/locator/claimant for each 20 acres filed so a 20 acre claim only needs one locator/signature, a 160 acre claim needs 8.
This claim has 4 signatures, was properly marked (location date and marker), was properly recorded with the county, filed with BLM and the description of the claim is valid and proper.
So what do you do if someone top-files you like this?
Print copies of every document which pertains to the claims and obtain all copies of taxes (if applicable) paid on the claim to the county from the date of location to the current date.
Write a time line of events. In this case, We typed up a two page time line of the two claims involved from two years prior to our filing the claim to prove there were no other claims over the ground we were filing. We included every document relating to the date of all of the claims filed in that section. We referenced each of the documents as attachments (example: attachment 1 etc…).
All areas within section 32 of 3S, 12E are open for mineral entry and claims location. The land is administered by USFS (Stanislaus NF). 80 acre placer claim “Golden Nugget” was staked and marked as a discovery on October 9th, 2009 by locator Poe, Seagull, Smith and Decker.
The claim was recorded in Mariposa County October 12th 2009 and the claim was filed with BLM with a proper description on November 9th, 2009. (See attachment 1)
Claim named “jumper” was filed with BLM on March 23, 2010 over the top of “Golden Nugget” by claimant Wagner. The claim was recorded in Mariposa County March 27, 2010 (see attachment 2). Claim owners Poe, Seagull, Smith and Decker were unaware a claim has been filed over their claim.
Jumper was filed as a 40 acre claim and had one signature/locator/claimant. This invalidates the claim for two reasons, one the claim was top-filed over another validly held, filed and recorded claim. Two, because the claim only has one signature and the claim file does not contain any quit claim where one person was dropped off the claim. The original documents show only one signature.
Claimant Wagner was witnessed by miner and claim owner Smith posting claim markers on Golden Nugget claiming the claim is “Jumper”. Smith informed Wagner the claim is not his and Golden Nugget was filed and owned prior to his claim being filed. He was informed to cease and desist and remove the illegal claim markers. Wagner refused. Smith removed claim markers from the claim. Poe calls Wagner and informs Wagner the claim is not his and to cease and desist. Offers to provide all BLM and county documents proving legal ownership. Wagner refuses and hangs up.
No contact with Wagner and no issues reported.
Wagner resurfaces and claims Golden Nugget is his claim and that Jumper is 160 acres and encompasses the entire lower SE section. Makes a statement to mining partner of Poe, Dan Seagull that he is calling the Sheriff and have all parties arrested for claim jumping and trespass. Informs all parties to cease any and all mining operations.
Poe calls Wagner and informs Wagner once again it is not his claim and that Golden Nugget was legally and properly filed the year prior to his locating “Jumper”. Asks Wagner to contact BLM and request all documents relating to who filed the claims and when proving ownership and that Golden Nugget was filed the year prior to his claim. Wagner refuses and becomes irrational. Poe informs Wagner he is materially interfering with his mining operation and to again cease and desist with his illegal assertions and activities. Wagner becomes more irrational, calls Poe some names and hangs up.
We contacted the Mariposa Mining District who has authority over this area and requested a hearing. We have submitted a timeline similar to the one above and have provided all legal documents, descriptions and contact information of all parties.
The Mining District will hold a hearing and make a ruling on the legal ownership of the claim(s) based upon the evidence.
Once this is completed, a copy of this determination (affidavit from the board) will be provided to both parties and to the county Sheriff.
I will be contacting and requesting a meeting with the county Sheriff once the determination is completed. I will provide all the documents and inform the Sheriff it is a civil matter, but that we are the rightful owners of this real property mining claim. If the man continues with materially interfering with my mining operations, legal and criminal charges can be pursued.
Materially interfering with a mining operation is a crime in California, although rarely prosecuted, it is a crime. It is a felony to claim jump in California and to illegally claim someone’s claim as your own.
Mining claim disputes are a civil matter. You can’t call, and expect BLM to do a thing about this. BLM allowed another person to file a claim over ours, plain and simple and this created this mess. A civil matter meaning it is between the two parties and unless this is remedied with the Mining District holding a hearing, it will then only be resolved in civil court. I spoke with BLM on Tuesday and they admitted to me on the phone, they will take anyone’s paperwork, even if it is over the top of another persons claim. Let that sink in for a minute. They will allow anyone to file any claim, no questions asked. Obviously we are going to work hard to change this.
We are fully prepared and willing to take this man to court as it is not a question of “if” we own the claim.
We’ll give everyone an update as this case proceeds.
Have a question? Just ask, that is what AMRA is about.