A nightmare in Tyler County WV! So far, we have been threatened by those who are “standing in” for others, and then leave 10-15 minutes, exchanging places with those who were home sleeping, or staying in close buildings, sleeping on cots before the court house opens. The bulk of us, drive 1-2 hours to work, only to find that at 2 am, you are number 52!Apparently professionals (and adults) are in short supply in those parts. With some researchers becoming belligerent and abusive, but I’m inclined to believe that those are offenses by a loud minority. I can’t say that I’ve ever had the ‘luck’ to have be in line hours early to get into the courthouse, but cramped record rooms are a normal thing to deal with. It seems that the counties with the biggest boom always have the smallest amount of space.
What I believe is the original article about this issue, posted in the The State Journal: Standing Room Only Outside Tyler County Courthouse, quoted the County Commission President John Stender “…the fire marshall limits us to 16 spaces, and we leave two open for local attorneys and people in the county…” Having only 16 spaces in a competitive play does not make for great circumstances. However, what I fail to understand is why the title researchers, abstractors, and landmen are making it their personal mission to be first in line.
Ultimately, those researchers have the responsibility to put in the time they are paid for (be it hourly or at a dayrate), and if they can only access the records for an hour or two a day they shouldn’t hold themselves responsible for it. In my opinion, the clients have to make a call on a few options:
1. Pay the researchers to get there early, or pay people to stand in line for them (which is apparently going on).
2. Contract with a local title plant, or simply buy one.
3. Pay the clerks office to stay open later, or give exclusive hours.
However, it is those agents responsibility to conduct themselves in a business-like manner and to respect the records, staff, and other researchers. Unfortunately, in these cases the best thing you can do is ensure everyone on your crew represents your client in the best way possible. This may mean mentoring inexperienced landmen, or calming down that experienced landman that doesn’t take kindly to rudeness. Problems in the records room with a client can quickly lead to ‘permit backups’ in other county offices, so our (good) attitude is the first line of defense against delays.
The State Journal article does mention that they are actively working with Antero Resources, Triad Hunter, and Stone Energy to come up with a solution, and that they expect to have one within the month.