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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Supreme Court revives class action case on oil and gas leases in Cleburne County

Posted By on Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 3:00 PM

The Arkansas Supreme Court today revived a class action lawsuit in Cleburne Circuit Court over oil and gas leases allegedly notarized outside the presence of landowners.

According to the complaint, landmen, who were procuring leases for oil-and-gas companies, would obtain the signatures of landowners on the leases and then deliver the leases en masse to the clerk’s office. There, the
clerks would notarize the signatures and then record the leases, although the clerks had not
witnessed the landowners’ signing the leases.

The complaint requested that the court grant an injunction to require [Circuit Clerk Karen] Giles to “inspect and verify each and every oil and gas lease received for recording and determine if the notarial acknowledgment is accurate, true, and correct.”

Appellants further requested that the court enjoin Giles “to purge any and all oil and gas leases which contain a false notarial acknowledgment.” Finally, the complaint requested costs and attorney’s fees.

The case had been dismissed on Giles' reponse  that no facts had been given on which relief could be granted. The circuit court dismissed the case on a lack of damages without giving the complainants a chance to make their case that they had standing to challenge officials' actions outside their authority.

Thanks to Greers Ferry Natural Gas Watch for calling this case to my attention. It says the integrity of lease records matter. Here's the opinion.

We wrote about this suit when it was filed.

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