Saturday, June 17, 2017

Defense verdict reported in royalty owners suit over gas payments in Fayetteville shale

Posted By on Sat, Jun 17, 2017 at 7:51 AM

NO MORE MONEY: For plaintiffs in case over royalties in Fayetteville shale.
  • NO MORE MONEY: For plaintiffs in case over royalties in Fayetteville shale.

A federal jury last night reportedly returned a defendants' verdict on all counts in the class action lawsuit against Southwestern Energy and affiliates over amounts paid for gas extracted in Arkansas.

The jury got the case about 2 p.m. and I got a note from an attorney in the case about 9:30 p.m. saying there'd been a defendants' verdict on all counts. That's all I know at this point. The on-line docket reflects no more information and no information on whether Judge Brian Miller has yet dealt with a motion for sanctions by plaintiffs' lawyers against defense lawyers for colluding with the gas company in a separate state court case to reach a $45 million settlement that plaintiffs in the federal case saw as more advantageous to the gas company and lawyers ($20 million for plaintiffs' lawyers) than to royalty owners.

The proposed settlement in state court was terminated in Conway Circuit Court when the federal case went to trial. Pleadings in that case, covering some 13,000 royalty beneficiaries, had said the federal case would torpedo the settlement. Among the questions today is whether life can be blown back into that state court settlement. It had received tentative approval pending a final hearing later this summer.

Here's the motion to terminate the state court settlement.
The federal case had many similar plaintiffs. Both cases claim the gas producers had reduced payments by improperly claimed expenses.

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