Record filed of jury's verdicts for defense in gas royalty case | Arkansas Blog

Monday, June 19, 2017

Record filed of jury's verdicts for defense in gas royalty case

Posted By on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 at 10:19 AM

I reported over the weekend a defense verdict in the class-action lawsuit by gas royalty owners against Southwestern Energy and related companies in federal court.

The jury got the case Friday afternoon and deliberated until 9 p.m. or so before returning its verdict.

Still no word on potential appeal, whether life will be restored in a class action claim with a proposed $45 settlement in state court that was terminated when this case went to trial or whether federal Judge Brian Miller will issue a ruling in an allegation by plaintiffs' lawyers in the federal case that lawyers in the state case had colluded on a settlement better for lawyers and the gas company than property owners.

For now, a spokesman for Southwestern says she's unable to comment on the status of the state case, which remains pending litigation, but she's attempting to provide some insight procedurally on what might come next.

As for Friday's verdict, the company issued this statement

We are very pleased with the outcome of the case. We value our relationships with our landowners, and the hard-working jury agreed that we honored the terms of our leases. We hope this verdict will put this long-standing litigation to rest. 
The company also filed notice with the SEC of the case outcome. It said:

On June 16, 2017 the jury returned a verdict in favor of Southwestern Energy Company (the “Company”) and certain of its subsidiaries in the federal class action lawsuit regarding royalty deductions in Arkansas, which most recently was described in the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2017 and the Current Report on Form 8-K filed on June 6, 2017. The verdict remains subject to post-trial motions before judgment is entered.

The plaintiff class in this lawsuit comprises a substantial majority of similarly situated lessors of lands in Arkansas, most of whom are named plaintiffs or members of classes in other lawsuits described in the Company’s Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2017. The Company currently does not anticipate that those other cases are likely to have a material adverse effect on the results of operations, financial position or cash flows of the Company and its subsidiaries taken as a whole.

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