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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Gas Companies Try to Get Lawsuit Over Royalty Scams Tossed on Technicality

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Two major players in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale gas boom sought to convince a Bradford County judge on Thursday to narrow or throw out a lawsuit by the state attorney general, who accuses the companies of misleading landowners about lease terms and cheating them out of royalties. 
Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp. argue the state’s case is fundamentally flawed because it misapplies Pennsylvania’s consumer protection law to a situation where the apparently harmed party — the landowners — were not consumers, but sellers, of mineral rights. 
“The consumer protection statute does not regulate the conduct of purchasers,” Daniel Brier, an attorney for Chesapeake, told Senior Judge Kenneth Brown. He said four-fifths of the state’s complaint should be dismissed for that reason alone. 
In a case originally filed in 2015, the attorney general’s office alleges that Chesapeake and three of its subsidiaries violated the state’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law by inflating prices for shipping gas from wells to major pipelines, engaging in deceptive leasing practices and participating in a price-fixing scheme with Anadarko.
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