PA Landowners Continue Fight Over Chesapeake's Underpaid Royalties
Hundreds of landowners from Northeast Pennsylvania asked a federal court this month to deny motions filed by Chesapeake Energy Corp., Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Williams Partners LP and other companies to arbitrate their antitrust claims outside of court and dismiss parts of their complaint.
The case, which pits more than 300 landowners in Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Wyoming counties against the companies, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania roughly a year ago.
It alleges that the companies conspired to "reduce, restrain or eliminate competition for gas and mineral rights, operations rights and gathering serves in multiple counties in Northern Pennsylvania." The "anticompetitive conspiracy," the plaintiffs claim, allowed the defendants to deduct "artificially inflated" post-production costs from royalty payments.
In briefs filed on Wednesday, the plaintiffs said the arbitration agreements in the Chesapeake leases "expressly limit" disputes to those between a lessor and lessee. They argue that none of the non-signatory defendants named in the case are lessors or lessees and can therefore not be parties to arbitration. Plaintiffs requested that any claims the court finds arbitrable should be stayed so litigation can proceed for those remaining.Continue reading the article by clicking here.
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