Issue: Illegal underpayment of gas royalties
Lieff Cabraser serves as Co-Lead Counsel in several cases pending in federal court in Virginia, in which plaintiffs allege that certain natural gas companies improperly underpaid gas royalties to the owners of the gas. In addition, in four of the pending cases, the plaintiffs also allege that two of Virginia’s leading natural gas companies, EQT Production Company and CNX Gas Company, have, contrary to settled Virginia law, designated them and similarly situated class members as conflicting claimants to royalty payments owed to them from the sale of coalbed methane gas from their properties. As a result of that designation, plaintiffs’ and class members’ royalty payments are held in escrow. In these cases, plaintiffs seek a declaration from the Court that they and the class members are the rightful owners of the coalbed methane, and a release of the royalty payments held in escrow.
In one case that recently settled in Virginia, the plaintiffs recovered approximately 95% of the damages they suffered. Lieff Cabraser also achieved settlements on behalf of natural gas royalty owners in five other class actions outside Virginia. Those settlements — in which class members recovered between 70% and 100% of their damages, excluding interest — were valued at more than $160 million.