Beaver County gas-drilling lawsuit moves to federal court
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A lawsuit by 17 households, mostly in Beaver County, against gas firm Chesapeake Appalachia was transferred today to federal court at the company's request.
The complaint by families primarily in the Hookstown, Georgetown and Industry areas was recently filed in the Beaver County Common Pleas Court. It mirrors other complaints in claiming that the families were approached from 2003 to 2007 by O&G Investment Holdings, of Wooster, Ohio, offered leases, and told "that if the Leases were not signed [drillers] would drill on adjacent lands and extract Plaintiffs' minerals without paying any compensation."
The complaint by attorneys Michael B. Jones and Chad F. McMillen said the leases contained "minimal or no delay rentals or signing bonuses" and the families have received "no production royalties" so far.
Chesapeake, it said, took over the leases but hasn't drilled on the property.
The families allege fraudulent misrepresentation, unfair trade practices and breach of contract, and want compensation from Chesapeake and O&G. They also want a temporary restraining order barring drilling until their complaints are resolved.
Chesapeake and O&G exercised their right to automatically remove the case to federal court, saying that is where it belongs since it involves parties from different states. A Chesapeake spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.
First Published June 29, 2012 12:43 pm