The West Virginia Supreme Court recently decided a case with far-reaching impact for West Virginia mineral owners in SWN Production Company, LLC and Equinor USA Onshore Properties, Inc. v. Kellam. The Kellam decision answers important questions regarding long-standing problems with the payment of oil and gas royalties by producers, with one Supreme Court Justice firmly asserting that “Lessees are using accounting-based chicanery and devising deductions designed to completely consume the lessor’s royalty through a ‘death by a thousand cuts’ strategy.”
While Kellam resolved some issues, many more remain for West Virginia’s royalty owners. Presently, several class actions have been filed against Antero Resources Corporation for “accounting-based chicanery.” If you or somebody you know is a lessor of a lease owned or controlled by Antero, you may soon receive class action notices for the following cases:
Patrick Michael Wright, Patricia Susan Wright, Deborah Ann Cox, Richard L. Armstrong, Donald R. Reynolds and Deborah L. Wycoff v. Antero Resources Corporation, 1:20-CV-222 (United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia)
Braxton Minerals III, LLC, Steven Crowe, Deborah Crowe and JJGLG Properties, LLC v. Antero Resources Corporation, 1:21-CV-119 (United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia)
Sandra Goodno and Anthony Rebholz v. Antero Resources Corporation, 5:20-CV-100 (United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia)
These class action lawsuits may have wide-reaching and massively influential consequences on the payment of your oil and gas royalties and deciding whether to opt in or opt out of the class is a critical decision you may need to make. As always, Block & Associates, LLC stands ready and willing to advise.