Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

September 12, 2013

US judge expresses frustration in Va. gas case

Associated Press

ABINGDON, Va. — A federal judge is expressing frustration about the length of time that southwest Virginia natural gas owners’ royalty claims have been tied up in the legal process.

U.S. District Judge James P. Jones said in court Thursday he had hoped a settlement would have been reached by now.

At issue at the hearing in Abingdon is whether Jones should certify class-action lawsuits by landowners seeking the release of some $27 million in royalties from state escrow and a full accounting from two Pittsburgh-area energy companies.

EQT Production Co. and CNX Gas Co. are accused of underpaying landowners.

Lawyers for the gas companies argue that the diversity of individual claims is simply too broad and complicated to be handled as a class. The landowners’ lawyer said he can resolve that.