Chesapeake Seeks Change of Venue in Royalty Cases

by Elizabeth Alford on February 16, 2016

Chesapeake Energy is looking for a fair trial and has asked a judge to move several highly publicized royalty trials to Houston.

Related: Fort Worth School District to Receive Royalties

Chesapeake has been embroiled in a number of recent lawsuits where they are accused of cheating property owners out of royalty payments for their minerals. Hundreds of these cases are set to go to trial this spring in North Texas, but attorneys for the company feel they can’t get a fair shake in Fort Worth courts.

One Fort Worth law firm who represents 22,443 plaintiffs has initiated a huge campaign to sway public opinion using billboards, websites, social media and mass mailings, making it harder for Chesapeake to find impartial jurors, according to the Ft Worth Star Telegram.

In January, the Fort Worth School District reached an out-of-court settlement with the oil and gas giant for an undisclosed amount. And in February, the Texas Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling to award at least $1 million in royalties to the Hyder family, Texas landowners who has been battling Chesapeake Energy for years.

There is a great deal of speculation about the viability of Chesapeake and whether they can survive the downturn. The company’s market valuation plummeted ~50% last week with news that they have hired restructuring advisers. Chesapeake Energy’s year-to-date losses amount to ~65%.

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