Ten Back-To-Back Royalty Trials Set Against
FORT WORTH – Chesapeake Energy is facing 10 back-to-back civil trials next year in Tarrant and Johnson Counties, stemming from lawsuits filed by the McDonald Law Firm on behalf of North Texas royalty owners.
This week, State District Judge Dana Womack set nine more cases against the energy giant for trial, bringing the total number to 10. The judge scheduled one trial each month beginning in February 2016 and running through November 2016. Two trials are set in Tarrant County; the other eight are set in Johnson County.
The first 10 trial dates are the beginning of what is expected to be a hard-fought legal battle between Chesapeake and thousands of gas royalty owners who claim Chesapeake deliberately cheated them out of royalties.
The Fort Worth-based McDonald Law Firm represents more than 22,000 gas royalty owners across the country, including over 16,000 in Texas. To date, the firm has filed nearly 300 lawsuits against Chesapeake ― 250 on behalf of Barnett Shale clients in Tarrant and Johnson counties. The lawsuits allege breach of contract, among other things, and also name co-defendants, including Total E&P USA, based in Houston.
The McDonald Law Firm contends that Chesapeake Energy has underpaid gas royalty owners by several hundred million dollars.
In an effort to streamline the mass litigation against Chesapeake, a state judicial panel appointed Judge Womack, of Tarrant County, to oversee pretrial decisions and set trial dates for Barnett Shale cases filed by the McDonald Law Firm. Once the legal issues are decided, Womack sends the cases to other courts for trials or final dispositions.
The first 10 trials will be presided over by eight district court judges, including The Honorable Dana Womack, Melody Wilkinson, Wade Birdwell, Donald Cosby, John Chupp, Mark Pittman, Susan McCoy and Thomas Lowe.
The McDonald Law Firm represents small and large property owners and continues to file lawsuits on their behalf weekly against Chesapeake Energy.