Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Judge denies Energy Corporation of America's appeal

Last Thursday, a federal judge from Pennsylvania denied Energy Corporation of America's (ECA) motion to overturn his judgment-a judgment that awarded nearly $912,000 to Greene County, PA landowners. The judgment was awarded to the landowners-some of whom represented by Bill Caroselli of Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman-in a gas royalties class action due to unpaid royalties. The judge contended that the plaintiffs provided enough evidence and sufficient testimony to win the case.

In March of 2015, a jury found ECA had underpaid natural gas royalties by inappropriately deducting Pennsylvania pipeline charges and marketing fees. The jury's decision marked a victory to Greene County landowners who entered into natural gas and oil leases with the Energy Corporation of America.

After the ruling, ECA argued a month later that the landowners needed evidence other than ECA's deduction from the royalties to win the case. ECA sought a new judgment or a new trial; however, Judge Robert C. Mitchell held fast with the jury's decision in his memorandum opinion, saying: "The court finds that there was sufficient evidence of record for a jury to determine that ECA breached the leases by improperly deducting these post-production charges."

In 2010, ten Greene County landowners sued ECA. They claimed that they had signed natural gas and oil royalty leases with Eastern American Energy Corporation (which eventually merged with ECA) between 2002 and 2009, giving the conglomerate the rights to perform natural gas and oil extraction from their properties. The landowners contended that they were underpaid natural gas royalties.

The verdict led to a $911,922 judgment for the plaintiffs. Accordingly, ECA sought appeal through judgment or a new trial, arguing that the judgment should be overturned on the grounds that there was not enough evidence for the original jury to determine the landowners did not receive at least a one-eighth royalty of ECA's net proceeds for its sale of natural gas, as the contents of ECA's leases stated. When it was found that the ECA illegally deducted post-production charges after it sold the natural gas obtained from the landowners, Judge Mitchell rejected the argument.

Judge Mitchell also upheld his previous decision that a plaintiffs' expert was qualified to present expert testimony regarding the natural gas and oil industry after ECA argued she was not an expert.

In addition to being represented by William R. Caroselli of Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, some plaintiffs were are also represented by Robert C. Sanders of the Law Office of Robert C. Sanders.

If you have questions about natural gas and oil leases, or believe that you were underpaid or cheated by a shale fracking company with whom you signed a lease, please call the Pittsburgh class action litigation attorneys at Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman today for a free consultation at 866-466-5789.

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
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Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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