The Complaint alleges that Chesapeake and Access Midstream (now Williams Partners) engaged in unfair and deceptive acts and practices intended to enable them to deduct artificially inflated gathering costs from royalties, and to enable Chesapeake to receive undisclosed transition payments from Access Midstream.
We are pleased to see that the Commonwealth is stepping up and seeking to use its powers in an effort to protect the interests of royalty owners. The action validates the claims that we have been pursuing, and will continue to pursue, on behalf of royalty owners. We view the claims being asserted by the Attorney General's Office under the UTPCPL as complementary and beneficial to the federal antitrust and RICO claims that we are asserting in our group actions in federal court, and to the breach of contract claims we are seeking to assert in group arbitration claims against not only Chesapeake, but also the multiple other gas companies that hold working interests in most of the same leases, and in the gathering pipelines that service the wells, as well as Williams Partners, f/k/a Access Midstream.
In other words, we will be continuing to pursue the separate claims we are asserting against not only Chesapeake but also the other gas companies that have been improperly deducting artificially inflated costs from royalties owed to landowners and other royalty interest owners. The Attorney General's lawsuit should help us in our efforts.
The Office of the Attorney General also filed an amicus brief in the Demchak Partners case, objecting to and seeking modification of the scope of the proposed release, to prevent Chesapeake from arguing that it releases the parens patriae claims that it is asserting in its Civil Complaint in Bradford County. A copy of the Amicus Brief is available here.