CINCINNATI — A federal judge in Ohio on March 30 granted summary judgment to hydraulic fracturing companies that contended that their way of calculating royalties for leaseholders using what is known as the netback method was correct based on precedent (Zehentbauer Family Land LP, et al. v. Chesapeake Exploration LLC, No. 15-2449, N.D. Ohio).
ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio — A group of hydraulic fracturing leaseholders on Feb. 28 sued a fracking company in Ohio state court, contending that it breached its agreements with them by failing to pay the proper amount of royalties on the oil and gas extracted from the land that is subject to the leases (John Price, et al. v. Gulfport Energy Corporation, No. 20CV31, Ohio Comm. Pls., Belmont Co.).
PITTSBURGH — A hydraulic fracturing company on March 26 filed a brief in Pennsylvania federal court contending that a securities class action against it alleging violations of the Securities Exchange Act (SEA) and Securities Exchange Commission regulations should be dismissed because the plaintiffs fail to adequately allege that any corporate statements were false when they were made regarding merger projections (In re EQT Corporation Securities Litigation, No. 19-754, W.D. Pa.).
HOUSTON — An executive with a hydraulic fracturing sand company on March 29 filed a first-day declaration in Texas federal bankruptcy court stating that a reduction in demand for fracked oil and gas reduced the company’s revenues from $530 million to $34 million (In re CARBO Ceramics Inc., No. 20-31973, S.D. Texas Bkcy.).
DENVER — A federal judge in Colorado on March 6 ordered the U.S. government to file a report within 60 days, including any necessary affidavits or exhibits, advising whether it is in possession of documents sought by residents, environmental organizations and nuclear workers advocacy groups pertaining to a grand jury that investigated the actions of Rockwell International Corp. at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) former weapons-grade plutonium-239 processing facility, Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, which is now being considered as a site for hydraulic fracturing operations (Alliance of Nuclear Workers Advocacy Groups, et al. v. United States, No. 19-76, D. Colo.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A group of hydraulic fracturing companies on April 3 filed a brief in Ohio federal court contending that it would be a “basic and impermissible denial” of their due process rights if the court were to grant a stay in a lawsuit between the companies and leaseholders while a related case is resolved in a state court trial (Tera II LLC v. Rice Drilling D LLC, No. 19-2221, S.D. Ohio).
WACO, Texas — A counterclaimant patent licensee on April 3 was awarded $39.9 million in connection with what a Texas federal judge deemed “appalling” conduct by the patent owner (Diamondback Industries Inc. v. Repeat Precision LLC, et al., No. 19-34, N.D. Texas).
DENVER — A shareholder on April 3 sued a company that provides oilfield services to the hydraulic fracturing industry seeking to recover damages for violations of the Securities Act of 1933 (Securities Act) after the company’s share price dropped following its initial public offering (IPO) (Marc Joseph v. Liberty Oilfield Services Inc., et al., No. 20-946, D. Colo.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The state of Alaska on March 31 filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that it should reverse a lower court’s ruling on grounds that under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), the president can choose not to offer unleased offshore areas for oil and gas exploration leases, but he cannot permanently remove them from the entire program Congress created to govern land in the outer continental shelf (OCS) (League of Conservation Voters, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., Nos. 19-35460, 19-35461 and 19-35462, 9th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 31 reached the merits of and ultimately affirmed a Texas federal judge’s construction of various disputed claims in a fracking patent, after rejecting a challenge to the court’s appellate jurisdiction (EnerPol LLC v. Schlumberger Technology Corp., Nos. 2019-1079, -1120, Fed. Cir.).
BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — A federal judge in West Virginia on March 30 dismissed a groundwater contamination lawsuit against hydraulic fracturing companies on grounds that the plaintiffs failed to plead facts sufficient to support their claims (Teldia Haywood, et al. v. Caretta Minerals LLC, et al., No. 19-264, S.D. W.Va., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55025).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on March 27 dismissed a lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) brought by environmental groups that contended that the agency violated federal law when it repealed the methane waste prevention rule passed by the Obama administration, ruling that the BLM provided a “reasoned explanation” for its decision (Sierra Club, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 18-524, California v. United States Bureau of Land Management, et al., No. 18-521, N.D. Calif.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — An energy company on March 12 filed a brief in the Delaware Supreme Court contending that a lower state court correctly held that the rights of a hydraulic fracturing field services company in an initial public offering (IPO) are subordinate to the qualified IPO rights of a private equity fund (Williams Field Services Group LLC v. Caiman Energy II, et al., No. 488, 2019, Del. Sup.).
BOISE, Idaho — Environmental advocacy groups on March 17 filed a brief in Idaho federal court seeking reconsideration and clarification of a decision by a U.S. magistrate judge who did not vacate federal hydraulic fracturing leases. The groups argue that the court should reconsider the geographic limitation on its instruction memo and should clarify that it vacated, rather than enjoined, portions of a federal instruction memorandum (IM) (Western Watersheds Project, et al. v. David Bernhardt, et al., No. 18-187, D. Idaho).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Shareholders in a pipeline company on March 9 filed a class action complaint in Delaware state court contending that the former chairman and chief executive breached their fiduciary duties when they approved a merger with TransCanada Corp., which operates a pipeline that carries hydraulically fractured oil and gas from Canada to the United States (Police & Fire Retirement System of the City of Detroit v. Robert C. Skaggs, et al., No. 2020-0179, Del. Chanc., New Castle Co.).
PITTSBURGH — The lead plaintiff in a securities class action against a hydraulic fracturing company and some of its executives for violations of the Securities Exchange Act (SEA) and Securities Exchange Commission regulations on March 6 filed a brief in Pennsylvania federal court contending that the defendant’s motion to dismiss fails “for multiple reasons,” including the fact that it ignores that the company’s alleged false statements “include scores of false claims of purported present fact” (In re EQT Corporation Securities Litigation, No. 19-754, W.D. Pa.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Trump administration on March 26 filed a reply brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reiterating its argument that the court should reverse a lower court’s decision that the president’s executive order to revoke protection for the Arctic and Atlantic oceans from oil and gas exploration exceeded his presidential authority. The administration maintains that President Donald J. Trump’s order was “a proper exercise of delegated authority” (League of Conservation Voters, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., Nos. 19-35460, 19-35461 and 19-35462, 9th Cir.).
MILWAUKEE — A company that makes well plugs for hydraulic fracturing operators on March 6 sued its supplier in Wisconsin federal court, contending that the supplier breached the contract between the parties because the fiberglass material it sent to the well-plug manufacturer was faulty (Hydraulics International Inc. v. Amalga Composites Inc., No. 20-371, E.D. Wis.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to adequately respond to concerns by experts about the dangers of an oil spill from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), it must prepare a detailed environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project, a District of Columbia federal judge held March 25 in a long-running challenge to the pipeline’s construction by four Indian tribes (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, et al., No. 16-1534, D. D.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51540).
OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma man on March 9 sued an environmental company that performs services for hydraulic fracturing companies in Oklahoma federal court, contending that it committed fraud when it induced him to withdraw from a business agreement (Shane Martin Barnett v. Troo Clean Environmental LLC, et al., No. 20-211, W.D. Okla.).