Chesapeake And Statoilhydro Settle Force Majeure Appeals with 200 LGT Clients
As of 9/9/2013 Levene Gouldin & Thompson is pleased to report that its force majeure litigation against Chesapeake Energy and Statoilhydro on behalf of over 200 landowners has been resolved with an agreement to release all leases. In November of last year, United States District Court Judge David Hurd granted the landowners' motion for summary judgment ruling that a force majeure event had not occurred in New York and that the oil and gas leases were terminated. Aukema v. Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC, 904 F. Supp. 2d 199 (N.D. N.Y. 2012). Previously, leases with arbitration clauses were removed from the litigation to pave the way for the favorable ruling. Chesapeake and Statoil appealed the decision. The landowner plaintiffs appealed the portion of the decision that denied their unfair business practice claims. Chesapeake, Statoil and the plaintiffs have agreed to terminate their appeals in exchange for a complete release of the leases. In addition, the leases previously removed from the litigation will also be released. The settlement releases over 13,000 acres.
Cindy Manchester, attorney for the landowners said: "This is a great victory for our landowners. Our clients achieved the right outcome by working together in an impressive collaborative effort. This settlement also preserves the precedential value of Judge Hurd's decision, ruling there is no force majeure in New York solely because of the inability to drill using one type of drilling technique."