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Federal Courts

2012

  • Berish v. Southwestern Energy Production Co., 2012 WL 1569592 (M.D. Pa. May 3, 2012) (granting Plaintiffs’ motion for leave to file a Third Amended Complaint because the court was not convinced that the Plaintiffs' claims were clearly barred by Pennsylvania's two-year statute of limitations).
    • Prior History: Berish v. Southwestern Energy Production Company, 763 F. Supp.2d 702 (M.D. Pa. Feb. 3, 2011) (allowing strict liability claim to survive Defendant gas company’s motion for summary judgment where Plaintiffs’ water supply was contaminated as a result of insufficient casing). 
  • Bidlack v. Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66264 (M.D. Pa. May 11, 2012) (denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Relief from Pending Arbitration because Plaintiffs did not establish that the evidence was a “surprise” or “newly discovered evidence”).
  • Boyer v. First American Title Insurance Co., 2012 WL 1965603 (M.D. Pa. May 31, 2012) (granting in part and denying in part Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, finding that the only dispute was the amount of damages due).
  • Burke v. GAPCO Energy, LLC, 2012 WL 1038849 (W.D. Pa. Mar. 28, 2012) (denying motion for summary judgment filed by Defendant because doubt remains as to whether Plaintiffs' version of facts would constitute “operations,” even under the broad terms of the lease).
    • Subsequent History: Burke v. GAPCO Energy, LLC, 2012 WL 4481922 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 27, 2012) (granting defendants’ motions in limine to preclude plaintiff’s arguments about contract interpretation and parol evidence because the meaning of the oil and gas lease at issue has been interpreted as a matter of law in the 
      prior order).
  • Burkett v. Exco Resources, LLC, 2012 WL 1019025 (W.D. Pa. Mar. 26, 2012) (denying motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims alleging that EXCO breached the implied duty to develop the premises by failing to drill producing wells beyond the 3,500–foot substrata).
  • Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future v. Ultra Resources, Inc., 2012 WL 4434465 (M. D. Pa. Sept. 24, 2012) (denying defendant’s motion to dismiss PennFuture’s citizen suit under the Clean Air Act brought in federal court without pursuing state or administrative remedies).
  • Clark v. Dale Property Services, 2012 WL 851608 (W.D. Pa. Mar. 13, 2012) (denying Plaintiffs’ Motion for Remand finding that “landmen” are independent contractors, not employees).
  • Coal. for Responsible Growth & Res. Conservation v. U.S. F.E.R.C., 2012 WL 2097249 (2d Cir. June 12, 2012) (denying numerous environmental groups’ petitions for judicial review of the FERC’s authorization of the MARC I natural gas pipeline).
  • Dillon v. Antero Res., 2012 WL 2899710 (W.D. Pa. July 10, 2012) (granting Defendant’s “Motion for a Confidentiality Order” because, in this case, it was the most efficient way to resolve discovery disputes).
  • EXCO Res. (PA), LLC v. New Forestry, LLC, 2012 WL 3043008 (M.D. Pa. July 25, 2012) (granting New Forestry's motion for summary judgment and denying EXCO's motion for summary judgment because EXCO does not have a right to use the disposal well).
  • Fay v. Dominion Transmission, Inc., 2012 WL 3027835 (M.D. Pa. July 24, 2012) (granting defendant Dominion Transmission’s motion for summary judgment because there was no evidence that they stored natural gas under plaintiff's property).
  • Fiorentino v. Cabot Oil and Gas Corp., 2012 WL 959392 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 19, 2012) (ordering that Mrs. Maye's Motion for Protective Order is granted, Plaintiffs must reissue and properly serve subpoena).
    • Prior History: Fiorentino v. Cabot Oil and Gas Corp., 2011 WL 4944274 (M.D. Pa. October 17, 2011) (denying Defendants protective order).
    • Prior History: Fiorentino v. Cabot Oil and Gas Corp., 2011 WL 5239068 (M.D. Pa. Nov. 1, 2011) (denying Plaintiffs’ Motion for a Protective Order and requiring Plaintiffs, to provide Defendants with their medical documents and information).
    • Prior History: Fiorentino v. Cabot Oil and Gas Corp., 750 F. Supp.2d 506 (M.D. Pa. Nov. 15, 2010) (finding that Plaintiff’s allegation that the gas company had improperly conducted hydrofracturing causing subsequent injury stated a claim upon which relief could be granted over Defendant’s motion to dismiss). 
  • Gas Drilling Awareness Coal. v. Powers, 2012 WL 1268366 (M.D. Pa. Apr. 16, 2012) (granting Plaintiff’s motion to file an amended complaint in a First Amendment surveillance case).
  • Good Will Hunting v. Range Resources, 2012 WL 722614 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 1, 2012) (denying summary judgment to Plaintiff finding that there was sufficient ambiguity in the lease agreement and dismissing Range Resources, Inc. and Great Lakes Energy Partners, LLC as defendants).
  • Harrison v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., 2012 WL 3542382 (M.D. Pa. Aug. 14, 2012) (granting Defendant's motion with respect to Plaintiff's claim of fraud, denying Defendant's counterclaim for extension of the gas lease, and grant summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff on Defendant's counterclaim).
  • Kamuck v. Shell Energy Holdings GP, LLC, 2012 WL 1466490 (M.D. Pa. Apr. 27, 2012) (adopting the Report and Recommendation of Judge Carlson but rejecting Judge Carlson’s dismissal of defendant Shell Energy Holding LP, LLC).
  • Lincoln v. Magnum Land Services, LLC, 2012 WL 1144658 (M.D. Pa. Apr. 5, 2012) (holding that notice of removal failed federal subject matter jurisdiction because it did not prove Plaintiffs' domicile, the citizenship of the LLCs', or the principal places of business of the corporations).
  • Mason v. Range Resources — Appalachia, LLC, 2012 WL 2116969 (W.D. Pa. May 9, 2012) (recommending that the motion to dismiss Count I of the complaint be denied but the motion to strike Plaintiffs’ claims for attorney’s fees be granted).
  • Midwest Underground, Inc. v. Laurel Mountain Midstream Operating, LLC, 2012 WL 3260365 (W.D. Pa. Aug. 8, 2012) (granting defendant’s motion to dismiss in a gas pipeline case).
  • Minard Run Oil Co. v. U.S. Forest Serv., 2012 WL 3877625 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 6, 2012) (granting Minard Run Oil Company’s and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association’s Motion for Summary Judgment to vacate the April 8, 2009 Settlement Agreement, but denying the Motion for Permanent Injunction).
  • In re Orton, 2012 WL 2948546 (3d Cir. July 20, 2012) (affirming that an estate’s trustee is entitled to the appreciation of the Estate’s assets because the debtor failed to explicitly indicate that he wanted to retain the full market value).
  • Otis v. Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC, 2012 WL 1657930 (M.D. Pa. May 11, 2012) (denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Relief from Pending Arbitration because Plaintiffs did not establish that the evidence was a “surprise” or “newly discovered evidence”).
  • In re Powell, 2012 WL 4107296 (Bkrtcy. M.D. Pa. Sept. 18, 2012) (declining the debtor’s request for rejection of an oil and gas lease under section 365(d)(4) of the Bankruptcy Code).
  • Rice v. Chesapeake Energy Corp., 2012 WL 3144318 (W.D. Pa. Aug. 1, 2012) (granting motion to remand the case to the Court of Common Pleas because diversity did not exist between all of the parties).
  • Robbins v. UGI Utilities/Central Penn Gas, 2012 WL 4434147 (M. D. Pa. Sept. 24, 2012) (granting defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s takings claim for lack of ripeness and declining supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims).
  • Roman v. Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC, 2012 WL 2076846 (M.D. Pa. Jun 8, 2012) (upholding the arbitration clause in the oil and gas lease).
  • Shamblin v. Chesapeake Energy Corp., 2012 WL 1902580 (M.D. Pa. May 25, 2012) (granting Defendants’ motion to dismiss because Oklahoma law applies to Yost & Son, an Oklahoma corporation making them incapable of being sued).
    • Prior History: Shamblin v. Chesapeake Energy Corp., 2012 WL 1432284 (M.D. Pa. Apr. 25, 2012) (holding that Defendants have not shown complete diversity and remanding the case back to the Court of Common Pleas unless Defendants can demonstrate diversity jurisdiction exists within 21 days).
  • State of New York v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2012 WL 4336701 (E.D. N.Y. Sept. 24, 2012) (granting Defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on all three complaints for failure to perform a NEPA analysis together with DRBC’s draft regulations governing natural gas extraction).
  • Stockport Mountain Corp. v. Norcross Wildlife Foundation, 2012 WL 719345 (M. D. Pa. Mar. 1, 2012) (dismissing the Defendant’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and dismissing the Plaintiff’s cross motion for summary judgment allowing the issue of drilling for natural gas on a conservation easement to go to court).
  • Whiteford v. Pennsylvania, 2012 WL 4076190 (W.D. Pa. Aug. 13, 2012) (Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation to grant motions to dismiss filed by multiple defendants in response to plaintiff’s claims to void his civil and criminal convictions on the grounds that the PA Oil and Gas Act preempts the Penn Hills Existing Structures Code and that the Code’s penalty is an illegal ex post facto law).
     

2011

  • Beinlich v. Chief, 2011 WL 2457819 (M.D. Pa. June 20, 2011) (granting Defendants motions to dismiss Plaintiffs' request for attorney’s fees because neither the lease nor any statute allows the awarding of attorney's fees).
  • Burnett v. Chesapeake Appalachia, 2011 WL 3876412 (M.D. Pa. Aug. 31, 2011) (granting Plaintiff’s motion to remand a case about contaminated ground water to state court because the parties were not diverse).
  • Chief Gathering LLC v. Watkins, 2011 WL 4597514 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 3, 2011) (finding that there is no subject matter jurisdiction and giving the Plaintiff 21 days to file an amended complaint).
  • Devonian Program v. C.I.R., 453 Fed. Appx. 183 (C. A. 3. Aug. 5, 2011)(holding that when considering whether a partnership exists for income tax purposes, the court will consider the parties’ agreement, conduct, statements made, relationship, capital contributions, and other facts demonstrating the parties’ true intent.)
  • Dufour v. Carrizo Oil and Gas, Inc., 2011 WL 1136801 (W.D. Pa. March 25, 2011) (allowing a breach of contract claim against gas company who did not pay the bonus payment to survive a motion for summary judgment where gas company did not have cloud on title judicially determined in accordance with the “Special Warranty Title” provision of the lease).
  • Fay v. Dominion Transmission, Inc., 2011 WL 2632910 (M.D. Pa. July 5, 2011) (Granting Defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction in a dispute about buffer zones surrounding storage facilities which prevented Plaintiff to enter into a natural gas lease).
  • Frederick v. Range Resources — Appalachia, LLC, 2011 WL 1045665 (W.D. Pa. March 17, 2011) (approving class action settlement and attorney fees in claim against gas company that began as alleging violation of GMRA, but then was amended to challenge the propriety of the amounts deducted by the gas company). 
  • Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition v. Powers, 2011 WL 6151434 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 12, 2011) (granting motion to dismiss an injunction filed by defendant, and granting in part and dismissing in part a motion to dismiss filed by defendants).
  • In re Graff, 2011 WL 3702382 (Bkrtcy. W.D. Pa. Aug. 23, 2011) (The court concluded that for purposes of a bankruptcy exemption, a debtor’s residence can include the land that surrounds a mobile home and the oil and gas rights that accompany it.) 
  • Hoffman v. Arcelormittal Pristine Resources, Inc., 2011 WL 1791709 (W.D. Pa. May 10, 2011) (granting defendants' motion for summary judgment, and denying plaintiffs motion for summary judgment in a dispute over ownership of gas rights).
  • Lauchle v. The Keeton Group LLC, 768 F. Supp. 2d 757 (M.D. Pa. March 8, 2011) (declining to equitably extend least to account for period of inactivity due to litigation determining validity of the lease under the GMRA).
  • Minard Run Oil Co. v. US Forest Services, 670 F.3d 236 (C. A. 3. Sept. 20, 2011) (holding that the owners established likelihood of success on merits of claim that they were not required to obtain approval of Service before drilling in ANF).
  • PAPCO Inc. v. U.S. Forest Services, 814 F. Supp.2d 477 (W.D. Pa. Aug. 30, 2011) (granting Summary Judgment to Plaintiff, finding that PAPCO is permitted the reasonable use of an easement to obtain its oil, gas, and mineral rights).
  • Pinebrook Minerals v. Anadarko E & P Co., 2011 WL 3584783 (M.D. Pa. July 25, 2011) (granting Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss because Plaintiff failed to state a claim under Pennsylvania law for voiding the 2006 mineral lease).
  • Pollock v. Energy Corporation of America, 2011 WL 5977422 (W.D. Pa. Nov. 29, 2011) (denying Plaintiff’s Motion for a Court–Ordered Accounting for alleged underpayment of oil and gas royalties owed under the leases).
  • R.L. Wharton v. Dunn, 2011 WL 147928 (W.D. Pa. Jan. 18, 2011) (denying Defendant’s motion to dismiss for breach of contract on services performed on a wellhead).
  • Shafer v. Range Resources-Appalachia, LLC, 2011 WL 677479 (W.D. Pa. Feb. 16, 2011) (denying gas company’s motion for summary judgment where they declined to pay bonus payment and alleged a valid exercise of the “management approval” clause of the lease as such a dispute cannot be decided as a matter of law solely by examination of the contract documents). 
  • Ulmer v. Chesapeake Appalachia, 2011 WL 1344596 (M.D. Pa. April 8, 2011) (dismissing Plaintiff’s declaratory judgment action, which arguing that the lease violated Pennsylvania's Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act).


2010

  • Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. v. Jordan, F. Supp.2d 474 (M.D. Pa. Feb. 12, 2010) (declining jurisdiction because of unsettled status of parole evidence rule in Pennsylvania).
  • Carey v. New Penn Exploration, LLC, 2010 WL 1754440 (M.D. Pa. Apr. 28, 2010) (motion to dismiss rejected because parole evidence rule does not prevent fraud claim when pleadings fail to show fully integrated lease agreement).
  • Cizek v. Davis, 2010 WL 5441969 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 28, 2010) (denying Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration of the court’s dismissal of his case where he alleged that the seizure and sale of the properties and their accompanying mineral rights was a violation of his civil rights).
    • Prior History: Cizek v. Davis, 2010 WL 5437286 (M.D. Pa. Nov. 29, 2010) (recommending that Defendant’s motion to dismiss be granted).
  • Duhring v. United States Forest Service, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7873 (W.D. Pa. Feb. 01, 2010) (granting Plaintiff’s motion to stay the lawsuit pending the outcome of Minard Run Oil Co. v. U.S. Forest Service because of identical dispositive legal issues presented).
    • Prior History: Duhring v. United States Forest Service, 2009 WL 2951932 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 13, 2009 (denying in part and granting in part Plaintiff’s motion to supplement the administrative record).
    • Prior History:Duhring v. United States Forest Service, 2009 WL 586429 (W.D. Pa. Mar. 6, 2009 (dismissing counts of the complaint due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim).
  • Earth Conservancy v. Blue Coal Corp., 2010 WL 2754453 (Bkrtcy. M.D. Pa. July 12, 2010) (sending a referred declaratory judgment complaint back to the District Court where the bankruptcy case had previously closed after being open for 21 years).
    • Prior History: Earth Conservancy v. Blue Coal Corp., 2010 WL 1489987 (M.D. Pa. Apr. 13, 2010) (transferring matter to bankruptcy court upon Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge).
    • Prior History: Earth Conservancy v. Blue Coal Corp., 2010 WL 1505907 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 17, 2010) (Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation that the matter be transferred to bankruptcy court). 
    • Subsequent History: Earth Conservancy v. Blue Coal Corp., 2011 WL 662685 (M.D. Pa. Feb. 14, 2011) (denying Blue Coal’s appeal from the July 12 decision declaring the mineral rights a part of the bankruptcy estate, and closing the case).
  • Eisenberger v. Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC, 2010 WL 457139 (M.D. Pa. Feb. 4, 2010) (holding Pennsylvania law governs a contract dispute where the land falls within the state and that a court, not a arbitration panel, must decide issues as to contract formation). 
  • Gates v. Exco Res., Inc., 2010 WL 1416740 (W.D. Pa. Apr. 8, 2010) (awarding Plaintiff landowners damages for Defendant gas company’s failure to properly restore land above gas pipeline, but denying Plaintiff’s claims for other nearby damaged lands unrelated to the pipes).
  • In re Howard, 422 B.R. 593 (Bankr. W.D. Pa. Jan. 15, 2010) (ruling that an interest in mineral rights acquired by way of quit claim deed from the debtor subsequent to the filing of the bankruptcy petition was a violation of the automatic stay, and thus property of the bankruptcy estate).
    • Prior History: In re Howard, 422 B.R. 568 (Bankr. W.D. Pa. Dec. 10, 2009) (ruling that proceeds of a natural gas lease are the property of the bankruptcy estate rather than the debtor’s ex-wife). 
    • Subsequent History: In re Howard, 2011 WL 578777 (W.D. Pa. Feb. 9, 2011) (affirming bankruptcy court’s order holding debtor liable for willful violation of the automatic stay by transferring mineral rights after filing the bankruptcy petition, and affirming trustee’s transfer of these rights).
  • Julia v. Elexco Land Servs., Inc., 2010 WL 1904245 (M.D. Pa. May 11, 2010) (granting gas company’s motion to dismiss claim of fraudulent inducement, but denying motion to dismiss claim for invalid exercise of power of attorney).
  • Kingsly Compression, Inc. v. Mountain V Oil and Gas, Inc., 2010 WL 4929076 (W.D. Pa. Nov. 30, 2010) (granting motion for summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff on the issue of damages regarding the breach of the parties’ agreement).
  • Kropa v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., 716 F. Supp.2d 375 (M.D. Pa. June 9, 2010) (denying gas lessee’s motion to dismiss fraud claim because the parol evidence rule does not apply to questions of contract formation).
  • Pigeon Creek Presbyterian Church v. Range Resources Appalachia, 2010 WL 256580 (W.D. Pa. Jan. 19, 2010) (deferring Defendant’s motion to dismiss pending the outcome of an appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in two nearly identical cases, Lyco Homes and Hollingsworth).  
  • Puza v. Elexco Land Servs., Inc., 2010 WL 1791150 (M.D. Pa. May 3, 2010) (granting Defendant’s motion to dismiss claim for violating the Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act, and granting Plaintiff three week stay to amend fraudulent inducement claim).
  • Rodriguez v. Anadarko E & P Co., 2010 WL 4962825 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 1, 2010) (dismissing argument that “net-back” method of royalty calculation violates Pennsylvania’s Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act and allowing a complaint to be amended to plead fraud in the inducement with particularity).
  • Standefer v. T.S. Dudley Land Co., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132267 (M.D. Pa. July 14, 2010) (granting Defendant’s motion for summary judgment and dismissing claims of breach of contract and fraudulent inducement).
  • Smith v. Steckman Ridge, LP, 2010 WL 3905071 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 29, 2010) (dismissing opposing motions for summary judgment where the terms “cessation of production”, “delay”, and “shut-in” were not defined in the lease). 
  • Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. v. Garrison, 2010 WL 3632152 (M.D. Pa. Sept. 10, 2010) (denying gas company’s motion for emergency preliminary injunction for immediate access to Defendant’s properties where success on the merits was unlikely). 
  • Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. v. A Permanent Easement for 0.018 Acres, 2010 WL 3282954 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 19, 2010) (finding the fee shifting provision of 42 U.S.C. 4654(a)(2) applies to a private company when operating under a certificate of public convenience and necessity).
  • United States v. Evans, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122981 (M.D. Pa. Nov. 19, 2010) (denying Defendant’s motion requesting a reduction in sentence after pleading guilty to willfully injecting fluids generated from oil and gas recovery operations into an underground well without a permit in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act).
  • Valentino v. Range Res.-Appalachia, LLC, 2010 WL 2034550 (W.D. Pa. May 21, 2010) (declining gas company’s motion to dismiss because meaning of “management approval” in lease agreement cannot be settled as a matter of law).
  • See Also: Agricultural Law Brief, June 2010


2009


Selected Cases Prior to 2009

  • Jacobs v. CNG Transmission Corp., 332 F. Supp. 2d 759 (W.D. Pa. July 6, 2004)(finding gas lessee had abandoned lease by not diligently harvesting gas below surface during secondary term of lease).
  • United States v. Minard Run Oil Co., 1980 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9570 (W.D. Pa. Dec. 16, 1980) (providing reasonable advance notice to the government is required for companies desiring to exploit their mineral rights under the Allegheny National Forest).