A jury in Roane County tonight awarded nearly 405 (m) million dollars in a class-action lawsuit that accused a natural gas producer of cheating on royalty payments.
The case centered on thousands of plaintiffs who had leased
their property to Columbia Natural Resources, which then set up gas
wells, some dating back decades. The lawsuit accused the company of
concealing post-production expenses that were deducted from the
The case was heard by Roane County Circuit Judge Tom Evans. Mike Carey, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, says the ruling makes
it clear that companies have to treat royalty owners fairly.
The lawsuit was filed in 2003. Columbia Natural Resources was
bought by Chesapeake Energy of Oklahoma City in 2005.