LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A federal judge has approved a $28.8
million settlement between more than 8,000 landowners in eastern
Kentucky and a group of natural gas drilling companies.
The settlement released Thursday ends more than two years of
litigation over royalties from drilling in Martin and Pike
counties. The landowners sued Chesapeake Appalachia LLC, NiSource
Inc., and Columbia Energy Group over allegations of shortchanging
royalty payments and providing inaccurate statements about royalty
payments to the landowners.
The settlement covers royalty claims from Feb. 5, 1992 through
April 23, 2009. U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell says the
settlement is fair to all parties because, given the unusual nature
of the case, there was no guaranteed outcome for either side at
Messages left Thursday morning for NiSource, which has merged
with Columbia, and Chesapeake were not immediately returned.
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