Lynne Liberato in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Chesapeake to Seek Consolidation of Cases


Facing claims and lawsuits from thousands of plaintiffs accusing the company of cheating them out of millions of dollars, Chesapeake Energy wants one judge to oversee the rapidly growing tangle of litigation alleging underpayment of royalties from its wells in the Barnett Shale.

Attorneys representing the Oklahoma City energy giant last week asked a state judicial panel to consolidate the 100 or so cases already filed in Tarrant, Johnson and Dallas counties and send them to one court for crucial pretrial decisions on issues like evidence and testimony.

Chesapeake’s filing for what technically is known as multidistrict litigation status, or MDL, states that the number of cases from Fort Worth attorney Dan McDonald alone could hit 400 — lawsuits naming about 40,000 individual plaintiffs — by the end of the year ...

Lynne Liberato, a Houston attorney [with Haynes and Boone, LLP] and former president of the State Bar of Texas, said companies facing multiple legal challenges on various fronts will seek MDL to cut down on costs and get consistent rulings from the courts.

“It’s like a battle or a war and fighting it on all these fronts,” said Liberato, who wrote a Texas Bar Journal article on multidistrict litigation. “It concentrates the battle all in one place. You can put all your resources in one place.”

Excerpted from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. To read the full article, click here.

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