No. CJ-2004-45

By on May 12, 2017

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF WASHITA COUNTY
STATE OF OKLAHOMA
Judge Christopher S. Kelly
Case No. CJ-2004-45
BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., formerly
known as NATIONS BANK, N.A., as
TRUSTEE OF THE VIRGINIA C.
EARMAN TRUST, et al.,
Plaintiffs,
v.
EL PASO NATURAL GAS COMPANY, A
Delaware Corporation; and BURLINGTON
RESOURCES OIL & GAS COMPANY, LP,
formerly Burlington Resources Oil & Gas
Company, a Delaware Corporation,
formerly Meridian Oil, Inc.; formerly
El Paso Exploration Company,
a Delaware Corporation,
Defendants.
TO: All individuals and entities owning any royalty and/or overriding interests that burden the Defendants’ working interests in the oil and gas leases owned by Defendants, which leases, at any point during the periods described below for Subclasses 1, 2, and 3, produced or now produce natural gas located within the States of Oklahoma, Texas or New Mexico (less and except certain coalbed methane gas produced from the Fruitland formation in the State of New Mexico), and less and except other excluded persons and claims set forth below (the “Class” which is comprised of “Class Members”).
If you are a Prior Owner of a Subject Royalty Interest now held by Current Owner during the Class Period, you will be afforded a reasonable opportunity to make a claim for distribution of settlement funds attributable to the time you were an owner, even if the Current Owner has opted out of the Class, provided that you did not relinquish your right to recover royalty underpayments during the time of your ownership when you passed title to your royalty interest to the successor.
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that hearing a hearing is to be held on July 18, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. before the Honorable Christopher Kelly at the Washita County Courthouse, which is located at 111 East Main Street, Cordell, Oklahoma 73632. The purpose of the hearing is to consider a proposed class action settlement of the claims in the above captioned lawsuit asserted against El Paso Natural Gas Company and Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Company, LP, a wholly owned subsidiary of ConocoPhillips Company, and as successor in interest to Burlington Resources Oil and Gas Company (collectively referred to herein as “Defendants”).
A detailed settlement notice has been mailed to all known potential Class Members describing the settlement and the rights of the Class Members. Because the proposed settlement and the scheduled court hearing may affect your rights to share in the possible settlement recovery proposed in this lawsuit, you should immediately obtain a copy of the Class Settlement Notice if you have not received one in the mail. You may obtain a copy by writing to Counsel for the Class at their addresses specified below.
(1) The Certified Class. On August 7, 2009, the District Court of Washita County, Oklahoma entered its Order certifying the Oklahoma and Texas Subclasses. That Order was affirmed by the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals by Order dated May 27, 2011 in Appeal No. 107,510. Thereafter, the Oklahoma Supreme Court by Order dated October 10, 2011, denied certiorari and the Mandate issued on February 27, 2012. In conjunction with this Order, the Oklahoma and Texas Subclasses are defined, as follows:
Subclass 1: The persons or entities who own or have owned non-cost bearing interests, which are subject to oil and gas leases owned prior to August 7, 2009 from in whole or in part by BROG and/or El Paso, which leases are or were productive of natural gas, and other hydrocarbons during the period March 1, 1984 through May 31, 2015 and located in the State of Oklahoma. This subclass further includes owners who received a share of their royalty and/or overriding royalty revenue from BROG and/or EPNG, even though they were not directly leased to BROG and/or El Paso, vis-à-vis Oklahoma Senate Bill 168, codified as 52 Okla. St. § 570.4. This subclass excludes overriding royalty owners with the right to take in kind.
Subclass 2: The persons or entities who own or have owned non-cost bearing interests, which are subject to oil and gas leases owned prior to August 7, 2009 in whole or in part by BROG and/or El Paso, which leases are or were productive of oil, gas and other hydrocarbons during the period March 1, 1984 through May 31, 2015 and located in the State of Texas
a) For each of the above two subclasses, “natural gas or other hydrocarbons” shall include natural gas, casinghead gas, natural gas liquids, condensate from natural gas, and all hydrocarbons entrained in natural gas and all other hydrocarbons not produced and separated at the well in liquid form by ordinary production methods.
b) For each of the above two subclasses, “non-cost bearing interests” shall include owners of royalty, overriding royalty and other forms of non-participating mineral rights.
c) For each of the above two subclasses, the Class includes persons who owned non-cost bearing interests in the above described wells from March 1, 1984 to May 31, 2015.
d) For each of the above two subclasses, the claim period encompasses claims accruing from January 1, 1980 through the Final Approval.
EXCLUSIONS: The following persons or entities are excluded from the subclasses:
(i) Defendants and any of their wholly owned affiliates, parents or commonly owned subsidiaries through a common parent;
(ii) All state or federal owned interests;
(iii) Indian Tribe interests, whether or not allotted;
(iv) All publicly traded companies who receive over seventy-five (75) percent of their oil and gas revenue from working interest sources;
(v) All claims under wells qualified under Sec. 107 of the NGPA, inclusive of those claims settled by persons or entities in the case of Bank of America, et al. v. El Paso Natural Gas Company, et al., consolidated Case No. CJ-97-68, District Court for Washita County, State of Oklahoma; and
(vi) The wells and claims covered by the allegations pled in Dodson v. El Paso Natural Gas Company, et al., Case No. CJ-2004-119, Beckham County, Oklahoma.
On February 13, 2014, the District Court of Washita County, Oklahoma entered a subsequent Order certifying the New Mexico Subclass. That Order was affirmed by the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals by Order dated January 30, 2015 in Appeal No. 112,648. Thereafter, the Oklahoma Supreme Court by Order dated November 9, 2015, denied Certiorari and the Mandate issued on January 27, 2016. The 3rd subclass is defined as follows:
Subclass 3: The persons or entities who own or have owned non-cost bearing interests, which are subject to oil and gas leases, owned prior to February 13, 2014 in whole or in part by BROG and/or EPNG, which leases are or were productive of oil, gas and other hydrocarbons during the period March 1, 1984 through December 31, 2015 and located in the State of New Mexico.
For further definition, and as is consistent with the Oklahoma and Texas subclasses previously certified:
a) “oil, gas and other hydrocarbons” shall include, but not be limited to natural gas, oil, condensate, casinghead gas, natural gas liquids, all hydrocarbons entrained with natural gas, or casinghead gas regardless of where such hydrocarbons are captured or obtained, inclusive of coal bed methane, shale gas, shale oil or any other substance or material which consists of or is commonly accepted as a hydrocarbon;
b) “non-cost bearing interests” shall include owners of royalty, overriding royalty and other forms of non-participating mineral rights;
c) for this subclass 3, the Class includes persons who owned non-cost bearing interests in the above described wells during the period March 1, 1984 through May 31, 2015; and
d) the claim period encompasses claims accruing from January 1, 1980 through the Final Approval.
EXCLUSIONS: The following persons or entities are excluded from the proposed subclass:
(i) Defendants and any of their wholly owned affiliates, parents or commonly owned subsidiaries through a common parent;
(ii) all state or federal owned interests;
(iii) Indian Tribe federal trust interests, whether or not allotted;
(iv) all publicly traded companies who receive over seventy-five (75) percent of their oil and gas revenues from working interest sources; and
(v) The claims, pertaining to coal bed methane (CBM), covered by the settlement approved on October 21, 2014 in Ideal v. Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Company, L.P., Santa Fe County, New Mexico, Case No. D-0101-CV-2003-02309.
You may be a member of the Class even though your royalty or overriding royalty interest burdening Defendants’ working interest is or has been paid to you by an operator other than Defendants. Please contact Class Counsel, the Settlement and Claims Administrator, or the operator from which you receive or received payments to determine if you own or owned royalty or overriding interest that burden Defendants’ working interests during the Class Period and hence are a member of the Class. If you are a member of the Class, you have the right to object to the settlement, you have a right to request to be excluded from the Class, and you may be entitled to a payment under the Plan of Allocation if you do not request or have not requested to be excluded from the class.
(2) Preliminary Approval of the Settlement. The Court preliminarily approved the settlement. As a part of the preliminary approval, the Court approved a Plan of Allocation. A copy of the Plan of Allocation can be obtained by writing to Counsel for the proposed Class at their addresses specified below. Under the terms of the Plan of Allocation, the settlement funds shall be distributed to “Eligible Class Members” who are defined as the current owner of the Class Members’ royalties and overriding royalties during the Class Period who did not opt out of the Class and whose portion of the Net Settlement Amount as calculated pursuant to the Plan of Allocation is equal to ten dollars or more. A description of the allocation and your rights to make a claim are more specifically described in the Plan of Allocation. The Plan of Allocation, the Settlement Agreement, and other documents may be reviewed at shallowwellsettlement.com.
(3) Choices and Deadlines for Class Members. If you are a member of the Class, you have the following choices:
You may remain in the Class by doing nothing and participate in the benefits of the proposed settlement if you are an Eligible Class member. If this is what you choose to do, your interests will be represented without any advance cost to you by the following attorneys, whom the Court has appointed as Counsel for the Class: (1) Bradley D. Brickell, Brickell & Associates, 1014 24th Ave NW, Suite 100, Norman, OK 73069; and (2) Stephen R. McNamara and Brian T. Inbody, McNamara, Inbody & Parrish, PLLC, 1437 S. Boulder Ave., Suite 1210, Tulsa, OK 74119.
If you remain in the Class, you may file with the Court a written objection to any aspect of the proposed settlement. To do so, you must comply with the requirements described in the Settlement Notice, which include filing your objection with the Clerk of the Court and serving it on counsel for the parties no later than June 14, 2017.
If you want to be excluded from the Class, you must inform Class Counsel of that fact by written letter or postcard postmarked no later than June 14, 2017 to Brickell & Associates, Attn: Burlington Settlement, 1014 24th Ave NW, Suite 100, Norman, Oklahoma 73069. You must specify the name and address of the Class Member that elects to be excluded from the Class. Only Class Members may opt out. Persons claiming to opt out for or on behalf of other Class Members must show an executed Power of Attorney or other valid documentation showing their authority to act on behalf of the other Class Member.
If you are a Prior Owner, you have one of two options:
First, if the Current Owner has opted out of the Class, then you may make a claim for distribution of the settlement funds attributable to the time you were an owner. The list of opt-outs is maintained by the Settlement and Claims Administrator, Barbara Ley, P.C., Attn: Burlington Settlement, 6305 Waterford Blvd., Suite 450, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73118. To make a claim you must, by June 28, 2017, submit in writing to the Settlement and Claims Administrator your intention to make a claim on the settlement payments attributable to the time you were an owner that would have gone to the Current Owner had the Current Owner not opted-out of the Class along with information sufficient to identify the Subject Royalty Interest and the legal basis for their claim by no later than June 28, 2017. You must provide evidence of your prior ownership (including your prior ownership ID number, a legal description of the property or wells in which you held a royalty or overriding royalty interest and evidence of the period of your prior ownership), information identifying the Current Owner who opted-out of the Class and proof that you did not relinquish your right to recover royalty underpayments during your time of ownership when you passed title to your royalty interest to your successor.
Second, if the Current Owner has not opted out of the Class, you may file an objection to allocation of the settlement amount due on the Subject Royalty Interest solely to the Current Owner. To dispute allocation of the settlement payment from a particular Subject Royalty Interest solely to the Current Owner you must by June 28, 2017, submit in writing to the Settlement and Claims Administrator your intention to object along with information sufficient to identify the Subject Royalty Interest and the legal basis for the objection, including proof that they did not relinquish their right to recover royalty underpayments during their time of ownership when they passed title to their royalty interest to their successor. The Settlement and Claims Administrator will then provide additional instructions regarding resolution of any dispute with the Current Owner over entitle to settlement funds.
(4) Further Information. More detail on the above procedures is contained in the long-form Notice of Settlement Agreement. If you have any questions, if you wish to obtain a copy of the settlement notice, or if you need further information about the terms of the settlement, please write to counsel for the Class at their addresses described above. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT, DEFENDANTS, OR DEFENDANTS’ COUNSEL FOR INFORMATION. DEFENDANTS’ COUNSEL, EMPLOYEES AND REPRESENTATIVES ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO PROVIDE ANY INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT.
DATED: March 23, 2017
BY ORDER OF THE COURT THE HONORABLE CHRISTOPHER KELLY ASSOCIATE DISTRICT COURT JUDGE WASHITA COUNTY, OKLAHOMA
HCS Pub. May 12, 19, 2017

2 Comments

  1. Edith J. Carney

    January 3, 2018 at 11:44 pm

    I have heard nothing since receiving the original notice of this case. I would like to know if the case (Case No. CJ-2004-45) has been settled and if funds have been allocated.

    Thanks,
    Edith J. Carney
    3412 Congress Street
    Montrose, CO 81401

  2. Karen Suzette Pennington Munson

    March 2, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Interested in the results of this case. Have not received any information since the original notice of this case.

    Case No. CJ-2004-45

    Any information would help.

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