Landowners' lawsuit accuses Chesapeake Energy of breach of contract

By Jenie Mallari-Torres | Jun 6, 2018

SCRANTON — A group of land owners is suing Chesapeake Appalachian LLC and Chesapeake Energy Corp. for alleged bad faith, conversion and breach of contract in connection with a natural gas drilling agreement.

John G. Ruggles Jr. and other plaintiffs filed a complaint April 17 in the Susquehanna County Court of Common Pleas, alleging that they were irreparably harmed as a result of the capricious and bad faith conduct of the defendants in their refusal to pay lease and drilling royalty fees, and removing natural gas from 130 acres of land without the consent of the plaintiffs.

The defendant removed the case to U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in May.

The plaintiffs claim the Chesapeake entities allegedly held, converted and kept the plaintiffs' land and minerals without consent or permission and refused to pay rent and royalties despite previously agreeing to do so.

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury; and seek a judgment against the defendants for unpaid rent and royalties, $50,000 in punitive damages and costs and attorney's fees. The plaintiffs are also seeking an order requiring Chesapeake to cease taking remaining minerals from the land. 

The plaintiffs are represented by Joseph R. Rydzewski of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, David W. Saba in Kingstonand Douglas P. Thomas in Scranton.

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania case number 18-cv-01063

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