Oklahoma royalty owners being shortchanged by energy giant, lawsuit says
HOUSTON – The Lanier Law Firm has filed a proposed federal class-action lawsuit against a subsidiary of energy giant BP PLC based on claims that the company improperly deducted processing and other charges from natural gas royalties that are owed to a group of royalty owners in Oklahoma.
The national legal publication Law360 reported on the case in “BP Unit Underpaying Okla. Gas Royalties, Suit Says” (subscription required).
The Lanier Law Firm founder W. Mark Lanier and firm attorney Reagan E. Bradford represent lead plaintiff John Cecil in the lawsuit filed Sept. 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma. The firm is representing Mr. Cecil along with attorney Rex A. Sharp of Prairie Village, Kansas. The case is Cecil v. BP America Production Co., No. 6:16-CV-00410.
According to the filing, BP has operated a series of natural gas wells and paid royalties to the group of owners in Oklahoma since 1993. The filing says BP has tried to justify the costs it has deducted from royalty payments by creating fictitious “sales” in the noncommercial market in order to change the start date for when royalty payments should have been made.
Among other claims, Mr. Cecil is seeking damages based on BP’s alleged breach of lease, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. His lawsuit says BP has been quietly settling similar claims with individual royalty owners to enable the company to continue making improper deductions from other royalty owners who are being shortchanged on their payments.
With offices in Houston, New York and Los Angeles, The Lanier Law Firm is committed to addressing client concerns with effective and innovative solutions in courtrooms across the country. The firm is composed of outstanding trial attorneys with decades of experience handling cases involving pharmaceutical liability, asbestos exposure, commercial litigation, product liability, maritime law, and sports and entertainment law.