Keller Postman LLC yesterday filed a proposed class action lawsuit on behalf of real property owners whose rights have been violated by the unlawful conduct of EQT Corporation, the largest natural gas producer in the United States. EQT extracted and otherwise produced natural gas from the plaintiffs’ real property without making required royalty payments.
The complaint alleges the defendants—EQT Production Company; Rice Drilling B, LLC; Vantage Energy Appalachia LLC; and Vantage Energy Appalachia II LLC—are in violation of the Pennsylvania Minimum Royalty Act, in breach of quasi-contract, and have committed unjust enrichment and conversion, among other allegations. Keller Postman and its co-counsel, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP, seek to obtain compensation for real property owners who are owed royalties as well as to prevent further violation of their property rights.
Headquartered in Pittsburgh, EQT leads significant drilling and natural gas extraction operations throughout Pennsylvania. Prior to exploiting a natural gas deposit in Pennsylvania, EQT must enter into agreements with at least one owner of that deposit for the right to drill and extract natural gas from the owner’s property. Pennsylvania law further requires EQT to pay royalties to all owners of the natural gas it seeks to produce, regardless of whether it has secured production rights directly from those owners.
Keller Postman’s complaint alleges that EQT systematically fails to locate, account to, and pay the owners with whom it has not directly contracted, in violation of Pennsylvania law. It further alleges that EQT has extracted natural gas from real property in which plaintiffs have an ownership interest without accounting to or paying royalties to the plaintiffs as mandated by statute.
“For years, EQT has generated billions in profits by extracting natural gas beneath properties across the Commonwealth while failing to pay property owners the royalties to which they are entitled,” Keller Postman Partner Seth Meyer said. “On behalf of our clients, we intend to hold EQT accountable.”
Keller Postman attorneys representing the plaintiffs include Meyer and Associate Alex Dravillas. Scott Hare and Anthony Gestrich of Whiteford Taylor & Preston’s Pittsburgh office are co-counsel on behalf of plaintiffs.
The case is titled Richard A. Ross and Fieldstone Ventures, LLC v. EQT Corporation et al., No. GD-21-011948, and is filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
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*As of April 2022, the firm has changed its name from Keller Lenkner to Keller Postman.
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