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Lawsuit Involving McClendon Counsel Without Merit, Says Duane Morris

An international law firm said Tuesday it would "aggressively defend" itself in a lawsuit regarding its dealings with Aubrey McClendon and the Appalachian exploration company he founded with major investors.

Companies that include Ascent Resources LLC, formerly led by McClendon, and an investor group led by The Energy & Minerals Group (EMG), on Monday filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Houston alleging that Duane Morris LLP had "mistakenly or fraudulently" acted on behalf of the former CEO and co-founder of Chesapeake Energy Corp. (see Daily GPIAug. 10).

David Beck of Houston's Beck Redden LLP, counsel to Duane Morris, responded to the lawsuit on Tuesday.

"We have reviewed the claims filed by these business entities and believe the law firm acted appropriately and ethically in all respects," Beck said. "In short, the case is without merit and the firm will aggressively defend the case."

Duane Morris, a law firm with more than 700 attorneys in offices across the United States and internationally, has an extensive energy practice. It has represented McClendon in a lawsuit filed by Chesapeake earlier this year regarding trade secret infringement (see Daily GPIApril 14Feb. 17). The lawsuit by Ascent and EMG entities claims that Duane Morris lawyers hid information from them regarding a letter sent by Chesapeake in late 2014 concerning the trade secret infringement.

Duane Morris, among other things, said the lawsuit, "pretended to represent" Ascent and EMG plaintiffs in negotiating a tolling agreement with Chesapeake "all the while never disclosing the potential dispute to the plaintiffs..."

The plaintiffs are seeking $150 million in compensation.

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