Hundreds of royalty owners in the natural gas-rich Piceance Basin of Garfield, CO, may benefit from a proposed partial settlement of a class action lawsuit brought against Williams Production RMT.
Parachute, CO, royalty owners Ivo, Sidney and Ruth Lindauer, and Diamond Minerals LLC in Sept. 2006 filed the lawsuit against Williams and predecessor owner Barrett Resources Corp. (Lindauer et al. v. Williams Production RMT Co., Case No. 2006 CV 317). The plaintiffs alleged that Williams had underpaid royalties and some overriding royalties in several ways that included:
In its reply to the lawsuit Williams asserted that it had properly calculated and paid royalties, properly accounted for the gas and other products sold and had taken deductions permitted by the leases held by the plaintiffs. Williams said it had made ad valorem tax refunds for the production years 2002 and 2003 and was in the process of determining refunds for 2004 because the 2004 taxes were not due and paid until 2006.
Garfield County’s Ninth Judicial District Judge Denise Lynch approved the partial settlement, and she has scheduled a fairness hearing for March 20. In the settlement Williams did not admit to wrongdoing or to the legitimacy of the claims of the plaintiffs. According to the agreement, Williams said it would, among other things:
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