April 15, 2016

A federal judge on Friday consolidated 11 proposed antitrust class actions accusing Chesapeake Energy Corp. of engaging in a conspiracy to rig bids and limit competition for oil and gas leases in Oklahoma federal court.

U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange approved the consolidation and left the door open for future suits to be added to the action, which is now known as In re Anadarko Basin Oil and Gas Lease Antitrust Litigation, according to her Friday order. The suits had been pouring in since former CEO Aubrey McClendon was indicted on antitrust allegations by the U.S. Department of Justice. He died in a car accident the day after his March 1 indictment.

Plaintiffs from a few of the actions filed the consolidation motion on March 31, arguing the suits involved the same allegations against the same defendants, according to court documents. On April 7, Chesapeake signed off on the consolidation bid, they said.

“To promote judicial efficiency in these related case, the best course is to consolidate the actions,” the plaintiffs said in their March 31 motion. “All allege that the defendants engaged in an anticompetitive conspiracy to rig bids and depress the market for purchases of oil and natural gas leasehold interests and properties containing producing oil and natural gas wells, and all allege violations of the Sherman Act.”

The full article can be read here.