April 03, 2017

On April 3, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma appointed Cohen Milstein as Interim Co-Lead Counsel for plaintiffs in class actions alleging that Chesapeake Energy, SandRidge Energy and a former executive of both companies conspired to rig bids for leases of land held by private landowners in parts of Oklahoma and Kansas.  This litigation follows the U.S. Department of Justice’s early 2016 indictment of a co-founder and former CEO of Chesapeake Energy for allegedly participating in this bid-rigging conspiracy.  The multiple suits were consolidated in April 2016.

Plaintiffs allege that Defendants illegally conspired to stabilize and depress the price of royalty and bonus payments paid to landowners in the Anadarko Basin oil and gas province — a massive geological formation holding natural gas and oil deposits that includes large parts of Oklahoma and Kansas.  Pursuant to this conspiracy, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants communicated about and agreed on prices, allocated particular geographic areas between themselves, and rigged bids for leases of land, lowering acquisition prices across the region and thereby harming the proposed class of landowners.

The order can be viewed here.

The case, In re Anadarko Basin Oil and Gas Lease Antitrust Litigation, is pending in the Western District of Oklahoma, Case No. CIV-16-209-HE.