On September 5, 2018, Cohen Milstein filed a motion for the preliminary approval of a $6.95 million settlement with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma after an agreement was reached between plaintiffs and Chesapeake Energy, San Ridge Energy, and now deceased co-founder and former CEO, Aubrey McClendon, and Tom Ward, a former executive of both companies, who allegedly conspired to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate geographic territories for leases of land held by private landowners in a large oil and gas field underneath parts of Oklahoma and Kansas known as the Mississippi Lime Play area of the Anadarko Basin.
If approved by the Court, settlement funds will be distributed to a proposed class of potentially thousands of geographically dispersed individuals and businesses. The settlement will put an end to a high-profile case that followed the 2016 indictment and untimely death of former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon on federal antitrust conspiracy charges.
On April 3, 2017 Cohen Milstein was appointed Interim Co-Lead Counsel for plaintiffs in this proposed class action.
This litigation follows the U.S. Department of Justice’s March 1, 2016 indictment of a co-founder and former CEO, Aubrey McClendon, of Chesapeake Energy for allegedly participating in this antitrust conspiracy. The former CEO, who also was a part owner of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, died in a car accident the day after his indictment.
Plaintiffs allege that Defendants illegally conspired to stabilize and depress the price of royalty and bonus payments paid to landowners in the Mississippi Lime Play area of 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 case is named: In re Anadarko Basin Oil and Gas Lease Antitrust Litigation, Case No. CIV-16-209-HE, U.S. District Court, Western District of Oklahoma,