On April 3, 2017 Cohen Milstein was appointed Interim Co-Lead Counsel for plaintiffs in a proposed class action alleging that Chesapeake Energy, SandRidge Energy and a former executive of both companies 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. The multiple suits were consolidated in April 2016.
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, In re Anadarko Basin Oil and Gas Lease Antitrust Litigation, is pending in the Western District of Oklahoma, Case No. CIV-16-209-HE.