Ohio Couple Sues for Over $2 Million in Oil and Gas Lawsuit

November 7, 2012

Oil and Gas Leases

Ohio oil and gas leasesCurrently, litigation of Oil and Gas leases constitutes a busy area of the law.  Many oil and gas lease lawsuits are popping up specifically in Ohio, and plaintiffs are making large claims for relief.  Recently, a Bethesda, Ohio couple has filed a lawsuit against Oxford Oil Company over an oil and gas lease they signed in 2006 – They are seeking more than 2 million dollars in damages and bonus payments.

In the way of background, Dale R. Russell and his wife, Loretta J. Russell, signed an oil and gas lease with Oxford Oil Company for their 128-acre farm in Belmont County, Ohio sometime in 2006. The signed oil and gas lease was scheduled to last five years, which slated it to end in mid-2011.  To date, the landowners claim that no drilling operations have been started, no wells have been drilled and no oil or gas has been harvested.  More importantly, the landowners have received no payments.

A day before the lease was set to expire, Oxford filed paperwork with a county recorder’s office claiming the lease should be extended under the theory of “force majeure”.  Force majeure literally means “superior force” or “unavoidable accident”, and essentially allows one party more time to perform under a contract because of an extraordinary circumstance.  It can also serve to relieve a party from their obligations under a contract.  Here, Oxford is claiming that a prior mineral lease on the Russell’s land was interfering with their ability to drill.  Consequently, they have not released the Russell’s lease.

The issue and reason for the lawsuit arises prior to 2006 when portions of the land were leased to a company named Murray Energy. According to reports, Murray’s signed lease granted them mineral rights under the Russell’s land, specifically for coal.  The leases ended up overlapping, and Oxford claims the previous lease granted to Murray Energy is the reason a well has not been drilled on the Russell farm.

The Russells claim that Oxford could have worked with Murray, but chose not to.  Specifically, Oxford should have arranged a way for both companies to harvest the respective minerals without interfering with each other.  On the other hand, Oxford claims that a well has not been placed on the property due to Murray’s coal mining.  Oxford also stated they cannot agree with Murray on a suitable site, and as such, they still own the oil and gas lease under force majeure.

Do you have a potential oil and gas situation?  If so, it is advisable to have an experienced Ohio Oil and Gas Lawyer review any lease before you sign it.  Please contact Slater & Zurz LLP by calling 1-888-727-9017 for a free consultation, or send us a Message to set up a time to discuss and evaluate your rights.  We want to make sure you get everything out of your property that you deserve.

To learn more about mineral rights and oil and gas leases, please visit oilgasleaseohio.com.

Source:  http://shalegasreporter.com/news/couple-seeks-2-million-in-oil-and-gas-lawsuit/1238.html

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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