Thirty-three landowners in Ohio have filed a lawsuit in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court against Chesapeake Exploration, CHK Utica, notary publics Lynn Savage, Jason Pavone, and Jonathan Plute, and two land agents over oil and gas lease rights in Ohio.
According to the lawsuit, about 3,000 acres throughout Salem, Hanover, Butler, West, and Wayne Townships were leased before the natural gas fracking boom giving landowners less than one percent of the value of leases being currently signed throughout the area today.
The complaint says that most of the leases were signed through Anschutz Exploration Corp, and then later purchased by Chesapeake. The lawsuit says the lease transfers were improper and did not receive proper notarization as the notaries signed without actually seeing the leases.
The plaintiffs allege the land agents did not inform them about new drilling procedures and they could affect their land including that the new processes take up a much larger area and could potentially be more disruptive. The lawsuit also accuses Chesapeake of holding the leases even though the company is not drilling the land, yet failing to pay fair market value for the leases.
The lawsuit seeks more than $25,000 in damages for each of the 15 charges made in the complaint, and to have the leases canceled.