On November 2, 2022, the Court preliminarily approved a Settlement in the Litigation between Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and the Settlement Class, and Defendant. This approval and the Notice are not an expression of opinion by the Court as to the merits of any of the claims or defenses asserted by any of the parties to the Litigation, or of whether the Court will ultimately approve the Settlement Agreement.
In settlement of all claims alleged in the Litigation, Defendant has agreed to pay Thirty-Five Million ($35,000,000.00) in cash (“Gross Settlement Fund”). In exchange for the payment noted above and other consideration outlined in the Settlement Agreement, the Settlement Class shall release the Released Claims (as defined in the Settlement Agreement) against the Released Parties (as defined in the Settlement Agreement). The Settlement Agreement also includes the Future Benefits and Methodology for the Settlement Class, which provides that Defendant will not deduct treating, dehydration, gathering, and compression from royalty payments, and Defendant may deduct the reasonable and actual costs or volumes for field and plant fuel, processing, mainline transportation, and transportation and fractionation of natural gas liquids from royalty payments for a period of ten (10) years after the Claim Period. The $35,000,000.00 cash payment is referred to as the “Gross Settlement Fund.” The Gross Settlement Fund and the Future Benefits and Methodology is referred to as the “Gross Settlement Value.” The Gross Settlement Fund, less Plaintiffs’ Attorneys’ Fees and Litigation Expenses and Administration, Notice, and Distribution Costs, and other costs approved by the Court (the “Net Settlement Fund”), will be distributed to final Class Members pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Agreement.
Class Counsel intends to seek an award of Plaintiffs’ Attorneys’ Fees of not more than 40% of the Gross Settlement Fund. Co-Lead Class Counsel, Reagan E. Bradford and Ryan K. Wilson of Bradford & Wilson, and Rex A. Sharp of Sharp Law, LLP, have been litigating this case without any payment whatsoever, advancing hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses for over five years. At the Final Fairness Hearing, Plaintiffs’ Counsel will also seek reimbursement of the litigation and administration expenses incurred in connection with the prosecution of this Litigation and that will be incurred through final distribution of the Settlement, which is estimated to be approximately $600,000.00. In addition, Plaintiffs intend to seek case contribution awards for their representation of the Class, which amount will not exceed 2% of the Gross Settlement Fund, to compensate Plaintiffs for their time, expense, risk, and burden as serving as Class Representatives.
The Court must approve the Allocation Methodology, which describes how the Settlement Administrator will allocate the Net Settlement Fund. The Net Settlement Fund will be distributed by the Settlement Administrator after the Effective Date of the Settlement. The Effective Date requires the exhaustion of any appeals, which may take a year or more after the entry of Judgment. The Settlement may be terminated on several grounds, including if the Court does not approve or materially modifies the terms of the Settlement.
The Notice does not and cannot set out all the terms of the Settlement Agreement, which is available for review at the Important Documents page. This website will eventually include the Notice, the Plans of Allocation, and Plaintiffs’ Counsel’s application for Plaintiffs’ Attorneys’ Fees and Litigation Expenses and other costs. You may also receive information about the progress of the Settlement by visiting the Home page, or by contacting the Settlement Administrator.