Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) seemingly appears to be inseparable with controversy. Having made the headlines dozens of times this year, the embattled company has yet again made the news, after it was dragged into a lawsuit filed by Dickinson couple over its alleged reluctance to pay $319,686 related to mineral rights lease agreements.
Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) tried to have the case thrown out, and is currently waiting for a decision on its recommendation to dismiss the case. The case involves one, Jeffrey Kuhn and his wife Barbara Kuhn. Already, the couple has had to battle the case in multiple courtrooms. This happened after the case was moved from Stark County court to the U.S District court, based in Bismarck. The case was moved after Chesapeake, for reasons unknown, placed a request to have the case moved.
In its defense, Chesapeake notes that it acted within its right to walk away from the now disputed lease agreements. According to the couple, the lease agreements- which were signed in 2011 in Stark and Hettinger counties- placed Chesapeake under legal obligation to pay the promised bonuses.
According to Charles Peterson, Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) has forged a reputation of refusing to meet its financial obligations with regards to signed mineral rights leases. Peterson, who works for Mackoff Kellogg, a Dickinson firm, is the representative to the Kuhns.
“We have eight cases right now against Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK), and it’s a company that has failed to live up to lease agreements around the country,” noted an evidently disappointed Peterson. The representative also shared his insight on the probable reason behind the movement of the case from Stark Country Court to the Bismarck based U.S district court. “For whatever reason, sometimes large corporations believe they have a better chance of winning at a higher level, and I think that’s why they wanted it moved from Stark County,” he remarked.
Although a hearing has not yet been scheduled, tension is high on both quarters. Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) needs to exhibit its ability to handle litigation, while the Kuhns need to find a way to maneuver around the requested dismissal. The Kuhns’ case consists of six counts, three of which were noted as breach of contract, civil conspiracy, and fraud.
This case underscores Chesapeake’s rickety relationship with the public. It is not the first case that the company has had with the public. In fact, Chesapeake faces other mineral-right lawsuits in other states. Reports this week indicate that it has already lost close to $20 million in a Texas mineral-rights lease lawsuit.
*UPDATE: Title rectified