Chesapeake Appalachia LLC v. Scout Petroleum, LLC, No. 15-1275 (3d Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
In 2008, Chesapeake, as “Lessee,” entered into oil and gas leases with northeastern Pennsylvania landowners. The Leases indicate that they were “prepared by” Chesapeake and include a provision, stating that, in the event of a disagreement between “Lessor” and “Lessee” concerning “this Lease,” performance “thereunder,” or damages caused by “Lessee’s” operations, “all such disputes” shall be resolved by arbitration “in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association.” In 2013, Scout purchased several leases and began receiving royalties from Chesapeake. In 2014, Scout filed an arbitration demand on behalf of itself and similarly situated lessors, alleging that Chesapeake paid insufficient royalties. Chesapeake objected to class arbitration and sought a declaratory judgment, arguing that “[it] did not agree to resolve disputes arising out of the leases at issue in ‘class arbitration,’ nor did Chesapeake agree to submit the question of class arbitrability ... to an arbitrator.” The district court and Third Circuit ruled in favor of Chesapeake, finding that the issue of arbitrability is a question for the court. Based on the language of the Leases, the nature and contents of the AAA rules, and existing case law, the Leases did not “clearly and unmistakably” delegate the question of class arbitrability to the arbitrators.