Lutz v. Chesapeake Appalachia, L.L.C., No. 10-4538 (6th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, the owners and lessors of royalty rights to natural gas produced in Trumbull and Mahoning Counties in Ohio, filed a putative class-action lawsuit, alleging that three interrelated energy companies that entered into oil and gas leases with plaintiffs deliberately and fraudulently underpaid gas royalties over more than a decade. Plaintiffs asserted breach of contract and five additional tort and quasi-contract claims and sought compensatory and punitive damages. The district court dismissed, holding that the contract claim was time-barred by Ohio’s four-year statute of limitations and that none of the tort and quasi-contract claims were separate and distinct from the underlying contract action because they did not allege any obligations apart from those imposed by the leases. The Sixth Circuit reversed in part, finding that the district court failed to consider plaintiffs’ fraudulent concealment argument and that allegations regarding due diligence were sufficient to require further analysis.