MILWAUKEE, May 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- If You Bought Natural Gas in Wisconsin Between January 1, 2000 and October 31, 2002, Class Action Settlements May Affect You.
Why was this notice published?
Settlements have been reached with certain Defendants in class action lawsuits involving natural gas.
What are these lawsuits about?
The lawsuits allege that certain companies involved in the production, marketing, or sale of natural gas engaged in an unlawful conspiracy to manipulate the price of natural gas. Plaintiffs further claim that commercial and industrial purchasers of natural gas who purchased natural gas other than from utilities or local distribution companies and for their own use or consumption in Wisconsin may recover for the effect that the alleged conspiracy had on the prices of the natural gas they purchased. Plaintiffs allege that, as a result of the unlawful conspiracy, they and other Wisconsin purchasers paid more for natural gas than they would have absent the conspiracy. The Settling Defendants deny Plaintiffs' claims.
Who's included in the Settlements?
All industrial and commercial purchasers of natural gas for their own use or consumption during the period from January 1, 2000 through October 31, 2002 (the "Class Period"), and which gas was used or consumed by them in Wisconsin. Excluded from the Class are (a) entities that purchased natural gas for resale (to the extent of such purchase for resale); (b) entities that purchased natural gas for generation of electricity for the purpose of sale (to the extent of such purchase for generation); (c) entities that purchased natural gas from entities that sold natural gas at rates approved by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (to the extent of such purchases at such approved rates); (d) defendants and their predecessors, affiliates and subsidiaries; and (e) the federal government and its agencies.
This is the second notice in this case. The first notice involved settlements in Wisconsin, Kansas and Missouri with American Electric Power Company, Inc., and certain of its affiliates; Coral Energy Resources, LP, and certain of its affiliates; Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC, and certain of its affiliates; and ONEOK, Inc., and certain of its affiliates. The Court has now approved two additional settlements, for natural gas purchases in Wisconsin only, with El Paso and CenterPoint, as defined below.
Who are the Settling Defendants?
Settlements have been reached with Defendants El Paso LLC (f/k/a El Paso Corporation) and El Paso Marketing Company, L.L.C. (f/k/a El Paso Merchant Energy, L.P.) (collectively, "El Paso"), and Defendant CenterPoint Energy Services, Inc. (f/k/a Reliant Energy Retail, Inc.) ("CenterPoint") (El Paso and CenterPoint are, collectively, the "Settling Defendants"). A complete list of Defendants is set out in the Long Form Notice available at www.NaturalGasAntitrustSettlement.com.
What do the Settlements provide?
The Settlements create a total settlement fund of $29.25 million in cash, plus any interest accrued (the "Settlement Fund"), before deductions for Court-approved expenses and attorneys' fees.
Class Counsel will ask the Court for reimbursement from the Settlement Fund of a portion of their costs and expenses incurred to date. Class Counsel will also ask the Court to award attorneys' fees not to exceed thirty-five percent (35%) of the remaining Settlement Fund after any fees and expenses are reimbursed. In addition, up to $200,000 in administration fees will be paid from the Settlement Fund to the claims administrator that will assist with the processing of notices, requests for exclusion, and other settlement-related tasks. Additional amounts may be paid to the claims administrator to assist with the processing of claims in the event the Court finally approves these settlements. Class Counsel may also request that an amount be paid from the Settlement Fund to each of the Class Representatives who helped the lawyers pursue these claims on behalf of all members of the Class (known as an "incentive award"). The Court will ultimately approve the amount of attorneys' fees, costs and expenses, and any incentive awards.
What are my rights?
If you wish to remain a member of the Settlement Class, you do not need to take action at this time. If you stay in the Settlement Class, all of the decisions by the Court and these Settlements will bind you, and you will be unable to sue the Settling Defendants about the alleged misconduct or legal issues in these cases, or be part of any other lawsuit against the Settling Defendants about such issues. Please carefully review the specific provisions of the Settlement Agreements, including the release of claims contained therein, at www.NaturalGasAntitrustSettlement.com.
If you do not wish to be legally bound by the Settlements, you must exclude yourself in writing or you will not be able to sue, or continue to sue the Settling Defendants about the alleged misconduct or legal claims that were or could have been asserted in these cases. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you may not intervene as a party plaintiff in the Actions. If you would like to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, then you must send a letter that includes the following: (a) your name, address, and telephone number; (b) any trade names or business names (and addresses) you or any parent, subsidiary, or affiliate that purchased the natural gas used during the Class Period; (c) an estimate of the total dollar amount and volume of natural gas purchased by the entity(ies) listed in subparts (a) or (b) and the names of all entities from or through which such natural gas was purchased; (d) a statement saying that you want to be excluded from the In re Western States Wholesale Natural Gas Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1566 (D. Nev.) Settlements; (e) the statement that "[name of entity] and all its parents, subsidiaries, and affiliates hereby request to be excluded from the proposed Class settlements described in the notices of settlements pertaining to the Actions;" (f) the title or position of the person signing on behalf of the entity, and a statement that the person is duly authorized to sign on behalf of such entity; and (g) the signature of the duly authorized person identified in subpart (f). All exclusion requests must be sent to Natural Gas Claims Administrators c/o A.B. Data, LTD., Exclusions, PO Box 173001, Milwaukee, WI 53217-8091 and must be postmarked no later than July 15, 2019. The Court will exclude from the Settlement Class any member who validly requests exclusion. You may also enter your appearance through an attorney if you so desire.
The terms of the Settlement Agreements, including the releases of the claims discussed above and detailed at www.NaturalGasAntitrustSettlement.com require that a Class Member must participate in or opt out of all the settlements. For instance, you may not remain a member of the El Paso Settlement (by doing nothing) and opt out of the CenterPoint Settlement.
If you wish to object to any aspect of the proposed Settlements, you must do so in writing no later than July 8, 2019. The Settlement Agreements, along with the details on how to object to them, are available at www.NaturalGasAntitrustSettlement.com. The U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada will hold a Fairness Hearing on August 5, 2019 at 9:00 AM, at the Lloyd D. George U.S. Courthouse, U.S. District Court, District of Nevada-Las Vegas, 333 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, Nevada 89101, to consider whether the Settlements are fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them at that time. You may also appear in person at the hearing, but you do not need to do so. If you wish to appear, however, you must first provide written notice of your intention to appear. We do not know how long it will take for the Court to make these decisions. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so it is a good idea to check the website, at www.NaturalGasAntitrustSettlement.com, for information. Please do not contact the Court about this case.
The Court has appointed the law firms of Kohner, Mann & Kailas, S.C., and Polsinelli PC to represent settlement Class Members in Wisconsin.
This is a Summary Notice. For more details, call toll free 800-429-7281, visit www.NaturalGasAntitrustSettlement.com, or write to Natural Gas Claims Administrator, c/o A.B. Data, LTD., PO Box 173068, Milwaukee, WI 53217-8091.
SOURCE Kohner, Mann & Kailas, S.C., and Polsinelli PC