FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., May 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Caruso Law Firm, the Law Office of Smolen, Smolen, & Roytman and Dale Lipsmeyer are proud to announce that a settlement has been reached, and preliminarily approved by the Honorable Judge Terry Sullivan, in the certified class action lawsuit, Snow v. SEECO, Inc. (n/k/a SWN Production (Arkansas), Inc.).
In the Complaint, Mr. Snow alleged that SEECO owed him, and a class of similarly-situated royalty owners, unpaid natural gas royalties spanning a period of several years. Judge Sullivan subsequently certified the Snow case as a class action for a class of SEECO royalty owners in the Fayetteville Shale -- who were citizens of Arkansas on May 7, 2010 -- under leases containing specific lease language. Late last year, the Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed Judge Sullivan's certification of the Snow class. See SEECO, Inc. v. Snow, 506 S.W.3d 206 (Ark. 2016).
The case has been hard fought and contentious at times. Through the years, Judge Sullivan admirably managed his docket while aptly moving this complex litigation forward. Now, after years of twists and turns, ups and downs and hundreds of hours of hard work, the parties have come to an amicable resolution. On May 16, 2017, the parties mediated their disputes and agreed to a class-wide settlement. The settlement discussions were skillfully overseen by Mediator Frank Hamlin of Little Rock. In an effort to achieve a full and complete settlement, the parties agreed to an expanded settlement class that includes royalty owners outside of Arkansas.
On May 18, 2017, Judge Sullivan preliminarily approved the settlement, which provides for at least $45 million in cash and future benefits to the settlement class. More specifically, in addition to the cash settlement, SEECO has agreed to progressively decrease the gathering cost deductions charged to the class member royalty owners.
"We believe this to be a fair and reasonable settlement and a true win for the royalty owners," said class counsel, Dan Smolen of Tulsa. "The settlement, if approved by the Court, provides the benefit of a substantial recovery for the class while avoiding the costs and risks inherent in adversarial litigation," Smolen continued.
Mr. Snow reacted, "This is a great settlement, especially considering the prolonged period of extremely low natural gas prices."
Notice of the settlement was communicated to the entire settlement class on May 19, 2017. The class members will have 30 days to "opt out" of the settlement or object to its terms. Judge Sullivan has set a hearing for June 28, 2017, to assess the fairness of the settlement. If, after the hearing, Judge Sullivan approves the settlement as fair, reasonable and adequate, it is expected that the settlement will become final.
Mr. Snow and the settlement class are represented by Dennis A. Caruso of the Caruso Law Firm, PC, Tulsa, Oklahoma (918) 583-5900, Daniel E. Smolen of The Law Office of Smolen, Smolen, & Roytman, PLLC, Tulsa, Oklahoma (918) 585-2667; and Dale Lipsmeyer of Morrilton, Arkansas (501) 354-2288.
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SOURCE The Law Office of Smolen, Smolen, & Roytman