Mt. Pleasant couple sue Consol over gas royalties
A Westmoreland County couple has filed a lawsuit against Consol Energy Inc. for underpayment of natural gas royalties.
Earl D. Hall Sr.; his wife, Betty Jane; and son Earl Hall Jr. of Mt. Pleasant filed the lawsuit in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court on Nov. 19.
Ten people filed a similar lawsuit last week in federal court against Energy Corp. of America. The lawsuits are seeking class-action status, which could encompass more than 1,000 plaintiffs in the Consol lawsuit and more than 100 in the Energy Corp. case.
In both lawsuits, the plaintiffs said they entered into separate lease agreements with the companies under which they would receive royalties based on the amount of gas collected each month from their land.
The companies are accused of breaching the leases by taking “volumetric deductions” and calculating royalties using a price that was less than the price paid to the companies, according to the lawsuits filed by William Caroselli.
Consol and Energy Corp. could not be reached for comment.
Caroselli contends the companies could be forced to pay millions of dollars to the class.
“The companies are not paying what they should be paying,” Caroselli said.
The 13-page lawsuit against Consol alleges breach of contract and improper accounting. The Halls leased oil and gas rights to Dominion Exploration & Production Inc. for property in Fayette County. Consol acquired Dominion’s rights to the lease this year, according to the lawsuit.