Judge not sealing document in oil, gas royalties case

Goodwin

CHARLESTON - Lawyers wrapping up a $50 million settlement of litigation against Dominion Resources over oil and gas royalties decided too late that they needed to hide the reasons why some lease holders didn't participate.

On Oct. 22, claims administrator Arnett & Foster asked U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin to seal a document it filed as public record on Oct. 20.

The document "contained unredacted information that plaintiffs' counsel feels should be sealed by the court," Xavier Staggs of Charleston wrote.

Plaintiff lawyer Marvin Masters of Charleston and Dominion lawyer Henry Lawrence of Bridgeport joined the motion on Oct. 25.

They moved too slowly, for the document remained public as of Oct. 27.

The top line identified it as follow up contact by Rust, a class action contractor.

It showed 180 names with amounts from 92 cents to $21,018.97.

For 97 names, it showed, "Didn't receive notice and their address has not changed."

For 41 others, it showed, "Claimants are deceased."

For 15, it showed, "Chose not to submit."

For five, it showed, "Too much trouble."

For five others, it showed, "Claimant indicated they mailed in claim form but has not yet received a payment."

For four, it showed, "Claimant indicated they mailed in claim form and received a payment."

For four others, it showed, "Wasn't enough money."

For three, it showed, "Change of address, did not receive notice."

For two, it showed, "Doesn't like lawsuits or class actions."

For one, it showed, "Claimant indicated they are working with Dominion directly."

For one other, it showed, "Claimant was told they didn't need to submit claim."

For yet another, it showed, "Claimant is 93 and doesn't like lawsuits."

And for one other, it showed, "Doesn't remember."

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