WHEELING - Four individuals are suing Alliance Resources GP after they claim it trespassed on their property and extracted methane gas.
Tunnel Ridge LLC, Robin Energy Inc. and Jesmar Energy Inc. were also named as defendants in the suit.
John Mark Hickman, Cecil Lee Hickman, Lawrence Grant Hickman and Carol Sue Criswell are siblings who are the owners of certain real estate including surface and mineral, oil and gas interests located in Triadelphia District in Ohio County, according to a complaint filed May 14 in Ohio Circuit Court.
The plaintiffs claim they are owners of 143 acres of real estate and their real estate ownership interests include the rights to any and all mineral and/or oil and gas except for the coal of the Pittsburgh vein.
The coal of the Pittsburgh vein was previously severed from the plaintiffs' property by their predecessor in title and the coal has already been mined from the area underlying their property, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claims Alliance, Tunnel Ridge and Robin claim an ownership interest in the abandoned mine works which underlie their real estate.
Jesmar entered into contractual agreements with one or more of the defendants for the construction and installation of methane production wells into abandoned mine workings, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim the defendants drilled and placed into production methane production wells which were drilled into the abandoned mine workings claimed to be owned by Alliance and Tunnel Ridge.
The defendants accomplished the production of methane gas from the abandoned and empty coal mine voids and, in achieving production from the mine works, the defendants withdrew and produced methane gas, which they did not own and in which they had no legal rights, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim they own the methane gas that was extracted and/or produced by the defendants without any form of compensation to them.
The defendants had no valid lease, contract, deed or any other writing or agreement which provided them any type of interest or right to the methane gas in the mined out works underlying the plaintiffs' property, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim the fact that the defendants had no legal right to extract or produce methane gas which belonged to the plaintiffs, the defendants purposely extracted the methane gas and obtained consideration, including financial profit and gain.
"The plaintiffs received absolutely no consideration from the defendants resulting from the extraction and production of the methane gas that the defendants extracted and produced from the plaintiffs' property without the consent of the plaintiffs," the complaint states.
The defendants committed a trespass against mineral rights legally owned by the plaintiffs, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs are seeking certification of class action status, compensatory damages and pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by James G. Bordas Jr. and Jeremy M. McGraw of Bordas & Bordas; and David B. McMahon.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Ronald E. Wilson.
Ohio Circuit Court case number: 14-C-133