WHEELING – Multiple companies and individuals are suing CLS Group and others claiming the defendants breached their contracts with the plaintiffs regarding marcellus shale mineral interests.

Beginning in August 2008, Keith J. Balaschak, individually and as a representative of CLS, contacted GW Rentals LLC, Windmill Truckers Inc., Lee J. Glessner, Gary W. Glessner, Norma Tubaugh, Dawnisa Tubaugh, Clarence Tubaugh, Glessner Real Estate Properties LLC, Kathy A. Elliott and Robert B. Elliott in an effort to acquire mineral leases for only the marcellus shale mineral interests, according to a complaint filed Oct. 23 in Ohio Circuit Court.

Balaschak represented that he had full authority, permission and control necessary to enter into lease agreements on behalf of CLS and in doing so, he also indicated that he understood what was best for landowners in Ohio County.

"Balaschak indicated that signing the lease in 2008 on the terms as explained to the plaintiffs was best for the plaintiffs," the complaint states.

The plaintiffs claim Balaschak also indicated that signing early compared to others in the community and for what is now known to be a much lower per-acre up-front payment amount than what other similarly situated landowners were receiving would be in the best interest of the plaintiffs.

"Further, Balaschak represented that the lease could be modified wherein the lease would remain open for further negotiations after the expiration of its original term in 2013," the complaint states.

Balaschak understood this would be particularly beneficial to the plaintiffs and would entice them to sign, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim they agreed to this modification of the form lease contract so that a renegotiation of the upfront signing bonus and royalty percentage could be done.

The original lease term expired on Aug. 8, 2013, and the defendants have not paid any consideration for their continued and unlawful occupation of the property, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants breached their contract with them and has deprived the plaintiffs of their property and suffered damages due to the conduct.

The defendants have been unjustly enriched at the expense of the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are being represented by Mark A. Kepple of Bailey & Wyant PLLC.

CLS Group, Capital Land Services Inc., Chesapeake Appalachia LLC, Chesapeake Energy Corporation and Southwestern Energy Company were also named as defendants in the suit.

Ohio Circuit Court case number: 14-C-311


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