CLARKSBURG – A federal judge granted a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Austin Caperton filed by EQT Production Company.
Federal Judge Thomas S. Kleeh granted the motion for voluntary dismissal, finding good cause existed to grant the motion, according to the Sept. 3 order filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia at Clarksburg.
The motion for voluntary dismissal was filed on Aug. 30.
"EQT hereby moves pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(2) for entry of an order voluntarily dismissing this civil action, without prejudice," the motion states. "Counsel for Defendant, Secretary Caperton, has advised they do not have an objection to the motion, as stipulated below."
Earlier this year, EQT agreed to a settlement agreement with the Kay Company, H. Dotson Cather, James E. Hamric and class members in which EQT agreed to pay $53.5 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged the company was cheating thousands of state residents and businesses by shorting them on gas royalty payments.
EQT had filed a lawsuit against Caperton in April 2018 alleging West Virginia's flat-rate statute was unconstitutional and "fundamentally alters and impairs the terms of private flat-rate oil and gas leases that were executed before its enactment."
EQT argued the statute substantially impaired EQT's vested drilling rights under its flat-rate leases and imposed unconstitutional conditions on EQT's exercise of its property rights under those contracts.
However, following the settlement of the other lawsuit, EQT filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss its claim against Caperton, which was granted.
EQT was represented by Timothy P. Miller and Katrina N. Bowers of Babst Calland Clements and Zomnir.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case No. 1:18-cv-00072