Dozens of landowners in Western Pennsylvania are angry about gas leases they signed years ago for as little as $3 an acre now that $3,000 an acre is a typical price, but legal experts say they face an uphill battle if they decide to sue.
Industry lawyer Kevin L. Colosimo comes across a new lease lawsuit or the threat of one every week, saying at least dozens may be brewing. More than 100 landowners in Lawrence County have organized, saying they were duped into signing bargain-basement leases on the eve of the region’s gas rush, and they could claim they were defrauded in a lawsuit aimed at sweetening their deals, several group members said.
“The fraud issue is a big issue — it really, really is,” said Carl J. Pernicone, a New York lawyer who wrote an article this year assessing various drilling-related lawsuits that company lawyers should prepare for. “The leasehold issue is certainly a big bone of contention. … So I think that is absolutely a potential area that could be subject to litigation. (That’s) right on target.”