Sixth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Class Action Seeking to Invalidate Oil and Gas Leases Secured by North Coast Energy

April 23, 2014

In 2012, Kenneth and Martha Cole filed a class action law suit in Ohio state court against North Coast Energy and a later purchaser of its Ohio oil and gas leases, claiming that hundreds of these leases that North Coast had purchased were invalid because they had not been executed in accordance with the Ohio statute governing them.

The plaintiffs hoped to sell the leases again at their much higher values since the discovery of recoverable oil and gas deposits in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. We removed the case to federal court in the Northern District of Ohio. After lengthy briefing, the district court granted our motion to dismiss, and the plaintiffs appealed to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

There were two strikingly divergent lines of authority in Ohio case law on the issue, and after briefing and argument, the 6th Circuit agreed with the district court and concluded that the Ohio courts would apply the line of authority we contended applied and affirmed the dismissal. North Coast is a subsidiary of our good client EXCO Resources.

The McGuireWoods team included Len Marsico, Brad Funari, Brian Root, Branden Moore and senior paralegal Anne Muhl.