(08/07/2006)
A lawsuit has been filed against a third gas producer in Roane County over alleged problems perpetrated on royalty holders.

The lawsuits, originating in Roane County and being heard by Judge Thomas Evans III, are certainly catching the attention of the producers.

The suits have been among the largest class action suits filed in the Mountain State.

The suits claim royalty owners have been cheated out of their fair share of the production of gas wells, claiming the corporations developed a number or "creative" formulas to deduct money from their earnings.

The latest suit has been filed against Dominion Resources Service, Inc., Dominion Transmission, Inc. and Dominion Exploration and Production, Inc.

A few weeks ago, a second suit was filed against Equitable Production Company.

The Dominion suit has been filed on behalf of all WV residents, and those from other states, who benefit from lease agreements with the company.

The first suit was filed in 2003 against Columbia Natural Resources, and grew to include about 10,000 plaintiffs.

Roane county producer Roy G. Hildreth, Jr., who has been in the production business for 60 years, told Spencer Newspapers the suits could give the county (Roane) a back-eye.

"A lot of companies may shy away from Roane County," he said. Hildreth, who may be one of the county's largest royalty holders, opted not to participate in the suit.

Read earlier stories on Herald regarding these class action suits, SEARCH "Columbia" and "Equitable"


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