(05/25/2010)
By Bob Weaver

A class-action suit filed by West Virginia royalty holders in Roane County over being cheated by Chesapeake/Columbia and other natural gas producers, has produced some big cash for lawyers involved in the case.

The suit awarded the lawyers about 1/3 of the settlement at $125 million.

The WV Record says Charleston lawyers Marvin Masters and Scott Segal make $550 an hour, according to exhibits Masters submitted to federal court on May 19.

Masters, seeking fees from the settlement in the class action suit, told District Judge Joseph Goodwin he spent 1,857 hours and 15 minutes on the case.

Masters pay check at $550 an hour, would equal $1,021.487.50.

Segal reported he worked 62 hours and 16 minutes, meaning he would be paid $34,248.50.

Michael Carey, George Scott and Robert Douglas, all from Carey, Scott and Douglas, listed their rate at $300, reporting 680 hours and 18 minutes.

David Romano of Clarksburg sometimes makes more than Masters or Segal, according to the exhibits. Romano listed his rate at $350 to $800. He reported 141 hours and six minutes, says the WV Record.

Thomas Pettit of Barboursville listed his rate at $450 to $550, reporting 635 hours.

Richard Monahan of the Masters Law Firm listed his rate at $500, and he reported 270 hours and 45 minutes.

Mark Staun of the Segal Law Firm listed his rate at $450, and he reported 28 hours and 31 minutes.

The lawyers could get even more. In the settlement, Equitable allowed at least $6,250,000.

Spencer Newspapers reported last week that some of the attorneys are now the object of a suit, being accused of fraud.

A lawsuit filed in Charleston by Gaddy Engineering against Tom Lane and Bowles, Rice, McDavid, Graff and Love, claims the firm cheated them out of fees linked to the Tawney vs. Columbia case.

The case yielded a $389 million dollar settlement, with the court saying the outfits failed to pay royalty holders their share.


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