Colorado Royalty Litigation: 20 Dismissed Cases − Is There A Good-Faith Basis For Filing Such Cases In District Court?

Author:Mr L. Poe Leggette and Alexander K. Obrecht
Profession:BakerHostetler
 
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On April 24, 2018, Colorado state district courts solidified judicial recognition of the Colorado General Assembly's delegation of primary jurisdiction to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (Commission) over royalty underpayment disputes. Two judges of the District Court for the City and County of Denver dismissed royalty underpayment lawsuits for failure to exhaust administrative remedies before the Commission.

These decisions are significant because one judge vacated his prior ruling in the same case that had denied a substantively similar motion to dismiss, and the other judge had previously denied a similar motion to dismiss in a different case.

On March 23, 2018, we wrote on the evolution of Colorado royalty litigation and exhaustion of administrative remedies before the Commission. At that time, 13 Colorado district court opinions had granted motions to dismiss royalty underpayment claims for failure to exhaust remedies before the Commission, and four opinions had denied similar motions. In the ensuing months, courts have issued seven additional opinions granting motions to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Because one judge vacated his prior denial, the tally now stands at 20 dismissals and three denials:

Cases Dismissed

Richard & Mary Jolley Family LLLP v. Bill Barrett Corp., No. 2014CV30330 (Colo. Dist. Ct., Garfield Cty., Feb. 12, 2015)1 Miller Land & Cattle Co. v. Bill Barrett Corp., No. 2016CV30102 (Colo. Dist. Ct., Garfield Cty., March 6, 2017), cert. denied (Dec. 4, 2017) Airport Land Partners, Ltd. v. Antero Res. Corp., No. 2016CV30259 (Colo. Dist. Ct., Garfield Cty., July 31, 2017) Limbach v. Antero Res. Corp., No. 2016CV30263 (Colo. Dist. Ct., Garfield Cty., July 31, 2017) Shidelerosa v. Antero Res. Corp., No. 2016CV30280 (Colo. Dist. Ct., Garfield Cty., Aug. 16, 2017) Shuster v. Antero Res. Corp., No. 2016CV30049 (Colo. Dist. Ct., Garfield Cty., Aug. 16, 2017) Casey v. Antero Res. Corp., No. 2017CV30071 (Colo. Dist. Ct., Garfield Cty., Aug. 17, 2017) Freeman Invs. v. Bill Barrett Corp., No. 2017CV32667 (Colo. Dist. Ct., Denver City & Cty., Nov. 6, 2017) McClintock & Nikoloric LLC v. Bill Barrett Corp., No. 2017CV34092 (Colo. Dist. Ct., Denver City & Cty., Dec. 20, 2017) Daniels Petroleum Co. v. Antero Res. Corp., No. 2016CV30265 (Colo. Dist. Ct., Garfield Cty., Jan. 19, 2018) Energy Invs., Inc. v. Antero Res. Corp., No. 2016CV30261 (Colo. Dist. Ct., Garfield Cty., Jan. 19, 2018)...

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