Interesting fracking family story

Pete Thomas

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My wife, the good professor, just received a letter from a US lawyer.

It seems when her grandpappy (BW) gambled away the family fortune in the 1920s (basically a load of mines in Virginia) he sold one of them along with the timber and coal rights, as they did in those days)

Cut forward to the 21st century the now owners of the mine found gas and started fracking it out.

So it seems the company's lawyers just noticed their mineral rights did not cover gas, so basically although BW sold the mine, his heirs technically still own the rights to the fracking shale gas underneath.

They put all the profits made from said gas in escrow, and they have offered a (smaller) sum as a buyout to the heirs (six of them including my wife).

The lawyer of the heirs is advising take the money. If they (fight it in court (for the full sum) and lose, they will get nothing and probably end up with an hefty legal bill (remember they will be fighting mine owners' big boy lawyers)

On ethical grounds my wife would not fight anyway for fracking profits.

Over to John Grisham eh?
 
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Pete Thomas

Pete Thomas

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It seems that if any one of the six heirs decides to fight for the full amount of fracking profits and loses, then they all lose.
 

Targa

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Don't fight for more money take out an injunction or whatever it is to stop them fracking and stealing what isn't theirs.
They'd be losing profits while fighting that and it might make them up the offer.
Unfortunately probably won't stop it permanently.
 
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Pete Thomas

Pete Thomas

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Don't fight for more money take out an injunction or whatever it is to stop them fracking and stealing what isn't theirs.
They'd be losing profits while fighting that and it might make them up the offer.
Unfortunately probably won't stop it permanently.
If only. But that is the same as fighting to retain the rights.

They would probably win. Their profits are in escrow now, but they have the bigger lawyers.
 

Jazzaferri

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It seems like there is little choice for the "little" people in the USA. I think the lawyers advice is for the best. Unless some top level legal firm would take on the case for a piece of the pie rather than fees and costs the chances are that the legal fees would be as much or more than the amount in question
 

Phil

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They can make it drag on in court for years...until they are done.

Id take the money and if it bothered me Id donate some to environmental causes that give companies like them a headache!
 
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Pete Thomas

Pete Thomas

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You shouldn't have to face moral dilemmas like this, Pete.
Turn over the rights to me and I will deal with this for you.

For a small fee, of course....
Well the issue is not that the rights definitely exist, more that if you attempt to claim those rights in court, there is a better chance that you will lose and pay costs of potentially millions of dollars.

If you can afford the kind of lawyer who can feasibly fight this (and you still pay them when you lose) then good luck to you.

If you want to talk about buying the rights then I'm sure we could start negotiations for that "small fee", say £100,000

Paypal friends and family obviously :)
 

Jazzaferri

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Hmnmm….that reminds me of a real estate deal in Phoenix that we were looking at. My partner said he had some Wall street guy for the deal and the fee was ONLY $50,000. It sounded like a good deal so I confirmed that they would commit to the funding for that. The answer was "Oh NO...thats what we charge just to look at your numbers."
 
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Pete Thomas

Pete Thomas

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Remember Bleak House. The only winners in a protracted dispute will be the lawyers.
In this case the lawyer is recommending to settle. They will be getting probably 30% either way so presumably they see the settlement as more realistic in this case.
 

saxyjt

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In any case, the richest come out richer and the poorest come out poorer! :confused2:
 
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