WV Supreme Court Justice: EQT Royalty Ruling “Legal Sophistry”

Last December the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled in a case to disallow Marcellus driller EQT from deducting post-production expenses from royalty checks, even with signed contracts in place (see WV Supreme Court Rules EQT Can’t Deduct P-P Costs from Royalties). The justices, in their ruling, said that drillers can “not deduct from that (royalty) amount any expenses that have been incurred in gathering, transporting or treating the oil or gas after it has been initially extracted, any sums attributable to a loss or beneficial use of volume beyond that initially measured or any other costs that may be characterized as post-production.” Last week, just five months later, four of five justices (including a newly elected judge) reversed their December decision (see WV Supreme Court Reverses Itself, Post-Production Deductions OK). The lone judge voting against the decision was Robin Jean Davis. Yesterday she released her dissenting opinion. In very strong language, Judge Davis said the court’s other four members “used legal sophistry” to prop up their decision, and that “the majority opinion is simply wrong.” Here’s what else Judge Davis had to say…

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