U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of WV EQT Royalty Case

The United States Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal of an important West Virginia case, which means the current ruling stands that allows EQT and other drillers to deduct “reasonable” post-production expenses from landowner royalty checks. It is a victory for drillers and a blow to some landowners. How did we get here? A brief history: Last December MDN reported on the huge WV Supreme Court decision against EQT that disallows 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). In February this year, with a brand new justice on the bench, the WV Supreme Court agreed to rehear the case after an appeal filed by EQT–a rare and unusual step (see EQT Catches Big Break in WV Supreme Court re Royalty Deductions). In May the WV Supreme Court ruled on the reheard case, overturning its previous decision from last December. The court ruled to allow EQT to deduct “reasonable” post-production expenses (see WV Supreme Court Reverses Itself, Post-Production Deductions OK). Those who won the original case (and lost the reheard case) say newly elected Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Walker had conflicts of interest and should not have been allowed to vote to rehear the case in the first place (which she did). On that basis, they tried to avoid the rehearing altogether, but that failed. Newly elected Justice Walker, with (according to the losing side) conflicts of interest, voted in favor of EQT. On the basis that Walker should not have been part of the process at all, the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in September (see Lawyers ask US Supreme Court to Hear WV EQT Royalty Case). On Monday, with no explanation, the Supremes denied the request for an appeal…

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