Monday, September 16, 2013

District court denies motion to dismiss in leasing dispute

On August 13, 2013, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania denied Statoil’s motion to dismiss and granted a discretionary extension of time to effectuate service because Valley Rod & Gun Club demonstrated good cause for failing to serve Statoil in the pending lease dispute. Valley Rod & Gun Club v. Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC, 2013 WL 4083897 (M.D. Pa. Aug. 13, 2013). The plaintiff, Valley Rod, argued that it had properly served Statoil because it was a joint venture with Anadarko (another defendant to the action), or, alternatively, Anadarko was Statoil’s authorized agent and accepted service on Statoil’s behalf. The court found that the lease language referenced by the plaintiff suggested all three entities were not in a joint venture or partnership because it used the language “now owned by” followed by the information for all three companies. Further, the court found that plaintiff failed to establish Anadarko was Statoil’s authorized agent because no writing was offered on the record to evidence that relationship. The court denied the motion to dismiss, however, because Statoil had actual notice of the pending legal action. It instead issued a discretionary extension of time to effectuate service that granted Valley Rod & Gun Club an additional 30 days to serve Statoil.

Written by: Garrett Lent, Research Assistant
Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center
September 2013

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