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Cuccinelli Deputizes Republican Party of VA to Advocate for Companies and against Landowners

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From the Democratic Party of Virginia: 
 
Today the Republican Party of Virginia held a conference call to try and distract from the growing scandal around Ken Cuccinelli's office's direct assistance to two gas companies in a lawsuit against Virginia taxpayers over unpaid mining royalties. 

During that call, a Republican Party of Virginia spokesman attacked Senator Puckett for his support of the landowners' efforts to file their suit as a class action, a move the companies oppose and which Cuccinelli's office advised the companies on how to avoid in court. 

As the Washington Post reported, the spokesman “suggested that by supporting a bid by southwest Virginia landowners to create a class action in federal court over the dispute — a legal maneuver that Shipley noted was led by out-of-state attorneys — the case could drag on even longer, allowing the bank to keep the escrow money on its books.”

DPVA spokesman Brian Coy responded to more Republicans siding against taxpayers saying, “It's a shame that Ken Cuccinelli has deputized the Republican Party of Virginia to support his attacks on Virginia taxpayers seeking a class action lawsuit against energy companies over unpaid mining royalties. Virginians deserve an Attorney General who fights for them, not one who backs his campaign donors in lawsuits against them.”

Background:

Judge’s Recommendation to Allow Series of Class Action Lawsuits, Could Help Thousands of Landowners “Cheated” Out of Millions in Royalties. In June 2013, the Bristol Herald Courier reported, “A jury might one day get to decide whether energy companies cheated thousands of Southwest Virginia landowners out of millions of dollars in natural gas royalties, thanks to a federal magistrate judge’s recommendation to allow a series of class-action lawsuits. For nearly three years, lawyers representing a handful of landowners have battled in federal court for the right to challenge CNX Gas and EQT Production in five class-action lawsuits intended to draw in an untold number of plaintiffs from across the region.” [Bristol Herald Courier, 6/6/13]


Attorney for the Landowners Called Ruling a “Blowout Win.” Landowner representative Don Barrett stated, “This is a blowout win by the plaintiffs … and a huge and stinging defeat for the big energy companies … which have been cheating these royalty owners for decades.” [Bristol Herald Courier, 6/6/13]


Attorney for One of the Natural Gas Companies Objected. The Bristol Herald Courier reported, “EQT already plans to file objections, said company spokeswoman Linda Robertson. ‘While we are pleased with some parts of the recommendation, others we disagree with and plan to ask the judge to reject those parts of the recommendation,’ she wrote in an email.” [Bristol Herald Courier, 6/6/13]