Smith Family, LLC v. ConocoPhillips Settlement Website

ConocoPhillips Settlement FAQs

  1. What is this lawsuit about?
  2. How do I know if I am part of the Class?
  3. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?
  4. Do I have to come to the Hearing?
  5. How do I tell the Court if I don’t like the settlement?
  6. How do I get out of the settlement?
  7. How Do I file a Claim as the Former Owner if the Current Owner has Opted out?
  8. How Do I Dispute an Allocation of Settlement Payment to a Current Owner?
  9. How do I get more information?
  1. What is this lawsuit about?

    This suit alleges that COP underpaid owners of royalty and overriding royalty interests in coal seam or coalbed methane gas (CBM) produced from the Fruitland formation in the San Juan Basin in New Mexico and burdening oil and gas leases held by COP. Plaintiff further alleges that COP improperly deducted certain costs and expenses associated with placing  CBM in marketable condition before calculating royalties and overriding royalties and improperly and unjustly underpaid such royalties and overriding royalties to Plaintiff and other similarly situated royalty and overriding royalty owners from December 22, 1997 until December 31, 2015 (Class Period) and did so without properly disclosing the deductions.

    Each Current Owner and certain Former Owners of the Class Members’ royalties and overriding royalties for CBM from the Fruitland formation in the San Juan Basin during the Class Period who did not opt out of the Class and whose portion of the Net Settlement Amount as calculated herein is equal to ten dollars ($10) or more is eligible to receive a distribution from the Settlement Amount.

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  2. How do I know if I am part of the Class?

    You are a Class Member if you are a Former or Current Owners of royalty and overriding royalty interests, which have at any time between December 22, 1997 and December 31, 2015 burdened ConocoPhillips Company’s, Phillips-San Juan Partnership’s, or Phillips-New Mexico Partnership’s working interests in the units, leases, and wells which are now or have been productive of coal bed methane gas from the Fruitland coal formation underlying New Mexico lands, whether now or formerly owned or operated by ConocoPhillips Company, Phillips-San Juan Partnership, or Phillips-New Mexico Partnership.

    Excluded from the Settlement Class are the following:
    (a) the Defendant and its affiliates;
    (b) the United States of America;
    (c) the State of New Mexico;
    (d) all Indian Nations and Tribes;
    (e) all individual Native American or Indian lessors;
    (f) The “Florance” interests in the Heritage Conoco properties; and
    (g) The “Hagood” interests in the Heritage Phillips properties.

    

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  3. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?

    The Final Fairness Hearing will be held on August 31, 2017, at 9:00 p.m. before the Honorable Francis Mathew, in his courtroom at the First Judicial District Court, 225 Montezuma Ave., Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504.

    Note:  The Court may postpone or adjourn the Final Fairness Hearing further notice to the Class.  If you plan to attend the Hearing, please call the Court first to confirm the date and time.

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  4. Do I have to come to the Hearing?

    No, Class members who want to remain in the Class do not need to appear at the hearing or take any other action to indicate their approval of the Settlement because Class Counsel will represent the Eligible Class Members. However, members of the Class wishing to be heard orally in opposition to the Settlement must appear and must indicate in their written Objections their intention to appear at the hearing to be heard orally according to the instructions in FAQ 5.

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  5. How do I tell the Court if I don’t like the settlement?

    If you want to object to the Settlement, here is what you must do:

    (A) Prepare a written objection.  The objection must contain:
    (1) You full name, address, and daytime telephone number;
    (2) A detailed statement of your objection, including any legal or factual grounds you want the Court to consider; a copy of any document or other evidence you want the Court to consider with regard to the objection; if you want the Court to consider the opinion or testimony of any witnesses, you must include the name, address, and telephone number of the witness and a summary of his or her anticipated opinion or testimony;
    (3) A statement that you have not elected to opt-out of the Class; and
    (4) Your Signature.

    (B) Mail your objection, postmarked no later than August 16, 2017 to:
    (1) Class Counsel, Peifer, Hanson & Mullins, P.A., Attn: COP Settlement, P.O. Box 25245, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87125; and
    (2) COP’s Counsel, Robert J. Sutphin, Jr., Holland & Hart LLP, Attn: COP Settlement, P.O. Box 2208, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504.

    Note:  If your objection is not postmarked on or before August 16, 2017 it may not be considered by the Court.

    If you are not represented by a lawyer and want to appear and address the Court at the Final Fairness Hearing on the Settlement, you must file with the Clerk of the Court a “Notice of Intent to Appear” and mail a copy to Class Counsel and COP’s Counsel at the above addresses no later than August 16, 2017. 

    Additional information regarding objecting to the Settlement can be found in the Notice on page 9.

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  6. How do I get out of the settlement?

    Each Class Member who did not receive the August 2, 2010 or March 27, 2015 Notice of Class Action has the option to opt out of this Class.   If you did not receive either of those notices and Class Counsel’s records do not show that you were mailed the Notice of Class Action, you may submit a request to opt out of the Class and Settlement. 

    You must inform Class Counsel of your choice to opt out in writing postmarked no later than August 16, 2017.  You must specify the name and address of the Class Member that elects to be excluded from the Class and certify that you did not receive the Notice of Class Action.  However, if Class Counsel’s records show that you were mailed the Class Notice sent on August 2, 2010 or March 27, 2015, your request to opt out will not be valid.
    Submit your request Opt-out so that it is postmarked on or before August 16, 2017 to:

    Peifer, Hanson & Mullins, P.A.
    Attn: COP Settlement
    P.O. Box 25245
    Albuquerque, New Mexico 87125  

    If you request to be excluded, you will not have the right to object to the settlement or to the distribution of Settlement Fund to Current Owners.

    Additional information regarding opting-out of this Settlement can be found in the Notice on page 11. 

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  7. How Do I file a Claim as the Former Owner if the Current Owner has Opted out?

    This applies only to Former Owners where the Current Owner of your previously held royalty or overriding royalty interest opted-out of the class.  View the list of opt-outs .

    If you want make a claim for distribution of the settlement funds attributable to the time you were an owner, there are very specific things you will need to do. 

    A. Send a notice that you intend to make a claim on the settlement payments attributable to the time you were an owner that would have gone to the Current Owner had the Current Owner not opted-out by no later than July 6, 2017.  The notice must include:
    1. Your full name, address, and daytime telephone number;
    2. Documents or other evidence sufficient to identify the Subject Royalty Interest as to which you were a Prior Owner, evidence of your prior ownership (including your prior ownership ID number, a legal description of the property or wells in which you held a royalty or overriding royalty interest and evidence of the period of your prior ownership), information identifying the Current Owner who opted-out of the Class and proof that you did not relinquish your right to recover royalty underpayments during your time of ownership when you passed title to your royalty interest to your successor; and
    3. Your Signature.
    B. Mail your notice, so that it is postmarked on or before July 6, 2017 to:
    1. The Settlement Administrator: Ideal v. Burlington Resources Settlement Administrator, P.O. Box 43034, Providence, RI 02940-3034 and to:
    2. Class Counsel, Peifer, Hanson & Mullins, P.A., Attn: COP Settlement, P.O. Box 25245, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87125; and
    3. COP’s Counsel, Robert J. Sutphin, Jr., Holland & Hart LLP, Attn: Burlington Settlement, P.O. Box 2208, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504.

    Note:  If your notice is not postmarked on or before July 6, 2017 it may not be considered.

    

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  8. How Do I Dispute an Allocation of Settlement Payment to a Current Owner?

    This option is for Former Owners only. If you want to dispute allocation of a settlement payment to a Current Owner on a Subject Royalty Interest for which you are a Former Owner, you must:

    A. Send a notice of intention to dispute allocation of a settlement payment solely to the Current Owner(s) so that it is postmarked on or before July 6, 2017, to the Settlement Administrator.  The notice must include:
    1. Your full name, address, and daytime telephone number;
    2. Documents or other evidence sufficient to identify the Subject Royalty Interest as to which you were a Prior Owner, the dates of your prior ownership, the past royalty or overriding royalty to which you assert you are entitled, and the legal basis for the objection, including proof that you did not relinquish your right to recover royalty underpayments during your time of ownership when you passed title to your royalty interest to your successor; and
    3. Your Signature.
    B. Mail your notice, postmarked on or before July 6, 2017 to:
    1. The Settlement Administrator: Smith Family, LLC v ConocoPhillips Co.Settlement Administrator, P.O. Box 43034, Providence, RI 02940-3034; and
    2. Class Counsel, Peifer, Hanson & Mullins, P.A., Attn: COP Settlement, P.O. Box 25245, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87125; and
    3. COP’s Counsel, Robert J. Sutphin, Jr., Holland & Hart LLP, Attn: Burlington Settlement, P.O. Box 2208, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504.

    Note:  If your notice is not postmarked on or before July 6, 2017 it may not be considered.

    The Settlement Administrator will then send you and the relevant Current Owner(s) instructions for filing documents in support of or opposition to the objection.  You must comply with the deadlines in the instructions. Neither you nor the Current Owner at issue need to hire a lawyer, but you can if you want to.  If you hire a lawyer, you are responsible for paying your lawyer.  If a Current Owner hires a lawyer, they are responsible for paying their lawyer.

    

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  9. How do I get more information?

    If you have additional questions, you may contact the Claims Administrator at 866-680-6120. You can view a copy of the Settlement Agreement and Notice on this website.

    You may also request the full Settlement and pleadings filed in this lawsuit, in writing, from Class Counsel, or they can be viewed at the office of the Clerk of the First Judicial District Court, 225 Montezuma Street, Santa Fe, NM  87501.

    

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