Chesapeake Energy reached a settlement with some parties in its lawsuit alleging that former CEO Aubrey McClendon improperly took company data in 2013 when he was fired.
American Energy-Utica Llc. said Tuesday that it and John Doe Investors 1-20 have been dismissed from the lawsuit and are no longer parties. In exchange, American Energy-Utica agreed to give Chesapeake about 6,000 acres in Northern Harrison County, Ohio, and up to $25 million.
American Energy-Utica also said McClendon is no longer an officer at the company.
Chesapeake’s lawsuit is still ongoing against American Energy Partners L.P. and other parties, the statement said.
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A Chesapeake spokesman declined to comment.
McClendon and American Energy Partners, however, took issue with American Energy-Utica’s characterization of the settlement. In a news release, McClendon and AEP said that he didn’t approve the settlement and that neither he nor AEP was advised about its terms.
American Energy-Utica “apparently chose to settle with Chesapeake before any discovery was taken, evidently for the business purpose of mitigating further damage that Chesapeake’s litigation has been having on AEU’s business and financing activities,” the news release said. “AEU has the right to resolve the case in this fashion, but this resolution should not be mistaken as reflecting an informed view of the merits of Chesapeake’s claims or a concession of any liability by any party to Chesapeake.”
The statement said McClendon remains a director of American Energy-Utica’s parent company. It said he remains chairman or CEO of American Energy-Permian Basin Llc.; American Energy-Woodford Llc.; American Energy-NonOp Llc.; American Energy-Midstream Llc.; and American Energy Minerals Holdings Llc.
Chesapeake filed the lawsuit in February, claiming that McClendon’s new companies and his investors illegally benefited from information that McClendon took when he left Chesapeake.
McClendon has said he has a legal right to data included as part of the Founders Well Participation Program, a unique perk that allowed him to participate in every well drilled by Chesapeake. McClendon receives information on more than 16,000 wells drilled and operated by Chesapeake.