Cooper Clark Foundation v. Oxy U.S. Inc.
Cooper-Oxy Settlement
2016-CV-000039

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • Plaintiffs Cooper Clark Foundation and Philip Fink (“Plaintiffs”) allege in the Litigation that Oxy USA, Inc. breached an implied covenant to market in the underlying leases by taking deductions from royalties and not basing royalty payments on the highest arms’-length sales price.

    Defendant expressly denies all allegations of wrongdoing or liability with respect to the claims and allegations in the Litigation. The Court has made no determination with respect to any of the parties’ claims or defenses. A more complete description of the Litigation, its status, and the rulings made in the Litigation is available in the pleadings and other papers maintained by the District Court of Grant County, Kansas, located at 108 S. Glenn, Ulysses, KS 67880, in the file for Case No. 2016-CV-39.

  • On September 29, 2021, the Court preliminarily approved a Settlement in the Litigation between Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and the Settlement Class, and Defendant. The approval and the Notice are not an expression of opinion by the Court as to the merits of any of the claims or defenses asserted by any of the parties to the Litigation, or of whether the Court will ultimately approve the Settlement Agreement.

    In settlement of all claims alleged in the Litigation, Defendant has agreed to pay Seven Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($7,500,000.00) in cash (“Gross Settlement Fund”). In exchange for the payment noted above, the Settlement Class shall release the Released Claims against and with respect to the Released Parties. The Gross Settlement Fund, less Class Counsel’s Fees and Expenses, Administration Expenses, any case contribution awards to Class Representatives, and other costs approved by the Court (the “Net Settlement Fund”), will be distributed to Class Members.

    Counsel for Plaintiffs (“Class Counsel”) intends to seek an award of attorneys’ fees of not more than 40% of the Gross Settlement Fund. Plaintiffs’ Counsel, Rex A. Sharp and Scott B. Goodger of Sharp Law, LLP, have been litigating the Released Claims in various courts without any payment whatsoever, advancing thousands of dollars in expenses, for almost a decade. At the Settlement Fairness Hearing, Plaintiffs’ Counsel will also seek reimbursement of expenses incurred in connection with the prosecution of the Released Claims, to be paid out of the Gross Settlement Fund. In addition, the Class Representatives intend to seek a Case Contribution Award for their representation of the Class, which amount will not exceed one percent of the Gross Settlement Fund, to compensate them for the time, expense, risk, and burden of serving as Class Representatives.

    The Court must approve the Plan of Allocation and Distribution, which describes how the Settlement Administrator will allocate the Net Settlement Fund to each Class Well based on the production of each well compared to the total production volume. Thereafter, subject to approval by the Court, the Settlement Administrator will allocate the Net Settlement Fund for each Class Well among all Class Members in that Class Well based on their royalty decimal interest in that Class Well.

    The Settlement Administrator will distribute the Net Settlement Fund within forty-five (45) days of the Settlement becoming Final and Unappealable. This Date requires the exhaustion of any appeals, which may take a year or more after the entry of Judgment. The Settlement may be terminated on several grounds, including if the Court does not approve or modifies the terms of the Settlement. If the Settlement is terminated, the Litigation will proceed as if the Settlement had not been reached.

  • The Settlement Fairness Hearing will be held on December 8, 2021, beginning at 1:30 p.m., before the Honorable Bradley Ambrosier, District Court Judge of Grant County, Kansas, 108 S. Glenn, Ulysses, KS 67880. Please note that the date of the Settlement Fairness Hearing is subject to change without further notice. You should check this website to confirm no change to the date and time of the hearing has been made.

    At the Settlement Fairness Hearing, the Court will consider: (a) whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate; (b) any timely and properly raised objections to the Settlement; (c) the Initial Plan of Allocation and Distribution; and (d) the application for Class Counsel’s Fees and Expenses and case contribution awards for Class Representatives relating to their representation of the Class.

    A CLASS MEMBER WHO WISHES TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SETTLEMENT AND DOES NOT SUBMIT A VALID REQUEST FOR EXCLUSION DOES NOT NEED TO APPEAR AT THE SETTLEMENT FAIRNESS HEARING OR TAKE ANY OTHER ACTION TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SETTLEMENT.

  • By taking no action, your interests will be represented by Plaintiffs as the Class Representatives and Class Counsel. The Class Representatives and Class Counsel believe that the Settlement is in the best interest of the Class, and, therefore, they intend to support the proposed Settlement at the Settlement Fairness Hearing. As a Class Member, if you are entitled to a distribution pursuant to the Plan of Allocation and Distribution, you will receive your portion of the Net Settlement Fund and will be bound by the Settlement Agreement and all orders and judgments entered by the Court regarding the Settlement. If the Settlement is approved, unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, neither you nor any other Class Member that participates in the Settlement will be able to start a lawsuit or arbitration, continue a lawsuit or arbitration, or be part of any other lawsuit against any of the Released Parties based on any of the Released Claims. 

  • If you do not wish to be a member of the Settlement Class, then you must exclude yourself from the Settlement Class by mailing by certified mail, return receipt requested, a Request for Exclusion to the Settlement Administrator to be received by November 23, 2021, at 5 p.m. CT. Your Request for Exclusion must state your name, address, telephone number, email address, and contain your notarized signature. It must also include the following:

    1. A statement that you want to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class in Cooper Clark Foundation v. Oxy USA, Inc., Case No. 2016-CV-39, in the District Court of Grant County, Kansas, and that you understand it will be your responsibility to pursue any claims you may have, if you so desire, on your own and at your expense.
    2. A description of your interest in a Kansas well (or wells) where Defendant was the operator or, as a non-operator, Defendant separately marketed gas, including the well name, well number, county in which the well is located, and the owner identification number.

    If you do not follow these procedures—including mailing the Request for Exclusion so that the Settlement Administrator receives it by the deadline set out above—you will not be excluded from the Settlement Class, and you will be bound by all of the orders and judgments entered by the Court regarding the Settlement, including the release of claims. You must exclude yourself even if you already have a pending case against any of the Released Parties based upon any Released Claims. You cannot exclude yourself on the website, by telephone, facsimile, or by e-mail. If you validly request exclusion as described above, you will not receive any distribution from the Net Settlement Fund, you cannot object to the Settlement, and you will not have released any claim against the Released Parties. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in the Litigation.

  • You have the right to remain a Class Member but still object to the proposed Settlement and any terms thereof. To object to the Settlement, Initial Plan of Allocation and Distribution, and/or application for Class Counsel’s Fees and Expenses or case contribution award to Plaintiffs, you must file your written statement with the Court.

    Your written objection statement must contain:

    1. A heading referring to Cooper Clark Foundation v. Oxy USA, Inc., Case No. 2016-CV-39 and to the District Court of Grant County, Kansas;
    2. A statement as to whether the objector intends to appear at the Settlement Fairness Hearing, either in person or through counsel, and, if through counsel, providing the name, address, email address, and telephone number of counsel;
    3. A detailed statement of the specific legal and factual basis for each and every objection;
    4. A list of any witnesses the objector wishes to call at the Settlement Fairness Hearing, together with a brief summary of each witness’s expected testimony (to the extent the objector desires to offer expert testimony and/or an expert report, any such evidence must fully comply with the Kansas Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules of the Court);
    5. A list of and copies of any exhibits the objector may seek to use at the Settlement Fairness Hearing;
    6. A list of any legal authority the objector may present at the Settlement Fairness Hearing;
    7. The objector’s name, address, email address, telephone number, and all royalty owner identification numbers with Defendant;
    8. The objector’s signature executed before a Notary Public;
    9. A description of your interest in a Kansas well (or wells) where Defendant was the operator or, as a non-operator, Defendant separately marketed gas, including the well name, well number, county in which the well is located, and the owner identification number; and
    10. If the objector is objecting to any portion of Plaintiffs’ Attorneys’ Fees, Litigation Expenses, or Case Contribution Award, the objector must specifically state the portion of Attorneys’ Fees, Litigation Expenses, and/or Case Contribution Award (whichever applies to the objection) that he/she believes is fair and reasonable and the portion that is not.

    Your written objection must be timely filed with the Court at the address below no later than 5 p.m. CT on November 23, 2021:

    Clerk of the Court
    District Court of Grant County, Kansas
    108 S. Glenn
    Ulysses, Kansas 67880

    UNLESS OTHERWISE ORDERED BY THE COURT, ANY SETTLEMENT CLASS MEMBER WHO DOES NOT OBJECT IN THE MANNER DESCRIBED HEREIN WILL BE DEEMED TO HAVE WAIVED ANY OBJECTION AND SHALL BE FOREVER FORECLOSED FROM MAKING ANY OBJECTON TO THE SETTLEMENT (OR ANY PART THEREOF) AND WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO PRESENT ANY OBJECTIONS AT THE SETTLEMENT FAIRNESS HEARING OR ON APPEAL. 

  • You have the right to retain your own attorney to represent you at the Settlement Fairness Hearing. If you retain separate counsel, you will be responsible to pay his or her fees and expenses out of your own pocket.

  • The Notice summarizes the Settlement Agreement, which sets out all of the terms. You may obtain a copy of the Settlement Agreement with its exhibits, as well as other relevant documents, from the Important Documents page, or you may request copies by contacting the Settlement Administrator at following address:

    Cooper Clark Foundation v. Oxy USA
    c/o JND Legal Administration,
    P.O. Box 91345
    Seattle, WA 98111

    In addition, the pleadings and other papers filed in the Litigation, including the Settlement Agreement, are available for inspection at the Office of the Clerk of the Court, at address in FAQ 6, If you have any questions about the Notice, you may consult an attorney of your own choosing at your own expense or Class Counsel.

     

    PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE JUDGE OR THE COURT CLERK ASKING FOR INFORMATION REGARDING THE NOTICE.

For More Information

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Mail
Cooper-Oxy Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91345
Seattle, WA 98111