A total of 33 Columbiana County landowners in five townships have filed a lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy and its subsidiary, CHK Utica.
The suit was filed Feb. 27 in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.
The landowners are from Wayne, Butler, West, Hanover and Salem townships and the suit involved about 3,000 acres.
The suit also names two land agents and three notary publics as defendants in the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs say they got less than fair market value for their land.
The suit claims Anschutz Exploration Corp. was extremely active in the area between 2008 and 2010, signing many lease agreements. Many of the landowners were signed to leases and received less than 1 percent of the fair market value compared to current signing bonuses being paid in Columbiana County, the suit says.
Chesapeake later obtained the leases in a deal with Anschutz.
The lawsuit alleges the lease transfers were improper, without proper notarization and ineligible to be recorded in Columbiana County.
The suit seeks to have the Chesapeake leases cancelled and damages awarded to the landowners.
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
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The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
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Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.