Last month attorneys suing one of the nation's largest energy companies had their first victory in a long line of cases related to hydrofracking in Michigan. Two years ago land owners across the region were receiving record sums of money in exchange for the right to drill for oil and gas in a deep shale formation that had been untouched until then. But more than 100 landowners now say they were cheated when Chesapeake Energy walked away from their agreements.
Last month a judge in Charlevoix County agreed, in one of the cases and a family trust was awarded more than $78,000. Another case had been thrown out this summer but many more await their day in court. Most of the plaintiffs accuse Chesapeake of conspiring to defraud them.
An investigative report from Reuters last week details how Chesapeake did business through a string of front companies, some created by Chesapeake, but now claims it has not done any business in Michigan.