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Showdown looms in U.S. case over Va. gas royalties

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Posted: Monday, September 9, 2013 12:00 am

Lawsuits accusing two energy companies of cheating Southwest Virginia landowners out of royalty payments for natural gas siphoned from coal seams are headed to a showdown that could dramatically expand the scope of the legal action.

U.S. District Judge James P. Jones will consider a recommendation Thursday from U.S. Magistrate Judge Pamela Meade Sargent that four lawsuits be certified as class actions representing thousands of property owners who have had the methane gas extracted from their land. Jones, who will hear arguments in Abingdon, is not expected to rule immediately.

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