Mary Lansden Swafford v. Ovintiv Exploration Inc., et al.
Swafford v. Ovintiv Settlement
6:21-cv-00210-SPS

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • The Litigation seeks damages for Defendants’ alleged failure to properly pay royalty on gas and its constituents. Defendants expressly deny 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 the merits of any of the parties’ claims or defenses. A more complete description of the Litigation, its status, and the rulings made in the Litigation are available in the pleadings and other papers maintained by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma in the file for the Litigation. 

  • On August 3, 2021, the Court preliminarily approved a Settlement in the Litigation between Plaintiff, on behalf of itself and the Settlement Class, and Defendants. 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, Defendants have agreed to pay Nineteen Million, Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($19,500,000.00) in cash (“Gross Settlement Fund”). In exchange for the payment noted above and other consideration outlined in the Settlement Agreement, the Settlement Class shall release the Released Claims (as defined in the Settlement Agreement available for review and download at Important Documents page) against the Released Parties (as defined in the Settlement Agreement). The $19,500,000.00 cash payment is referred to as the “Gross Settlement Fund.” The Gross Settlement Fund, less Class Counsel’s Fees and Litigation Expenses and Administration, Notice, and Distribution Costs, and other costs approved by the Court (the “Net Settlement Fund”), will be distributed to Final Class Members pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Agreement.

    Class Counsel intends to seek an award of attorneys’ fees of not more than 40% of the Gross Settlement Fund. Co-Lead Counsel, Reagan E. Bradford and Ryan K. Wilson of Bradford & Wilson PLLC have been litigating this case without any payment whatsoever, advancing many thousands of dollars in expenses. At the Final Fairness Hearing, Plaintiff’s Counsel will also seek reimbursement of the litigation expenses incurred in connection with the prosecution of this Litigation and that will be incurred through final distribution of the Settlement, which will not exceed $400,000.00. In addition, Plaintiff intends to seek a case contribution award for its representation of the Class, which amount will not exceed $292,500.00, to compensate Plaintiff for the time, expense, risk and burden as serving as Class Representative.

    The Court must approve the Allocation Methodology, which describes how the Settlement Administrator will allocate the Net Settlement Fund. The Net Settlement Fund will be distributed by the Settlement Administrator after the Effective Date of the Settlement. The Effective 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 materially modifies the terms of the Settlement. If the Settlement is terminated, the Litigation will proceed as if the Settlement had not been reached.

  • The Final Fairness Hearing will be held on November 3, 2021, beginning at 2:00 p.m., before the Honorable Steven P. Shreder, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, 101 North 5th Street, Muskogee, Oklahoma 74401. Please note that the date of the Fairness Hearing is subject to change without further notice. You should check with the Court and this website to confirm no change to the date and time of the hearing has been made. At the 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 Allocation Methodology; (d) the application for Class Counsel’s Attorneys’ Fees and Litigation Expenses and Administration, Notice, and Distribution Costs; and (e) the application for a Case Contribution Award for the Class Representative.

    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 FINAL FAIRNESS HEARING OR TAKE ANY OTHER ACTION TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SETTLEMENT.

  • By taking no action, your interests will be represented by Plaintiff as the Class Representative and Plaintiff’s Counsel. As a Class Member, you will be bound by the outcome of the Settlement, if finally approved by the Court. The Class Representative and Plaintiff’s Counsel believe that the Settlement is in the best interest of the Class, and, therefore, they intend to support the proposed Settlement at the Final Fairness Hearing. As a Class Member, if you are entitled to a distribution pursuant to the Allocation Methodology, you will receive your portion of the Net Settlement Fund and you 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 Releasing Party 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 October 20, 2021, at 5 p.m. CT. All Requests for Exclusion must include: (i) the Class Member’s name, address, telephone number, and notarized signature; (ii) a statement that the Class Member wishes to be excluded from the Settlement Class in Swafford v. Ovintiv; and (iii) a description of the Class Member’s interest in any wells for which it has received payments from Defendants, including the name, well number, county in which the well is located, and the owner identification number. Requests for Exclusion must be served on the Settlement Administrator, Defendants’ Counsel, and Plaintiff’s Counsel by certified mail, return receipt requested and received no later than 5 p.m. CT on October 20, 2021. Requests for Exclusion may be mailed as follows: 

    Settlement Administrator

    Swafford-Ovintiv Settlement
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    P.O. Box 91308
    Seattle, SA 98111

    Plaintiff's Counsel

    Reagan E. Bradford
    Ryan K. Wilson
    Bradford & Wilson PLLC
    431 W. Main Street, Suite D
    Oklahoma City, OK 73102

    Defendants' Counsel

    Craig L. Stahl
    Haynes and Boone, LLP
    10001 Woodloch Forest Dr., Suite 200
    The Woodlands, Texas 77380

    Michelle P. Scheffler
    Haynes and Boone, LLP
    1221 McKinney Street, Suite 4000
    Houston, Texas 77010

    If you do not follow these procedures—including mailing the Request for Exclusion so that it is received by the deadline set out above—you will not be excluded from the Settlement Class(es), 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 during the Claim Period. 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.

  • Any Class Member who wishes to object to the fairness, reasonableness, or adequacy of the Settlement, any term of the Settlement, the Allocation Methodology, the Plan of Allocation, the request for Plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees and Litigation Expenses, or the request for a Case Contribution Award to Class Representative may file an objection. An objector must file with the Court and serve upon Class Counsel and Defendants’ Counsel a written objection containing the following: (a) a heading referring to Swafford v. Ovintiv; (b) a statement as to whether the objector intends to appear at the Final Fairness Hearing, either in person or through counsel, and, if through counsel, counsel must be identified by name, address, and telephone number; (c) a detailed statement of the specific legal and factual basis for each and every objection; (d) a list of any witnesses the objector may call at the Final 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 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Federal Rules of Evidence, and the Local Rules of the Court); (e) a list of and copies of any exhibits the objector may seek to use at the Final Fairness Hearing; (f) a list of any legal authority the objector may present at the Final Fairness Hearing; (g) the objector’s name, current address, current telephone number, and all owner identification numbers with Defendants; (h) the objector’s signature executed before a Notary Public; (i) identification of the objector’s interest in wells with Defendants (by well name, payee well number, and county in which the well is located) during the Claim Period and identification of any payments by date of payment, date of production, and amount; and (j) if the objector is objecting to any portion of the Plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees or Litigation Expenses sought by Class Counsel on the basis that the amounts requested are unreasonably high, the objector must specifically state the portion of Plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees and/or Litigation Expenses he/she believes is fair and reasonable and the portion that is not. Such written objections must be filed with the Court and served on Plaintiff’s Counsel and Defendants’ Counsel, via certified mail return receipt requested, and received no later than 5 p.m. CT by October 20, 2021, at the addresses set forth in FAQ 5 above. Any Class Member that fails to timely file the written objection statement and provide the required information will not be permitted to present any objections at the Final Fairness Hearing. Your written objection must be timely filed with the Court at the address below:

    Clerk of the Court
    United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma
    101 North 5th Street
    Muskogee, OK 74401

    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 FINAL FAIRNESS HEARING.

  • You have the right to retain your own attorney to represent you at the Final 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 its 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:

    Swafford-Ovintiv
    c/o JND Legal Administration, Settlement Administrator
    P.O. Box 91308
    Seattle, WA 98111

    In addition, the pleadings and other papers filed in this Action, including the Settlement Agreement, are available for inspection in at the Office of the Clerk of the Court at address in FAQ 6, and may be obtained by the Clerk’s office directly. The records are also available online for a fee through the PACER service at www.pacer.gov/.

    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
Swafford v. Ovintiv
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91308,
Seattle, WA 98111