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Jeter v. Bullseye Energy Inc.
United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
June 22, 2019
KEVIN JETER, JOE A. JETER, BARBARA LUCAS, JAMES H. MILLER, SHARON RIGSBY MILLER, LARRY SMITH, JANICE SUE PARKER, individually and as Class Representatives on Behalf of All Similarly-Situated Persons, Plaintiffs,
BULLSEYE ENERGY INC., CEP MID-CONTINENT, LLC, KRS&K, an Oklahoma Partnership, GASHOMA, INC. PURGATORY CREEK GAS, INC., REDBIRD OIL, an Oklahoma Partnership, WILD WEST GAS, LLC, WHITE HAWK GAS, INC., FOUNTAINHEAD, LLC, ROBERT M. KANE, LOUISE KANE ROARK, ANNE KANE SEIDMAN, MARK KANE, PAMELA BROWN, GARY BROWN, Defendants. and KEVIN JETER, JOE A. JETER, BARBARA LUCAS, JAMES H. MILLER, SHARON RIGSBY MILLER, LARRY SMITH, JANICE SUE PARKER, JAMES D. ENLOE, CAROLYN R. ENLOE, and SCOTT BAILY, individually and as Class Representatives on Behalf of All Similarly-Situated Persons, Plaintiffs,
CEP MID-CONTINENT, LLC, ROBERT M. KANE, LOUISE KANE ROARK, ANNE KANE SEIDMAN, MARK KANE, PAMELA BROWN, and GARY BROWN, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
TERENCE C. KERN United States District Judge.
September 29, 2017, Plaintiffs' Class Representatives
Kevin L. Jeter and Joe Jeter (“Settling
Plaintiffs”), filed a Joint Motion for Preliminary
Approval of Settlement Agreement with Defendant Bullseye
Energy Inc., et al., for Certification of a
Settlement Class, and for Approval of Notice of Settlement
and Plan of Notice. Doc. 244. On October 20, 2017, Plaintiffs
Barbara Lucas, James H. Miller, Sharon Rigsby Miller, Larry
Smith, Janice Sue Parker, James D. Enloe, Carolyn R. Enloe
and Scott Baily (“Non-Settling Plaintiffs”),
filed their Response in Objection to Motion for Preliminary
Approval of Settlement Agreement by Non-Moving Parties. Doc.
249. On March 21, 2018, the Court entered an order
preliminarily approving class settlement. Doc. 262.
the proposed settlement agreement, Defendants would pay $700,
000 into a Settlement Account, and would agree to binding
changes in their future royalty payment methodology, which
the settling parties contend have a present value of at least
$810, 248.10 to $2, 383, 843.37, for a total settlement value
of between $1, 510, 248.10 to $3, 083.843.37. Doc. 244- 1. In
exchange, the members of the settlement class would release
their claims against Defendants. Additionally, class counsel
would seek a fee not in excess of 33 percent of the total
recovery, and expert fees and litigation costs of
approximately $170, 000, leaving a Net Settlement Amount of
$485, 666.67. Id.
October 12, 2018, Settling Plaintiffs and Defendants filed a
Joint Motion for Final Approval of Settlement Agreement. Doc.
287. The Non-Settling Plaintiffs filed a Response in
Opposition to the motion, in which they argued that Settling
Plaintiffs and Defendants had not met their burden of proof
to show that the Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable and
adequate. Doc. 29. They specifically argued that the proposed
settlement did not adequately compensate the class members,
and-citing Mittelstaedt v. Santa Fe Minerals, Inc.,
954 P.2d 1203, 1205 (Okla. 1998)- they asserted that
defendants had been improperly burdening lessors with
Tenth Circuit, as in other circuits, a class-action
settlement is entitled to final approval where it is
“fair, reasonable and adequate.” Gottlieb v.
Wiles, 11 F.3d 1004, 1014 (10th Cir. 1993). The Tenth
Circuit has identified four non-exclusive factors courts must
consider in determining whether proposed settlement meets
A. Whether the proposed settlement was fairly and honestly
B. Whether serious questions of law and fact exist, placing
the ultimate outcome of the litigation in doubt;
C. Whether the value of an immediate recovery outweighs the
mere possibility of future relief after protracted and
expensive litigation; and
D. The judgment of the parties that the settlement is fair
Rutter & Wilbanks Corp. v. Shell Oil Co., 314
F.3d 1180, 1188 (10th Cir. 2002). Other relevant factors may
include the risk of establishing damages at trial; the extent
of discovery and the current posture of the case; the range
of possible settlement; and the reaction of class members to
the proposed settlement. In re N.M. Natural as Antitrust
Litig., 607 F.Supp. 1491, 1504 (D. Colo. 1984).
Whether the Agreement Was Fairly and Honestly
is no evidence that the proposed settlement agreement was not
honestly negotiated, but substantial questions exist
regarding the fairness of negotiations. As an initial matter,
the proposed settlement was reached after former class
counsel's representation of the eight Non-Settling Named