Stop oil companies from being exempt from our country’s laws; laws must apply to all!
The Court, by not allowing me to sue neighbors that Dominion gave royalties to, took the heart out of my case against Dominion. They did not allow me to get "discovery" from Dominion either. Dominion left blank 95% of our questions on what is called "discovery". The judges would not help us get those questions about Dominion's wells, not even the 2 wells on my 10 surface/mineral acres answered. The W.VA. Court system did nothing to help my case; then when they made sure they had completely gutted my case, they ruled 100% against me.
The Court is brothers with the oil industry. No way for a lessor/landowner to win! The Court took our constitutional rights away.
One thing the court did not do was make me pay back any royalties we had received after our foreclosure from 1965 to 2007 because we had lease minerals legally, because our neighbors never notified Dominion of their existance. Dominions lawyer told Judge Holland that is is not Dominions responsibility to tell lessor/land owners of royalty ownership. It is the lessors responsibiltiy to tell Dominion of their ownership.
Oil companies should be forced to tell a lessor/landowner before they drill! They should have to tell us how many wells and where wells are. They should have to tell you and pay you for using your property to get to a well on another persons property, all of this should not be free to the oil companies. When a new lessor/landowner buys the property oil companies should be obligated to tell the new lessor/landowner of oil companies and their wells existence and have to pay them as they did the former owner. Instead oil companies never tell you, you have to find out some other way. I bet some people have died and never knew about wells on their property. The oil companies are making lots of money by having their secrecy.
Oil companies should not be exempt from breach of contract laws, adverse possession laws, estoppels and attornment laws, having to account for amount of royalty, and all laws that we common folk have to worry about!
The Court says only oil companies can successfully sue another oil company. The Court says lessor/landowners cannot successfully sue an oil company. The Court says that we lessor/landowners cannot sue each other. The Court says King Oil gets to decide who gets royalties and who does not.
The Story Behind This Petition:
I am a landowner/lessor in Doddridge Co., W.VA. There were two wells drilled around 1899. We had a lease for one in 1957 and acquired the second well in 1960 when we bought more land. We were paid $50.00 per year flat rate on one well and about $25.00 per month on the other one until Dominion took them away from us in 2007. Dominion drilled new wells around 2007 when I sued and lost to them and the West Virginia Supreme Court. I tried to find out how many wells Dominion drilled. I found out, to my surprise, that other oil companies had also drilled wells. I asked Seneca, "How many total wells?" They said "10." I said, "How many are Dominion?” They said, "6 and there's 1 by Exxon or what used to be Carter Oil, 2 by Eastern American, and 1 by Carbon Black." I have had 4 Oil companies on my lease holding, and for 50 years, we only knew about one oil company. I hate their "wolfpack" ways of feeding on us "lessor/landowners."
Citizens of the United States should be able to sue each other; unfortunately that is not the case when you are a lessor/landowner. I tried from 2008 until 2011 to get permission from the court to sue our neighbor lessor/landowners in W.VA. The W.VA Supreme Court denied our constitutional rights to sue our neighbor to get our royalties back from them where Dominion Oil had taken our royalties away from me in 2007. Dominion gave them to our neighbor after our having royalties for 50 years from 1957 until 2007 when Dominion told our neighbors that they were now getting royalties because of their deed. The W.VA. Supreme Court told us that our neighbors did not own the minerals that they are “merely owed a royalty,” so we could not sue them for minerals that they do not have! We got doubletalk from the court. If our neighbor is “owed a royalty,” which was our royalty until 2007, then why can’t we sue to get what we had and what they now have back? If they are “owed a royalty,” then is it not for minerals that Dominion is paying them for? If Dominion is not paying them royalties for getting minerals out of the ground, then what are our neighbors getting royalties for? Because the court will not allow us to sue our neighbor for adverse possession of our royalties and minerals, we cannot win against Dominion! If we had been allowed to sue our neighbor and had won, then Dominion would automatically have had to pay us, and then we would have won our case against Dominion!
My family bought 192 acres in 1957 and bought ten more connecting acres in 1960; we owned the surface of 202 acres and mineral rights, so Dominion paid us. In 1965, the 192 acres were foreclosed on and our neighbor lessor/landowner received possession; however, they “failed to notify” Dominion or us or anyone of their existence or need to get royalties. So our neighbor never received royalties until Dominion notified them in 2007, or they still would not know! When I lost my case because the court refused to give me permission to sue my neighbor and win and therefore could not win against Dominion, I was not required to pay any royalties back from between 1965 to 2007 because we had owned the mineral royalties legally! Dominion’s lawyer said that it is not Dominion’s responsibility to track down lessor/landowners and tell them of wells that they have drilled. Dominion maintained that they were never notified of our neighbor’s existence; therefore, the neighbor did not get paid until 2007 when they checked deeds to drill more wells after they had already gotten my permission to drill.