The New York supreme court has announced it will hear the appeal of Anschutz v Dryden, even though the original plaintiff, Anschutz Energy, dropped out of the case after the trial court ruled in favor of the Town of Dryden. To keep the case alive – for largely political purposes – the plaintiffs attorney found a replacement plaintiff – Norse Energy, who, in order to have standing as the substitute Rent-a-Plaintiff, bought a few Anschutz leases for $1 each.
If Anschutz had thought their claims really had any merit, they would have appealed the trial court ruling. They read the ruling and bailed.
Catch now is that Norse Energy is bankrupt, being sued by its former drilling partners, investors and – soon – its officers may be sued by the bankruptcy committee. Which means that Norse probably will not exist by the time the New York high court hears the case next year.
Meaning Chesapeake’s Albany lobbyist, Tom West, who is the Rent-a-Litigator acting on behalf of the bankrupt Norse Rent a Plaintiff, would have to find yet another plaintiff to continue the suit against Dryden – by finding a company to buy a few token leases (which may now no longer be in force) in order to pretend to be the aggrieved party.
Which begs the question: if the aggrieved party (Anschutz) did not bother to pursue the case, and the Rent a Plaintiff may soon no longer exist, who is paying Chesapeake’s lobbyist to perpetuate it ? (Hint: They are from Oklahoma and are owned largely by the Chinese)
Norse, which holds drilling leases on roughly 130,000 acres in New York state, entered bankruptcy court in December. Last month, a court approved its plan to move ahead with an asset sale. West said it is unlikely that any change in ownership would take place before the Court of Appeals hands down its decision. If that were to happen, he would have to secure the new leaseholders as plaintiffs.
Let me translate that for you from lawyerspeak : The actual plaintiff against the little town of Dryden is not a person, it’s not a company – it’s the whole sorry fracking conglomeration.
In Norse’s Second Quarter Report 2013, it says that it may not have funds to operate beyond the end of the year. From the report’s Corporate Overview, pg 3:
Total Norse staff will be reduced to eight. Houston and Buffalo office leases continue on a month-to-month basis. The Company continues to seek ways to reduce its burn rate even further.
The ability of the Company to remain a going concern requires further asset sales, equity issuances, and/or debt issuances. The Company remains concerned about being able to execute additional asset sales and/or raise debt/equity before the DIP loan runs out by the fourth quarter.
Meaning, they won’t be singing Auld Lang Syne in Oslo on New Year’s Eve but Goodnight Irene