The first case on the docket of the Kentucky Court of Appeals at WKU today involved Atmos Energy and a group of Edmonson County landowners.
The trial court verdict ordered Atmos Energy to pay more than $31 million to Edmonson County landowners, Park City Gas LLC, and Robert Thorpe, the owner of a company that helped produce the Park City Gas project.
This was after the plaintiffs filed the suit saying Atmos broke a contract when it failed to pay one-eighth of the total royalties to the landowners... saying Atmos only paid about one percent.
It was that original verdict that attorneys for the landowners tried to convince the court to uphold today.
"The original lease, the party that took the lease, and then ultimately Atmos, did not pay what they were otherwise required to pay," said Edmonson County landowners attorney A.B. Conway.
Attorneys for Park City Gas and Thorpe also reiterated that stance, also arguing the validity of the contracts.
"Atmos Energy out of Houston, Texas came in and basically took over a gas field in Park City. They took control of all the money. They knew that the landowners that owned this gas, were entitled to a one-eighth royalty, and even though they controlled all the money, it was our position that they didn't see that they were paid for their gas," said Park City Gas and Robert Thorpe Attorney Chad Gardner.
Atmos Energy appealed the trial court verdict, claiming no wrongdoing, with one goal in mind.
"To obtain a reversal from the Court of Appeals of the verdict for about $35 million in Edmonson County that went a muck in the trial court," said Atmos Energy Attorney Charles English.
The Dec. 2010 trial lasted five weeks, and once the jury decided on a verdict, their order became the largest award in Edmonson County to date.
Judges did not make a decision today, but say they anticipate a verdict within the next three months, following their review.
This case... along with two others... were heard by a three-judge panel at w-k-u This cases' panel consisted of Chief Judge Glenn E. Acree, and Judges Donna L. Dixon and Joy A. Moore. This was a rare opportunity for the public to come see the trial at WKU's Mass Media and Technology Hall.