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Mike Simon
Mike Simon
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Update on $405 Million Roane County Verdict

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The Roane County judge who presided over the class action trial that awarded a $405 million verdict to class members says that he is likely to reduce the award pursuant to the defendant’s post-trial motions.

In a hearing on March 5, Judge Tom Evans indicated that he agreed with an argument made by counsel for Chesapeake Energy Corp. and NiSource Inc. that the jury inflated damages by 30%. If the judge follows through it will reduce punitive damages to $188 million. However, Judge Evans indicated that he was likely to otherwise stick to his findings that the defendants acted in a manner that entitled the 8,000-member class of owners of natural gas rights to punitive damages.

There will be at least two more hearings before the post-trial motions are decided.