Chieftain Royalty Company v. SM Energy Company
Chieftain-SM Settlement

Welcome to the Chieftain-SM Settlement Website

Important Update: The Settlement Administrator began issuing Distribution Checks to eligible Class Members on August 25, 2021.

What is the Settlement About?

The Litigation seeks damages for Defendant’s alleged underpayment of royalty due Plaintiff and Class Members on production of gas and its constituents from the Class Wells. Defendant denies any and all liability related to Plaintiff’s allegations and further states that neither Plaintiff nor any of the Class Members are entitled to the relief sought in the Litigation and further states that it would not be appropriate to award any type of damages, an accounting, disgorgement, or injunctive relief to the Class Members. Defendant further denies it would be appropriate to certify a contested class based on the facts and claims at issue in the Litigation. The Court has made no determination with respect to any of the Parties’ claims or defenses.

What does the Settlement provide?

In consideration of the Settlement, Defendant has agreed to pay $10,000,000.00 in cash. The Settlement, if approved, will result in the dismissal of the Complaint and all amendments to the Complaint against Defendant and the release by all Settlement Class Members of all the Released Claims the Releasing Parties may have against the Released Parties. The Net Settlement Fund will be distributed to the Settlement Class Members who are not excluded from the Settlement Class in accordance with the provisions of the Allocation Methodology and Final Plan of Allocation, which is explained in FAQ 10.

Who is included?

The Settlement Class consists of all non-excluded persons or entities who are or were royalty owners in Defendant’s 126 Coal County Gathering System wells (“the Class Wells”) where Defendant was the operator. The Settlement Class Claims relate only to payment for gas and its constituents (residue gas, natural gas liquids, and drip gas) produced from the wells for production months October 1, 2001 through May 31, 2015. The Settlement Class does not include overriding royalty owners or other owners who derive their interest through the oil and gas lessee. A list of the persons or entities excluded from the Class can be found in the Long-Form Notice, which is available for download from the Important Documents page.


Option and Deadline Event
Take No Further Action, Participate In The Settlement If the Settlement is approved, you do not need to take any further action to participate in the Settlement and receive a payment.  The portion of the Net Settlement Fund to which you are entitled will be calculated as part of the administration of the Settlement.
Exclude Yourself
(received by April 12, 2021 at 5 p.m. CT)
If you do not wish to be a member of the Settlement Class, you must exclude yourself and you will not receive any payment from the Settlement Fund. You cannot bring or be part of another lawsuit or arbitration against any of the Released Parties based on any Released Claims unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class. Instructions for submitting an exclusion can be found at FAQ 14.
(received by April 12, 2021 at 5 p.m. CT)
If you do not exclude yourself and you wish to object to any part of the Settlement, the attorneys' fees or litigation costs requested by Plaintiff's Counsel, or the Case Contribution Award requested by Plaintiff, you may write to the Court about your objections. Instructions for filing an objection can be found at FAQ 19.
Attend the Final Fairness Hearing
on April 27, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.
If you have submitted a valid and timely written objection to any aspect of the Settlement, the attorneys’ fees or litigation expenses requested by Plaintiff’s Counsel, or the Case Contribution Award requested by Plaintiff, you may (but do not have to) attend the Final Fairness Hearing by telephone and present your objections to the Court at that hearing (as described in FAQ 23 and in the Settlement Agreement).
Do Nothing If you are a Settlement Class Member and do nothing, you will be bound by the terms of the Settlement as set forth in the Settlement Agreement and the documents referenced therein, will be bound by the release and agreement not to sue the Released Parties, will receive your portion of the Net Settlement Fund (if any), and will not be able to bring or pursue any Released Claims in any other lawsuit or arbitration. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the Settlement and all other documents regarding the Settlement that can be found on the Important Documents page.

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.


Chieftain-SM Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91348
Seattle, WA 98111