Court lets $4 million in royalties stand
September 11, 2007
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. ” The Colorado Supreme Court has declined to consider an appeal of a $4 million jury award to a western Colorado sheep rancher who sued an energy company for mineral royalties he said he was owed.
The decision Monday lets stand the award to William Clough, who won his lawsuit in 2004 against Tulsa, Okla.-based Williams Production Co.
Clough died last year at the age of 89. His widow, Genevive Clough, and estate will receive the money.
Clough, who owned 12,000 acres near Rifle and Parachute, was earning about $3 million a year in royalties from natural gas drilling on his land. He argued that Williams and Barrett Resources, which merged with Williams in 2001, had not paid him agreed-upon royalties from February 1996 to February 2004.
A Garfield County District Court jury agreed, finding Williams guilty of breach of contract, violating the state Consumer Protection Act and acting in bad faith in its dealings with Clough.
Williams appealed the decision, saying that evidence was improperly excluded and jury instructions and the calculation of damages were flawed.
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Last February, the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the award to Clough.
A call to Williams for comment on the Supreme Court decision wasn’t immediately returned.