Justices to hear legal dispute over Ohio drilling leases

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The Ohio Supreme Court is ready to hear arguments in a long-running legal battle over disputed oil-and-gas leases held by 700 landowners in southern and eastern Ohio.

A pair of cases involving Beck Energy Corp. leases has been consolidated. Arguments are scheduled for Tuesday.

A trial court voided leases for five Monroe County landowners who argued Beck wrote contract language that allowed the company to sit on the land indefinitely without drilling. Landowners were also allowed to declare class action status to void leases for additional landowners.

A second lawsuit was filed challenging a freeze the court put on the leases, which landowners argued kept them from signing subsequent lucrative deals.

Beck’s side says they need more time, because the class action has made drilling since 2012 too risky.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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