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Thirty-seven Companies sue Dominion Transmission

Thirty-seven Companies sue Dominion Transmission Inc. after claim that it and others breached fiduciary duties. Dominion Field Services Inc, Dominion Resources Inc, Joseph Vanzant, and Riley Natural Gas Company were also named as defendants. 

Thirty-seven Companies sue Dominion Transmission. The plaintiffs in the case are independent producers of natural gas in West Virginia and claim the defendants have forced them into long-term, fixed-price contracts that are destroying independent natural gas producers in the state. This is according to a complaint filed in Marshall Circuit Court.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants misled and coerced them and other small, independent natural gas producers into funding a major portion of the construction and upgrades on a project known as the Gateway Project.

Dominion Transmission deployed several techniques to finance the construction of the Gateway Project and the result if its actions was that the plaintiffs were forced to sign 10-year contracts to transport their gas and through which Dominion Fiend and Riley reaped vast rewards, according to the suit.

"To compound the harm to plaintiffs, DFS and Riley then tied those transportation contracts to gas sales contracts requiring plaintiffs to sell their gas to DFS and Riley for an unprecedented term of 10 years," the complaint states.

The plaintiffs claim natural gas transmission companies had not previously utilized gas marketing companies to force small natural gas producers to acquire firm transportation rights over a 10-year period.

The defendants imposed incredibly short deadlines when they forced the plaintiffs into making decisions about whether to sign the Gateway Firm Contracts and Gas Sales Contracts, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants have "turned a cold shoulder to their duties as fiduciaries and joint venture partners and acted exclusively in their own interests," and the interests of DTI.

DFS and Riley continue to engage in acts that breach their duties and reveal their initial representations to be untrue.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are being represented by Jonathan R. Marshall of Bailey & Glasser; Howard M. Persinger III of Persinger & Persinger LC; and Jeffrey V. Kessler of Berry, Kessler, Crutchfield, Taylor & Gordon.

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