Jury rules in favor of defendants in gas lease case

LISBON — In a decision which included more than 35 verdicts involving fraud, breach of contract, civil conspiracy and other damages from gas and oil leases, a Columbiana County Common Pleas Court jury ruled in favor of the defendants in each claim.

KB Resources LLC of Cuyahoga Falls along with Stephen Krutowsky and Thomas Bartlebaugh, both of Cuyahoga Falls, were claiming Patriot Land Co., LLC defrauded them into selling their investment membership interest in Patriot Energy in May 2010. Then Patriot Energy entered an agreement with Chesapeake Exploration LLC to sell oil and gas leases owned by Patriot Energy to Chesapeake for $32.45 million.

After two weeks of testimony before visiting Judge Richard Reinbold, the jury determined the defendants were not responsible for defrauding or breach of contract in regard to the deal. The defendants in the case were Patriot Land Co. and company owners Andrew W. Blocksom, Robert Dickey and Benjamin Dickey of Lisbon.

Still pending is another civil lawsuit filed in 2016 involving the same parties and claiming the plaintiffs, KB Resources LLC, Krutowsky and Bartlebaugh, should be entitled to additional royalties received by Patriot Energy Partners since the time the 2014 case was filed. Questions regarding future royalties are still being argued in the cases by motions being filed by attorneys as late as this week.