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Cardinale v. R.E. Gas Development LLC

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

June 19, 2013

LUCINDA A. CARDINALE AND IOLA HUGNEY, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND ON BEHALF OF ALL THOSE SIMILARLY SITUATED, Appellants
v.
R.E. GAS DEVELOPMENT LLC AND REX ENERGY CORPORATION, Appellees

Appeal from the Order of May 9, 2012, in the Court of Common Pleas of Clearfield County, Civil Division at No. 2011-1791-CD

BEFORE: BOWES, LAZARUS and COLVILLE [*] , JJ.

OPINION

COLVILLE, J.

This is an appeal from an order granting Appellees' preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer and dismissing Appellants' complaint with prejudice. We reverse the order and remand for further proceedings.

The background underlying this matter can be summarized in the following manner. Lucinda A. Cardinale ("Cardinale") and Iola Hugney ("Hugney"), on behalf of themselves and all those similarly situated (collectively referred to as "Appellants"), filed a class action complaint against R.E. Gas Development, LLC ("R.E. Gas") and Rex Energy Corporation ("Rex Energy") (collectively referred to as "Appellees"). Appellants made the following, relevant averments in their complaint.

R.E. Gas is a subsidiary of Rex Energy. In 2008, R.E. Gas entered into Marcellus Shale gas leases with numerous persons, including Cardinale and Hugney. Under those leases, R.E. Gas committed to pay $2, 500.00 per acre to the individual landowners. R.E. Gas, however, has refused to honor the leases by failing to pay the rents due to the landowners.

Appellants' complaint contains three counts. Their first count is a breach of contract action against R.E. Gas. Under their second count, Appellants present a claim of tortious interference with contract against Rex Energy. Appellants' last count alleges that Appellees engaged in a civil conspiracy.

Appellees filed preliminary objections to the complaint. Their objections span twenty-seven pages and consist of eighty-four numbered paragraphs. After Appellants filed their response to the objections, the trial court entered the following order.

Now, this 9th day of May, 2012, following argument on [Appellees'] Preliminary Objections to Class Action Complaint and receipt and review of the parties' briefs and applicable case law, it is the ORDER of this [c]ourt as follows:
1. As to [Appellees'] Demurrer to the Complaint in its entirety this [c]ourt agrees that as a matter of law [Appellees] did not accept [Appellants'] offer to enter into binding gas leases.
2. As such, no contracts were formed between [Appellants] and R.E. Gas.
3. Accordingly, it is the ORDER of this [c]ourt that [Appellants'] Demurrer be and is hereby GRANTED. [Appellants'] Complaint is hereby DISMISSED in its entirety, with prejudice; and
4. In support of its dismissal the [c]ourt hereby adopts the legal reasoning and conclusions as set forth in paragraphs 8 through 55 of [Appellees'] Preliminary Objections to ...

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