The recent Monroe Falls Complaint filed May 27, 2016, seeking Declaratory Judgment (1) requiring Beck Energy Corp. (Beck) to obtain a zoning certificate prior to the commencement of drilling the Sonoco oil and gas well and (2) Stay – prohibiting Beck from commencing any drilling activities until the court rules is without any legal basis as the Ohio Supreme Court has already decided this issue on February 17, 2015 (Morrison v. Beck Energy Corp., 143 Ohio St.3d 271, 2015-Ohio-485).
According to Beck Energy’s Attorney, Scott Zurakowski of Krugliak Wilkins Griffiths & Dougherty Co., L.P.A., “the complaint the City of Munroe Falls recently filed lacks any good faith basis under existing law, and it is clear Munroe Falls’ intention in filing this complaint is to harass and maliciously injure Beck Energy.”
Beck is a small, family-operated company owned by Raymond T. Beck employing approximately 20 people in 2 offices in Ravenna and Woodsfield, Ohio. Beck operates more than 300 wells throughout various counties in Ohio, including Monroe, Noble, Washington Stark, Portage and Columbiana Counties.
In February of last year the Ohio Supreme Court found in favor of Beck when it held the Home Rule Amendment to the Ohio Constitution, Article XVII, Section 3, does not allow a municipality to “discriminate against, unfairly impede, or obstruct” oil and gas activities and production operations that the state has permitted under RC Chapter 1509.
According to Beck’s legal team, this recent complaint that Monroe Falls filed on May 27th is attempting to use the very same permitting scheme the Ohio Supreme Court determined was in conflict with and preempted by state law (ORC 1509) to stop Beck from drilling the Sonoco oil and gas well. The Ohio Supreme Court, in Morrison, held the very same zoning certificate that Monroe Falls is requiring Beck to obtain, violated the Home Rule Amendment and ODNR’s sole and exclusive authority to regulate oil and gas wells per ORC 1509.
According to Mr. Zurakowski, “the resources that the city of Munroe Falls is using for this duplicated lawsuit would be put to better use in providing raises and benefits to the city’s municipal employees, including police, fire and safety personnel.”
Founded in 1958, Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty Co., L.P.A. provides representation across various practice areas of law: Oil, Gas & Mineral Law, Corporate and Business Law, Real Estate and Construction, Labor and Employment, Employee Benefits, Workers’ Compensation, Commercial Lending and Finance, Taxation, Health Care, Environmental Law, OSHA, Trusts and Estates, and Litigation in all areas. The Firm has over 50 attorneys with offices throughout Northeast Ohio, serving Canton, Akron, Alliance, New Philadelphia, and Sugarcreek.