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Coal CEO Robert Murray Unearths Lease From Aubrey McClendon’s New Fracking Company

American Energy Partners CEO Aubrey McClendon

DeSmogBlog has obtained a copy of a sample hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”)lease distributed to Ohio landowners by embattled former CEO and founder of Chesapeake EnergyAubrey McClendon, now CEO of American Energy Partners.

Elisabeth Radow, a New York-based attorney who examined a copy of the lease, told DeSmogBlog she believes the lease “has the effect of granting American Energy Partners the right to use the surface and subsurface to such a great extent that it takes away substantially all of the rights attributable to homeownership.”

The American Energy Partners fracking lease was shaken loose as part of the discovery dispute process in an ongoing court case pitting coal industry executive Robert E. Murray — controversial CEO of Murray Energy Corporation and American Energy Corporation — against McClendon in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio Eastern Division.

Murray brought the suit against McClendon back in August 2013, alleging McClendon committed trademark and copyright infringement by using the “American Energy” moniker. Murray’s attorneys used the lease as an exhibit in a Motion to Compel Discovery, filed on September 8, over a year after Murray brought his initial lawsuit.

The case has ground to a slow halt as the two sides duke it out over discovery issues and related protective order issues, making a large swath of the court records available only to both sides’ attorneys and causing many other records to be heavily redacted.

Out of that dispute has come the American Energy Partners lease, published here for the first time.

McClendon’s Company Sent Murray a Lease

As part of ongoing discovery-related legal battles, the McClendon legal team argued against handing over an unredacted copy of a sample lease requested by Murray Energy because — as it stated in a June 24 letter that is now part of the court record — Murray has yet to demonstrate the “leases are reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.”

In other words, they’re arguing that Murray’s team hasn’t shown how getting its hands on a sample lease has anything to do with the legal case it is making: that McClendon’s company had infringed upon its trademark and copyright.

Murray’s team subsequently threw a mighty counterpunch.

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