Natural Gas Antitrust Settlements

In re Western States Wholesale Natural Gas Antitrust Litigation
United States District Court for the District of Nevada
Case No. 2:03-cv-01431-RCJ-PAL, 2:06-cv-00233-RCJ-PAL, 2:07-cv-00987-RCJ-PAL

Frequently Asked Questions

Following is a list of frequently asked questions about this settlement. To view the answer to a question, please click on the question from the list below. The answers to these questions will be updated periodically to reflect the current status of the settlement.

  1. What are the notice and this website about?

    Settlements have been reached with certain defendants in a series of class action lawsuits involving natural gas. The lawsuits allege that certain companies involved in the production, marketing, or sale of natural gas engaged in an unlawful conspiracy to manipulate the price of natural gas. Plaintiffs further claim that commercial and industrial purchasers of natural gas who purchased natural gas other than from utilities or local distribution companies and for their own use or consumption in Kansas or Missouri may recover for the effect that the alleged conspiracy had on the prices of the natural gas they purchased. Plaintiffs allege that, as result of the unlawful conspiracy, they and other purchasers paid more for natural gas than they would have absent the conspiracy. The settling defendants deny Plaintiffs’ claims.

  2. Who are the Settling Defendants?

    Two different settlements have been reached. The first is with Defendants CMS Energy Corporation, CMS Energy Resources Management Company (f/k/a CMS Marketing, Services and Trading Company), and CMS Field Services, Inc. (collectively, “CMS”), and Defendants El Paso Corporation (n/k/a El Paso LLC) and El Paso Merchant Energy, L.P. (n/k/a El Paso Marketing Company, L.L.C.) (collectively, “El Paso”), and was achieved in conjunction with proceedings in ongoing litigation in In re Western States Wholesale Natural Gas Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 2:03-1431-RCJ-PAL, pending in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada (the “MDL Court”). The second settlement is with GenOn Energy, Inc. and Reliant Energy Services, Inc. (n/k/a RRI Energy Services, Inc.), and was achieved in conjunction with bankruptcy proceedings in In re GenOn Energy, Inc., Case No. 1733695 (DRJ), pending in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas (the “Bankruptcy Court”) and proceedings in the MDL Court. A complete list of Defendants and Debtors affected by the settlements, as well as the specific releases and other key terms applicable to each settlement, are set out in the Settlement Agreements.

  3. Who is included in the Settlements?

    In the State of Kansas

    All industrial and commercial direct purchasers of natural gas for their own use or consumption during the period from January 1, 2000 through October 31, 2002 (the “Class Period”), and which gas was used or consumed by them in Kansas. Excluded from the Class are (a) entities that purchased natural gas for resale (to the extent of such purchase for resale); (b) entities that purchased natural gas for generation of electricity for the purpose of sale (to the extent of such purchase for generation); (c) defendants and their predecessors, affiliates and subsidiaries; (d) the federal government and its agencies; and (e) Reorganized FLI, Inc. (f/k/a Farmland Industries, Inc.).

    For purposes of this Kansas Settlement Class definition, a “direct purchaser” means an industrial or commercial entity that bought natural gas for its own use or consumption directly from any of the Defendants, or from a seller other than a local distribution company.

    In the State of Missouri

    The settlement class includes industrial and commercial direct purchasers of natural gas for their own use or consumption during the Class Period, and which gas was used or consumed by them in Missouri. Excluded from the Class are (a) entities that purchased natural gas for resale (to the extent of such purchase for resale); (b) entities that purchased natural gas for generation of electricity for the purpose of sale (to the extent of such purchase for generation); (c) defendants and their predecessors, affiliates and subsidiaries; (d) the federal government and its agencies; and (e) Reorganized FLI, Inc. (f/k/a Farmland Industries, Inc.).

    For purposes of this Missouri Settlement Class definition, a “direct purchaser” means an industrial or commercial entity that bought natural gas for its own use or consumption directly from any of the Defendants, or from a seller other than a local distribution company. This is the second notice in this case. The first notice involved settlements in Kansas, Missouri, and Wisconsin with American Electric Power Company, Inc. and certain of its affiliates; Coral Energy Resources, LP; Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC and certain of its affiliates; and ONEOK, Inc. and certain of its affiliates. The Court has now approved two additional settlements, for natural gas purchases in Kansas and Missouri only, with CMS and El Paso, as defined below.

    These settlements do not affect any claims you might have against the Settling Defendants relating to purchases in the State of Wisconsin.

  4. What do the settlements provide?

    In Kansas:

    Two different settlements were reached on behalf of plaintiffs in Kansas. The first is with CMS Energy Corporation and certain of its affiliates; and El Paso Corporation and certain of its affiliates. Those settlements create a total settlement fund of $9,528,750, plus any interest accrued, for class members in Kansas, before deductions for court-approved expenses and attorneys’ fees.

    The second settlement is with GenOn Energy, Inc. (f/k/a Reliant Energy, Inc.) and Reliant Energy Services, Inc. That settlement creates a total settlement fund of $2,425,500, plus any interest accrued, for eligible claimants in Kansas, before deductions for court-approved expenses and attorneys’ fees.

    In Missouri:

    Two different settlements were reached on behalf of plaintiffs in Missouri. The first is with CMS Energy Corporation and certain of its affiliates; and El Paso Corporation and certain of its affiliates. Those settlements create a total settlement fund of $5,596,250, plus any interest accrued, for class members in Missouri, before deductions for court-approved expenses and attorneys’ fees.

    The second settlement is with GenOn Energy, Inc. (f/k/a Reliant Energy, Inc.) and Reliant Energy Services, Inc. That settlement creates a total settlement fund of $1,424,500, plus any interest accrued, for eligible claimants in Missouri, before deductions for court-approved expenses and attorneys’ fees.

    More details are in the Settlement Agreements, available on the Settlement Documents page of this website.

  5. When can I get a payment?

    Claims forms have been distributed to Class Members for which mailing addresses are available, and advertisements will be placed in newspapers and business publications giving notice that the Class Members can submit a claim online or by mail, to receive a portion of the Settlement Fund. Once the claims period is complete, settlement funds will be allocated on a pro rata basis based on the volume of natural gas that each participating Class Member purchased in proportion to the total claims filed.

  6. What are my rights?

    If you wish to request compensation from these settlement funds you MUST take action at this time. Please carefully review the specific provisions of the attached claim forms. CLAIM FORMS MUST BE POSTMARKED OR SUBMITTED ONLINE NO LATER THAN SEPTEMBER 14, 2018.

    If you fail to submit a timely Claim Form, your claim will be rejected and you will be precluded from any recovery from the settlement funds.

  7. Do you qualify to make a claim?

    To qualify to receive settlement funds, you and your purchases must meet the following criteria:

    • You must be a commercial or industrial user of natural gas (this includes businesses, manufacturing facilities, warehouses, commercial property, hospitals, universities, schools, etc.)
    • You must have purchased natural gas for your own consumption in Kansas (i.e., you burned or otherwise used the natural gas you purchased in Kansas) between January 1, 2000, and October 31, 2002.
    • You must have purchased natural gas from a seller other than a local utility, local distribution company, or other entity regulated by the State of Kansas (natural gas purchased from the utility serving your local community, does not qualify).
    • You must not fall within one of the exclusions identified in the definition stated above.
    • Note: As long as you bought natural gas from a non-utility seller and meet the other criteria, the purchases qualify even if you used utilities or local distribution companies to transport your natural gas.
  8. How do you make a Claim?

    To access online claim filing or download a Claim Form and Claim Form Instructions to complete and submit by mail, visit the “File a Claim” page to access the online or downloadable Claim Forms. There are separate downloadable Claim Forms and Claim Form Instructions for Kansas or Missouri, depending upon the state in which the natural gas was used or consumed.

  9. How do I get more information?

    For the precise terms and conditions of the settlements, please see the Settlement Agreements, which are available on the Settlement Documents page of this website.

    The law firm Polsinelli PC has been authorized to contact you regarding this claims opportunity.

    View the Contact Us page in order to contact the Claims Administrator.

    PLEASE DO NOT TELEPHONE THE COURT OR THE COURT CLERK'S OFFICE TO INQUIRE ABOUT THIS SETTLEMENT OR THE CLAIM PROCESS.