On January 11, 2023, the Court preliminarily approved a Settlement in the Litigation between Plaintiff, on behalf of himself and the Settlement Class, and Defendants. This approval and the Notice are not an expression of opinion by the Court as to the merits of any of the claims or defenses asserted by any of the parties to the Litigation, or of whether the Court will ultimately approve the Settlement Agreement.
In settlement of the Litigation, Defendants have agreed to pay Forty-Five Million Dollars ($45,000,000.00) in cash (“Gross Settlement Fund”). In exchange for the payment noted above and other consideration outlined in the Settlement Agreement, the Settlement Class shall release the Released Claims (as defined in the Settlement Agreement) against the Released Parties (as defined in the Settlement Agreement). The $45,000,000.00 cash payment is referred to as the “Gross Settlement Fund.” The Gross Settlement Fund, less Plaintiff’s Attorneys’ Fees and Litigation Expenses and Administration, Notice, and Distribution Costs, and other costs approved by the Court (the “Net Settlement Fund”), will be distributed to final Class Members pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Agreement, along with the PetroQuest Settlement Funds, which were separately contributed by PetroQuest Energy, L.L.C.
Class Counsel intends to seek an award of Plaintiff’s Attorneys’ Fees of not more than 40% of the Gross Settlement Fund. Co-Lead Class Counsel Reagan E. Bradford and Ryan K. Wilson of Bradford & Wilson and Rex A. Sharp of Sharp Law, LLP have been litigating this case for over six years without any payment whatsoever, advancing hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses. At the Final Fairness Hearing, Plaintiff’s Counsel will also seek reimbursement of the litigation and administration expenses incurred in connection with the prosecution of this Litigation and that will be incurred through final distribution of the Settlement, which is estimated to be approximately $800,000.00. In addition, Plaintiff intends to seek a case contribution award for his representation of the Class, which amount will not exceed 1% of the Gross Settlement Fund, to compensate Plaintiff for his time, expense, risk and burden as serving as Class Representative.
The Court must approve the Allocation Methodology, which describes how the Settlement Administrator will allocate the Net Settlement Fund and the PetroQuest Settlement Funds. Those funds will be distributed by the Settlement Administrator after the Effective Date of the Settlement. The Effective Date requires the exhaustion of any appeals, which may take a year or more after the entry of Judgment. The Settlement may be terminated on several grounds, including if the Court does not approve or materially modifies the terms of the Settlement. If the Settlement is terminated, the Litigation will proceed as if the Settlement had not been reached.
The Notice does not and cannot set out all the terms of the Settlement Agreement which is available for review at the Important Documents page. This website will eventually include this Notice, the Initial Plan of Allocation, and Plaintiff’s Counsel’s application for Plaintiff’s Attorneys’ Fees and Litigation Expenses, Administration, Notice, and Distribution Costs, and any other costs awarded by the Court. You may also receive information about the progress of the Settlement by visiting the Home page, or by contacting the Settlement Administrator.