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Michigan firm seeks dismissal of W.Va. gas lease case

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. -- A Michigan company that bought oil and gas leases in West Virginia wants a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit claiming its employees scammed more than 120 Preston County residents.

The plaintiffs say they were duped into accepting offers of as little as $5 per acre before the start the Marcellus Shale gas drilling boom. They say the going rate was between $2,500 and $5,000.

The lawsuit accuses Magnum Land Services and Belmont Resources LLC, of Traverse City, Mich., of falsely notarizing lease agreements then transferring them to other companies, including Canada's Enerplus Resources Corp., in 2010.

Magnum's motion to dismiss says the plaintiffs have no grounds for their complaint, and some claims are prohibited by the state's five-year statute of limitations.

Magnum also noted it no longer controls the leases.


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