Chesapeake Energy Ordered into Arbitration with Former CEO
A lawsuit filed by Chesapeake Energy against American Energy Partners has been ordered into arbitration by a district judge in Oklahoma. American Energy Partners was formed by the former CEO of Chesapeake Energy, Aubrey McClendon. Chesapeake Energy accused McClendon of using its company trade secrets and other proprietary information to launch his new company. The trade secrets include oil and gas field maps Chesapeake had commissioned shortly before McClendon was removed from his role as CEO.
McClendon is not named personally in the suit. However, American Energy contended in court that the terms of McClendon’s departure from Chesapeake Energy requires that his arbitration clause be used to settle the dispute. American Energy argued that leaving McClendon’s name off of the complaint was a gambit to avoid arbitration. The district judge agreed and ordered the suit to binding arbitration. There was no information released concerning the duration or other terms of the arbitration order.
Although American Energy viewed the arbitration order as a victory, releasing a statement that described the action as putting an end to the lawsuit, Chesapeake has stated it will pursue its grievances in arbitration, indicating it believes it has enough merit to its complaints. For his part, McClendon has denied all the charges and claims he formed American Energy solely through his own experience and knowledge gained from his years in the oil and gas business, and that he expects the arbitration to completely vindicate him on all named charges.