In October 2008, as natural gas prices continued their freefall that began the previous July, natural gas producers and their leasing agents abruptly ceased signing mineral rights leases in Tarrant County. Many homeowners whose neighborhood groups had negotiated rich signing bonuses and favorable lease terms were nevertheless shut out of the bonanza. Now the energy firms' actions are the subject of about 20 Tarrant County lawsuits filed by three Dallas law firms known as the North Texas Lease Litigation Group on behalf of individual property owners in southwest Fort Worth and southeast Arlington. The suits contend that property owners were illegally denied the opportunity to sign lucrative leases negotiated by the neighborhood coalitions. Kip Petroff, an attorney for the litigation group, said it expects to eventually file hundreds of cases on behalf of such residents.