Attorneys for EQT won a procedural victory in a ruling that the class action status of a lawsuit against the gas production company could be appealed.

On Nov. 16, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that EQT could appeal a lower court’s class action certification of a suit first filed against EQT in 2019, according to court documents from the U.S. district court in Wheeling, West Virginia. The plaintiffs, listed as four members of the Glover family and energy company Goshorn Ridge, allege that EQT shorted them on royalty payments for gas well leases.

According to a statement from EQT’s attorneys, class-action lawsuit status is advantageous for plaintiffs, and it’s rare that the status can be appealed. Winning permission to appeal is a “crucial victory” for EQT. The lower court gave the suit class action status in September.

The decision was EQT’s second court victory in the case in two months. On Oct. 16, the district court dismissed fraud claims in the suit. The plaintiffs alleged that EQT’s royalty statements gave misleading information and the judge ruled that fraud claims were made too late and would have failed in court regardless.

The trial is expected to begin in the U.S. District Court of Northern West Virginia in January.