Category Archives: Litigation

Today’s Top Legal Fracking Developments

Within the last 48 hours, there have been a number of fracking developments, including criticism of the University of Buffalo’s recent study finding that Pennsylvania’s regulatory impact reduced potential environmental consequences associated with fracking.  Public Accountability Initiative disputes UB’s conclusions. (Buffalo News) AFL-CIO Issues Statement Calling for Regulations to Protect Fracking Workers.  (Bloomberg) Pennsylvania localities fight against state legislation preempting zoning powers.  (Philadelphia Inquirer) FERC approves New Jersey-New York natural gas pipeline.  (NY Times) North Carolina Governor…

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Pennsylvania Family Allowed to Appeal State DEP Finding of No Contamination

It is reported that an Amwell, Pennsylvania resident is being permitted to pursue an agency appeal challenging the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s earlier finding that the resident’s well was not contaminated by fracking activities.  The DEP had earlier found that disolved methane, sodium, and chloroform identified in that well were not caused by fracking but were from natural causes.   The DEP unsuccesfully argued to the Pennsylvania State Court that its determination cannot be appealed.…

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Driller seeks indemnity from gas well owner and sues insurer for coverage

Because fracking litigation has, for the most part, just begun, there has been a dearth of indemnity and insurance-based lawsuits. That is starting to change with the recent commencement of an Ohio action, Warren Drilling Co. Inc. v. Ace Ins. Co., 12-CV-0045 (S.D.Ohio). In that action, Warren Drilling Company seeks indemnity from Equitable Production Co. and an insurer for litigation expenses and a five figure settlement payment from Warren to certain personal injury plaintiffs.  The plaintiffs, from West Virginia, claimed that Warren contaminated their water…

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Court Dismisses Toxic Tort Related Fracking Claim On Lack of Causation Grounds

A recent Decision out of Colorado has set an early and important precedent in toxic tort-related hydro-fracking litigation regarding expert standards necessary for plaintiffs to establish a prima facie case.  As the decision reflects, a plaintiff’s failure to show both general and specific causation early in the litigation can result in early dismissal.   In Strudley v. Antero Resources Corp., 2011 CV 2218 (Colo. D.Ct. Denver County, May 9, 2012) plaintiffs, property owners whose land had been part of natural gas extraction, claimed that they suffered…

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Lawsuits Increasing Related to Claimed Well Contamination

From Pennsylvania to Texas, hydraulic fracturing is increasing and, with it, so are the lawsuits.  Among the types of claims being asserted are those by landowners that claim that well water has been contaminated by fracking fluids.  There are in excess of 20 such lawsuits pending across the country.  One critical stumbling block to the claims is causation.   In contamination cases, Plaintiffs need to prove a number of things, including that the fracking fluids used in the drilling has seeped into the well water and,…

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