Category Archives: Litigation

Arkansas Homeowner Awarded Punitive Damages for Home Damage Allegedly Caused by Activities of Nearby Gas Driller

In Hiser v. XTO Energy, Inc., a federal case venued in the Eastern District of Arkansas (Docket No. 4:11-cv-00517 KGB), the plaintiff alleged that her home was damaged by vibrations resulting from the nearby drilling activities of the defendant, XTO Energy, Inc. (“XTO”).  The plaintiff asserted claims of negligence, nuisance, and trespass.  Plaintiff alleged that after XTO’s drilling activities began, the following damage to her home occurred: foundation blocks cracked, block mortar destroyed, foundation rendered unstable and unlevel, separation of roofing, ceramic tile and…

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Pennsylvania High Court’s Interpretation of 1881 Deed to Determine Whether Deed of “Mineral Rights” includes Right to Natural Gas

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s interpretation of an approximately 130-year old deed may have a profound impact on thousands of drilling leases in the Marcellus Shale.  Last week, Pennsylvania’s highest state court heard argument in Butler v. Charles Powers Estate.  At issue is a 1881 deed of half of the mineral rights under one property from the Butlers forebear to the forebear of the Powers family.  The Powers’ descendants argue that the deed of mineral rights included the rights to the natural gas.  The Butlers…

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Environmental Groups Sue California Over Fracking Policies

On Tuesday, several environmental groups, including Earthjustice and the Sierra Club, filed a lawsuit against the State of California aimed at requiring more stringent oversight of hydraulic fracturing practices. The lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, alleges that California’s Department of Conservation is approving oil and gas drilling permits without requiring preliminary environmental reviews or adequately monitoring possible consequences. The environmental groups are seeking a court order declaring that fracking violates current state law and prohibiting any new permits from being issued without a…

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Delaware River Basin Fracking Lawsuit Dismissed

Three consolidated fracking related lawsuits pending in the Eastern District of New York brought by the State of New York and various environmental groups, such as the Delaware Riverkeeper and Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, against various federal agencies, were dismised by EDNY Judge Nicholas Garaufis.   In the consolidated lawsuits, the plaintiffs challengd the draft plans of the EPA, the Army Corps. of Engineers, the Department of Interior and the Delaware River Basin Commission which, if finalized, would permit fracking in the Delaware River Basin area.  …

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High Profile Alleged Water Contamination Lawsuit Settled

In recent years, the small town of Dimock, Pennsylvania, has been the focus of media attention as certain residents filed a lawsuit claiming that their groundwater became contaminated by hydraulic fracking. In fact, the controversial “documentary”, Gasland, was filmed there.
Notwithstanding the plaintiff’s allegations and media attention, the EPA recently announced that its testing of approximately 60 wells demonstrated that the drinking water was safe. According to the EPA’s press release: Our goal was to provide the Dimock community with complete and reliable information…

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