Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Verdict in Oil and Gas Fracking Nuisance Lawsuit

In follow up to my recent post on Pennsylvania private nuisance lawsuits to battle harms caused by oil and gas fracking I stumbled upon a recent $3 million verdict in Texas on a nuisance lawsuit.  Here are a few links to articles about the notable nuisance case, one of the first of its kind (most of these lawsuits are settled before trial):

Fracking Went On Trial

Texas Family's Nuisance Complaint Seen as a Win Against Fracking

 Jury Awards Texas Family $2.9M For Fracking Nuisance Claim

Law360.com reports that the Parrs (the injured family) had sought damages from Aruba Petroleum Inc., alleging the 22 wells Aruba operated within a two-mile radius of their land exposed them to hazardous gases, chemicals and industrial waste that made them so sick they couldn’t work and at times had to live in Bob Parr's office instead of at their home. The Parrs attributed their illnesses to benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene and other volatile organic compounds used to frack the wells, and said their home had been assaulted by smells and noise from the wells since drilling started.

Reports indicate that in a 5 to 1 verdict, the jury did not find Aruba’s conduct was abnormal and out of place for its surroundings but said it did take intentional steps to cause substantial interference with the Parr family’s use of its 40-acre homestead west of Fort Worth. The jury did not find Aruba acted with malice, and rejected the Parrs’ claim for exemplary damages, but awarded them damages for physical and mental pain and anguish and for loss of market value for the land.  The Parrs were represented expertly by Texas trial attorney Brad Gilde of Gilde Law Firm based in Houston, Texas.

There is little doubt with all of the oil and gas drilling occurring right now in our state that many Pennsylvania residents are experiencing the same type of symptoms as the Parrs.  Because of this amazing verdict oil and gas companies will hopefully take notice of the risk they face from substantial verdicts if they do not safely undertake their oil and gas fracking.

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