After Big Verdict, 26 Fracking Cases Filed Nationwide
By Carter Williams, Baker Donelson
Overall, at least 26 such cases have been brought in federal and/or state courts in Arkansas, Colorado, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia. Eleven have been settled, two have been dismissed on the merits, four have been dismissed for failure to join a necessary party or lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and nine remain pending. Based on a review of these cases, the following trends have emerged:
- The majority of the litigation has been in Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Texas.
- The most frequently asserted causes of action are negligence, nuisance, trespass, strict liability, medical monitoring and, in Pennsylvania, violations of the Pennsylvania Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act.
- The factual allegations are strikingly similar, generally alleging that defendants caused releases, spills and discharges of combustible gases, hazardous chemicals and industrial wastes from its oil and gas facilities causing damage to property, health injuries, loss of use and enjoyment of property, loss of quality of life, emotional distress and other damages.
- The most common reason for a case to be dismissed is settlement.
- In addition to drilling facilities, plaintiffs have alleged identical injuries from operations at natural gas compression and transmission stations and disposal wells.
While it remains to be seen whether any additional cases will reach a jury verdict, any that does will reveal a great deal regarding whether the Parr verdict will remain an outlier.