Illness-from-fracking case in Texas: Lawsuit floodgate now open?

Illness-from-fracking case in Texas: Lawsuit floodgate now open?

Lisa Parr said that she knew by July 2010 that the “loud operation” next door to their ranch was toxic.

“One night, our whole house was vibrating and shaking. We lease that property for our cattle and so I went over there to make sure our cattle wasn’t around there, and when I went over there my nose and throat started burning.”

Parr called the state Commission on Environmental Quality.

“My doctor, an internal specialist, found 20 chemicals in my body and he said, ‘Lisa you must move immediately. You will spend more time and money on hospitals, chemotherapy, and a mortician … and you need to get an environmental health doctor immediately,’ ” she said.

The Parrs filed suit in March 2011, asking for $66 million in damages against nine companies that were originally thought to be involved in the drilling operations. …

Eventually, some of the energy companies were dismissed from the case, and some reached settlements before the trial. Their identities cannot be disclosed, according to the Parrs’ Houston-based attorney, Brad Gilde.

During discovery, Gilde said that “substantial evidence” showed that Aruba Petroleum was a factor in causing the Parrs’ health problems. He said he believes the Parrs’ court victory — which he says is the first jury award for personal injury in a U.S. fracking case — “marks an important precedent for the future of natural gas production.” …

Aruba had a starkly different take on the verdict and left the door open to an appeal.

“We thank the jury for its service,” the company said. “The facts of the case and the law as applied to those facts do not support the verdict. … Talk of an appeal is premature. Aruba has a number of arguments to be made in the trial court for why a judgment should be entered in its favor. ”

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