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In 'David vs. Goliath' Fracking Case, Families Handed Major Win


#1

In 'David vs. Goliath' Fracking Case, Families Handed Major Win

Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

A 10-person jury in court on Thursday handed down a $4.2 million verdict—and vindication—to two Pennsylvania families who refused to settle in a case pitting homeowners in the village of Dimock against a Houston-based fossil fuels company.

After a two-week trial at the U.S. District Court in Scranton, the federal jury found that Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., one of the largest natural gas drillers in Pennsylvania, had polluted the families' well water.


#2

Yay and double plus good yay too!

You mean a company isn't allowed to claim that it was "as a prudent operator" when it poisons our wells. The technicality of the law was not made to reword the facts - the reality. Poisoning wells is not acting prudently whether they followed rules or otherwise.

Reality won a legal battle. The reality of poisoned water was not defined as legal by this jury. Hooray for the victory of reality over legalistic shenanigans.


#3

This is a rare victory over the corporation(s) that are dominating our lives because, democracy.

With luck, this will set a precedent.


#4

And this is why the 1% wants Tort Reform and maximum awards so that such judgements can never happen.

It is wonderful to see justice done. Of course the families have many more years of appeals to look forward to before they get any of their "well" deserved compensation (pun intended).


#5

Very clear message to hydraulic fracking companies: this is going to be you next. Get out of the business now.


#6

With luck this will show people that they can win if they fight and stick it out.


#7

Here's the caveat: The fine is relatively small. Cabot's insurer will likely pay most or all of it, which is standard operating procedure for almost ALL corporations. It's known as E&O (errors and omissions) coverage.

This is one of the reasons that fines don't seem to dissuade most corporations.


#8

Fair enough, but it can be made so that insurance is so expensive that fracking companies can't afford it any more.


#9

Yes this is good news. In Colorado the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, a regulatory body composed of former oil boys, usually tells the "complainers" that they've done something to their well water to make it that way, laying blame on the property owners rather then the energy companies who are operating in the area. If the "complainers" keep pushing the point then the companies get nasty and start harassment ops. I have heard reports of people being shot at by the companies, their property vandalized, and their lives threatened. These companies are such "good neighbors."


#10

Every time I go to youtube, I see ads that are intended to make people think fracking is safe. If they can afford false ads like that, then they can afford a much larger fine than that slap on the wrist. We make progress in baby steps; we must keep up the pressure until this kind of stuff is too risky for them to even consider.


#11

This election has crystallized the forces at play in our society. Had Bernie not run then most of these issues would have never seen the light of day except in places like CD et al. Bernie has raised these issues and given people a voice but what you are talking about would have stayed local and nobody would be the wiser. Now those things that companies used to get away with so easily are now becoming much riskier and often backfire.

The world's people's are waking up and finding mutual support from others helps right wrongs as well as protects them. Still when big money is involved ... Think of the Mafia... They don't care who they hurt ... They just want the money. That money or else mentality is there in the corporate world too. That is because there is too much money involved. Big money doesn't care about right and wrong... It is as simple to understand as that. They don't care.

But these days things are changing and people do care.


#12

YAY! & DOUBLE YAY! We have to keep it up!!! for once, the good guys win....a little glimmer....


#13

Hats off! For the people:


#14

"$4.2 million will not bring back drinkable well water to the long-suffering families of Dimock, Pennsylvania," she told EcoWatch. The fracking companies should be put out of commission as in forever as in the ground water they contaminated.


#15

accusing the jury of ignoring "overwhelming scientific and factual evidence that Cabot acted as a prudent operator in conducting its operations."

Bud, how do you define "prudent?" If you were prudent under the normal definition of the word, their water wouldn't have been contaminated. And no matter how "prudent" you think you were, if you contaminated their water, then you pay up. It's as simple as that, Pig.


#16

Your article is spouting false information. Cabot was not found to have polluted the family's water. There was not enough evidence of that and Cabot lost because of a "nuisance" to the families. You are writing an article based on false information you are getting from the internet. We all know Cabot will appeal this unfortunately and there will be more fighting in the courts. But the least you can do is report TRUE information.


#17

The reality is that Cabot did not lose because of polluting the water. There wasn't enough evidence of this, but that truth doesn't sell newspapers.....Cabot lost because they were a "nuisance" to the families. If this were really the case, the rest of us that have leases would be entitled to money. I can see lawsuits after this verdict.....


#18

Baltasar Garzón, the spanish judge who nailed Pinochet, he tells us that crimes against nature and humanity are soon to be among the major legal arenas faced by modern corporatism.


#19

A nuisance in what way? Legal terms are specific such as the difference between manslaughter and that of murder. They may not have been able to prove intentional poisoning but could prove a non lethal degradation of the quality of the water that was not intentional but still caused by the company's actions. I am not a lawyer and am only guessing at the specifics of the case.


#20

I dont want to throw cold water on this ruling, but the $4.2 million total is pretty much chump-change compared to the money they spend on just one well. It is certainly not enough to be punitive. At the peak of the shale-gas boom, they were routinely paying-off families to the tune of a hundreds of thousands of dollars (provided they sign a lifetime gag order that they have sometimes tried extend to include the lifetimes of their children** - for all anyone knows successfully - save one well-publicized case***) here in the opposite corner of the state.

It is certainly not punitive. What has punished them the most is the current natural gas supply glut and price crash. (Chesapeake's CEO down on Oklahoma even committed suicide using his big SUV) But, with all the coal power plants shutting down - replaced mostly by gas, prices will eventually rise and they will be back.


**Like that nasty vindictive God in the Protestant version of the 1st Commandment, save a few generations.

*** Even mentioning the existence of a gag order (or mentioning the existence of a gag on mentioning the existence of a gag order...ad infinitum) is a violation of the gag order!