DeSmog

Breaking: $3 Million Jury Verdict in Texas Fracking Nuisance Case

Brendan DeMelle DeSmog
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A jury in Dallas, TX today awarded $2.925 million to plaintiffs Bob and Lisa Parr, who sued Barnett shale fracking company Aruba Petroleum Inc. for intentionally causing a nuisance on the Parr’s property which impacted their health and ruined their drinking water.

The jury returned its 5-1 verdict confirming that Aruba Petroleum “intentionally created a private nuisance” though its drilling, fracking and production activities at 21 gas wells near the Parrs’ Wise County home over a three-year period between 2008-2011.

Plaintiffs attorneys claimed the case is “the first fracking verdict in U.S. history.” 

The trial lasted two and a half weeks. Aruba Petroleum plans to appeal the verdict.

The pollution from natural gas production near the Parrs’ Wise County home was so bad that they were forced to flee their 40-acre property for months at a time.  

The Parrs were represented by attorneys David Matthews, Brad Gilde and Rich Capshaw.

They’re vindicated,” said Mr. Matthews. “I’m really proud of the family that went through what they went through and said, ‘I’m not going to take it anymore. It takes guts to say, ‘I’m going to stand here and protect my family from an invasion of our right to enjoy our property.’ It’s not easy to go through a lawsuit and have your personal life uncovered and exposed to the extent this family went through.”

According to Mr. Matthews’ blog post, the verdict included $275,000 for the Parr’s property loss of market value and $2 million for past physical pain and suffering by Bob and Lisa Parr and their daughter,  $250,000 for future physical pain and suffering, $400,000 for past mental anguish.

The Parrs’ petition to the court is attached below. The case was Parr v. Aruba Petroleum, Inc., No. 11-1650 (Dallas Co. Ct. at Law, filed Mar. 2011)

 Image credit: Fracking via Shutterstock

Below is a slideshow of photos taken by Julie Dermansky of fracking activities in the Barnett Shale.

Brendan DeMelle DeSmog
Brendan is Executive Director of DeSmog. He is also a freelance writer and researcher specializing in media, politics, climate change and energy. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Grist, The Washington Times and other outlets.

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