In what may be the first hydraulic fracturing case to reach final judgment, a court in Denver, Colorado has dismissed the plaintiffs' claims on summary judgment, citing a lack of evidence. The case, Strudley v. Antero Resources Corporation, was filed in state court on behalf of a family of four. The Strudleys alleged that they had suffered various health problems before moving out of their home in Silt, Colorado. The Strudleys asserted that their alleged health problems were caused by exposure to contaminated air and water, and that the alleged contamination was caused by the defendants' oil and gas activities, including hydraulic fracturing.
In its judgment, the court noted that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission had conducted an investigation and concluded that the Strudleys' water supply had not been affected by oil and gas operations. Further, the plaintiffs' own environmental expert could go no further than to state that the results of his analyses of the plaintiffs' water supply "could be consistent with contamination from gas well chemicals or production waters." He could not state an opinion that the defendants' activities had actually caused any contamination.
The court also noted that the Strudleys' medical expert reached "no opinion as to whether exposure was a contributing factor to Plaintiffs' alleged injury or illness." The medical expert could only state that the plaintiffs' symptoms coincided in time with the defendants' wells being brought into production.
The court's judgment dismissing the case was signed last week, on May 9, 2012.
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The family plans to appeal the ruling.
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