Friday, October 9, 2015

Texas Court of Appeals Addresses Nuisance Claims over illness and property damages allegedly caused by drilling operations

On October 7, 2015, the Texas Fourth Court of Appeals affirmed a District Court’s ruling that a family failed to establish that their illness and property damages were caused by nearby property oil and gas drilling operations.

In May 2013, plaintiffs brought an action seeking personal injury compensatory and punitive damages from Marathon Oil Corporation and Plains Exploration & Producing Company in tort actions. Plaintiffs claimed that the companies had negligently operated their oilfield and, as a result, impaired plaintiffs’ health conditions and property value. Plaintiffs alleged that “[t]he constant traffic, dust, strong odors, and noise radically altered the lifestyle previously enjoyed by the plaintiffs and made the enjoyment of their outdoor activities impossible.” Defendants filed no-evidence and traditional motions for summary judgment arguing that plaintiffs did not have any causes of action.

The Karnes County District Court granted defendants’ motions for summary judgment and concluded that plaintiffs did not establish sufficient medical and scientific evidence that their health problems were caused by oil field emissions. Plaintiffs appealed the District Court’s decision.

The Texas Court of Appeals reasoned that the plaintiffs failed to exclude other potential causes for their health issues and property loss of value.

Further information on this case is available at docket no. 04-14-00650-CV.

Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow


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