Monday, January 4, 2016

Oklahoma District Court Denies Motion to Dismiss Seismic Claim Lawsuit By Rejecting Statute of Limitations Defense

On December 18, 2015, the District Court of Lincoln County in Oklahoma denied motions to dismiss a lawsuit over seismic damage claims against two oil and gas companies. The companies alleged that the time limit for filing the lawsuit had expired.

On August 4, 2014, Sandra Ladra, an Oklahoma resident, filed a lawsuit with the Lincoln County district court against New Dominion LLC and Spess Company to recover damages. She alleged that their wastewater injection well activities triggered three earthquakes of great magnitude in November 2011 and claimed that she was seriously injured by one of these earthquakes.

In response to the motions to dismiss, Ms. Ladra argued that “the statute of limitations was tolled until March of 2013 when [she] learned of the alleged causal connection between the subject earthquake and the Defendants’ actions.” The District Court overruled Defendants’ motions to dismiss holding that the discovery rule exception extends the statutory deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit. The District Court however held that “the Defendants will be allowed to re-urge the affirmative defense of statute of limitations in a motion for summary judgment.”

Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow

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