Suit over proposed Marcellus Shale wells settled

By John O'Brien | Jun 10, 2013

WHEELING – The owners of 116 acres in Marshall County have settled their lawsuit against Chesapeake Appalachia and Statoil USA Onshore Properties that alleged damage to their property.

On June 7, U.S. District Judge Frederick Stamp dismissed the lawsuit brought by David and Sharon Hall, noting a resolution of claims made in a complaint filed Jan. 15.

The case was originally filed in Marshall County Circuit Court and was removed to federal court in February.

In it, the Halls claimed their property was harmed after the defendants began conducting surface operations on it with the intention of drilling oil and gas wells.

The complaint says the defendants used almost seven acres of the property for their operations, and a slip has developed that begins at the well pad site.

“(T)he plaintiffs have suffered damages including… a destruction of timber and crops, a diminution in value of their surface lands, and an inability to use the land as it was intended and used previously,” the complaint says.

“To date, the defendants have neither reclaimed Plaintiffs’ property nor have they compensated Plaintiffs for the damages to the same.”

The Halls say the defendants failed to ensure that fill dirt was secure in and on the pad site and negligently failed to properly drain the pad site.

“Defendants’ operations have further resulted in additional acreage being damaged and rendered unusable by the plaintiffs,” the complaint says.

“The use of this amount of the plaintiffs’ property is unreasonable and not needed to obtain the oil and gas within and underlying Plaintiffs’ property.”

The Halls were represented by Eric M. Gordon of Berry, Kessler, Crutchfield, Taylor & Gordon in Moundsville.

Chesapeake Appalachia and Statoil removed the case to federal court, arguing that the amount in controversy was greater than $75,000.

“Plaintiffs’ complaint seeks, among other damages, declaratory and injunctive relief relating to one existing and five proposed Marcellus Shale wells on their property,” the removal notice says.

Representing the defendants were Allison J. Farrell and James C. Wright of Steptoe & Johnson.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at

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