West Virginia Record

Friday, January 24, 2020

Antero files to remove suit over contaminated water from torn frac pit liner to federal court

State Court

By Kyla Asbury | Dec 12, 2019

Scales

CLARKSBURG – A lawsuit against Antero Resources over allegations of contaminated groundwater was removed to federal court.

Antero sought to have the lawsuit removed to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia at Clarksburg, arguing that there was complete diversity between the parties and the amount in controversy exceeded $75,000.

"Plaintiffs have made pre-suit settlement demands to Antero, which demands were in excess of $75,000," the notice states. "Antero has a good faith belief that the value of the compensatory damages demanded alone exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs."

David W. Hill, Suellen H. Hill and Elizabeth Hill filed the lawsuit against Antero Resources Corp. alleging that in 2009 they entered into a surface use agreement to construct horizontal gas wells on their property in Harrison County, according to the complaint initially filed in Harrison Circuit Court.

As a result of Antero's alleged negligence in the drilling operation and in violation of state laws, the frac pit liner tore on July 24, 2011, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim their water source was contaminated and their real estate was contaminated as a result of the defendants' negligence.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection issued an order to cease operations in 2012 as a result of the breach in the frac pit liner. Several consent orders were also filed to correct the surface and water issues, which were restored within two years and detailed sampling was ordered.

The plaintiffs claim water tests showed that the water was not returned to the pre-drill quality and their new water system is not comparable to the previous one.

Antero also failed to clean pollutants from the plaintiffs' soil, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are represented by Stephen A. Wickland of Wickland Law.

Antero is represented by W. Henry Lawrence, Lauren K. Turner, Shaina D. Massie and Donald C. Sinclair II of Steptoe & Johnson.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number 1:19-cv-00211

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U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia Clarksburg Division

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