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Texas Couple Wins Gas Wells Lawsuit

June 27th, 2014

A couple in Parker County, Texas, won $36,000 in a gas wells lawsuit against Titan Operating Company. The suit showed that Titan placed natural gas wells less than 100 yards from the Marsden home and neglected to fence off the drill site, did not restore the property to its original condition and did not provide mufflers to reduce the noise. The jury voted 10-2 in favor of the plaintiffs, finding that Titan failed to honor prior statements citing that their gas wells would not create traffic jams, noise nuisances, and other disruptions.

Neighbor Also Named in Gas Wells Lawsuit

Titan undertook the drilling efforts on a property neighboring the Marsdens’. The neighbor, Norma Miller, was also named in the original gas wells lawsuit in 2012, but the Marsdens eventually dropped the suit against her. In the 2012 allegations, Mr. Marsden claimed that Ms. Miller would take actions to protect the land values of the surrounding homeowners. Her actions consisted primarily of installing wood slats in the chain link fence and applying green paint to the pipes and water tank for the drill site.

Flooding, Traffic Spur Gas Wells Lawsuit

The drill site created a number of nuisances at the Marsdens’ home and other surrounding properties, according to the gas wells lawsuit. Mr. Marsden claims that the area became susceptible to floods due to poor grading on the roads, a violation of the Texas Water Code. The site also contributed to traffic difficulties, as the road where the property sits is not wide enough to accommodate both residential vehicles and the heavy trucks that move to and from the site.

Gas Wells Lawsuit May Be First of Many

The win for the Marsdens in the gas wells lawsuit against Titan may reflect an increasing trend. In years past, laws in Texas and other energy-producing states have been slanted toward the drillers. When he initiated the suit, Mr. Marsden acknowledged that the oil companies “have all the money and all the power and pretty much do what they want.” The odds against the suit’s success did not sway him, as he told a local newspaper, “There’s a swell of people getting fed up.”

Sources: Weatherford DemocratFort Worth Star Telegram

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