Mealey's Fracking

  • October 26, 2023

    Panel Denies Landowners’ Bid For An Injunction In Mountain Valley Pipeline Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has denied an emergency motion for injunctive relief sought by private landowners who object to the route of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).

  • October 25, 2023

    Company Tells 6th Circuit Lower Court Erroneously Interpreted Land Deed

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — An energy company filed an appellant brief in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that a lower court erroneously interpreted the scope of a reservation of oil and gas in a deed when it dismissed the company’s claims in a complex mineral rights dispute and held that the company did not have claims to specific tracts of land.

  • October 25, 2023

    Judge Says Portion Of PFAS Pollution Case Related To Fracking Wells May Proceed

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — A judge on the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) has partially dismissed a landowner’s lawsuit against the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), ruling that the EHB lacks jurisdiction over claims that the DEP failed to take action to deal with water contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) but concluding that the landowner’s claim that the “drilling, alteration or operation of oil or gas wells” played a role in contaminating his water supply was valid (Bryan Latkanich v. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, et al., No. 2023-043-B, Pa. EHB).

  • October 25, 2023

    Fracking Operator Removes Lease Dispute Valued At $100,000 To Federal Court

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A hydraulic fracturing operator has removed to Ohio federal court a lease dispute in which landowners contend that the company owes them $100,000 because it breached the agreement between the parties when it failed to pay the full bonus amount due under the contract (William E. Davis, et al. v. Gulfport Appalachia LLC, No. 23-3448, S.D. Ohio).

  • October 24, 2023

    Fracking Operator: Shareholder Case Fails, Does Not Plead Particularized Facts

    HOUSTON — A hydraulic fracturing operator and three of its senior executives filed an answer in Texas federal court denying class action claims brought by shareholders who contend that the company and its officers violated federal securities laws.  The defendants also argue that the complaint fails to satisfy the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA) by not pleading particularized facts showing that the defendants made material misstatements.

  • October 23, 2023

    Owner Of Automated Fracking Patent Says Tech Is Novel, Valid

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a new appeal to the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, U.S. Well Services Inc. (USWS) says its patented method for automating hydraulic fracturing “addresses many of the problems stemming from” human “powering and coordinating” of hydraulic fracturing operations and was wrongly declared anticipated and obvious by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

  • October 20, 2023

    Fracking Advocates Say Ruling On President Biden’s Lease Moratorium Is Moot

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Hydraulic fracturing advocates have moved in Alaska federal court for vacatur of the court’s ruling granting summary judgment to the Biden administration in a dispute over the president’s moratorium on federal fracking leases, arguing that the claims in the case are now moot because the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has canceled the leases and the cancellation constitutes a new final agency action.

  • October 18, 2023

    Chief Bankruptcy Judge Stripped Of Cases After Attorney Relationship Disclosed

    HOUSTON — A chief bankruptcy judge who served as a HONX Inc. asbestos bankruptcy mediator and oversaw a fracking bankruptcy will no longer hear cases after the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals filed an official complaint against him in the wake of the disclosure of a romantic relationship with a lawyer employed by counsel that appeared before him.

  • October 17, 2023

    Louisiana, Energy Companies: Injunction Ruling On Federal Lease Sale Was Correct

    NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana and energy companies have filed a brief in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that a lower court “acted well within its discretion” when it granted a preliminary injunction that prevented a federal agency from implementing changes to the process by which it conducted the competitive sealed-bid auction of offshore oil-and-gas leases known as Lease Sale 261.

  • October 16, 2023

    Supreme Court Grants Certiorari In 2nd Challenge To Chevron Deference

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 13 granted a petition for a writ of certiorari in a second case challenging the doctrine of Chevron deference and ordered that it be briefed on a schedule allowing argument “in tandem” with a pending case pertaining to the same issue, both of which involve challenges to regulations that require fishing vessels to pay federal monitors.

  • October 06, 2023

    Company ‘Improperly’ Disputes Class Certification In Fraud Case, Investors Say

    HOUSTON — Shareholders in a class action against a hydraulic fracturing company and three of its senior executives filed a sur-reply brief in Texas federal court arguing that the fracking operator seeks to “improperly turn class certification into summary judgment on an incomplete record by repeatedly filing selective excerpts of deposition testimony on disputed factual issues that have no bearing on whether a class may be certified.”

  • October 06, 2023

    Ohio High Court Sets Date For Arguments In Case Over Meaning Of ‘Utica Shale’

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Supreme Court has set a date for oral argument for a hydraulic fracturing lease case in which the parties dispute the definition of what constitutes the “formation commonly known as the Utica Shale.”  The mineral rights owner in the case contends that the fracking companies drilled beyond the shale formation in violation of the lease agreement.

  • October 05, 2023

    Judge Rules Individual Lease Interpretations Apply In Mineral Rights Dispute

    CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A federal judge in West Virginia has denied an attempt to consolidate multiple cases brought by mineral rights holders against a hydraulic fracturing operator, ruling that “individual oil and gas lease interpretations are required” to determine whether the controlling law has been satisfied in each of the separate cases.

  • October 04, 2023

    Company Insists It May Drill Traverse Well On Federal Land Without A Permit

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. — An oil company filed a reply brief in Wyoming federal court contending that it should conduct judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and arguing that it should declare that the company has rights under the existing split estate such that it can drill a traverse well through land owned and managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

  • October 04, 2023

    Energy Company:  3rd Circuit Should Reverse Dismissal Of Fracking Fraud Case

    PHILADELPHIA — An energy company has filed an appeal brief in the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that it should reverse a district court’s summary judgment opinion that held that the company’s lawsuit for fraud related to the purchase of oil and gas assets in the Marcellus Shale formation was barred by the statute of limitations because the opinion “erroneously lays out the factual background as if this were a contract matter rather than a fraud action.”

  • October 04, 2023

    Company:  Mineral Rights Group’s Counterclaims Barred By Doctrine Of Unclean Hands

    YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — An energy company has answered in Ohio federal court a mineral rights company’s counterclaim, denying claims of mismanagement and contending that the counterclaim is barred by the doctrine of unclean hands.

  • October 04, 2023

    Groups: Court Should Strike Willow Project Parties’ Extra-Record Documents

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A coalition of environmental groups and Native Americans on Oct. 3 filed a brief in Alaska federal court arguing that it should strike extra-record materials submitted by intervenor defendants in a dispute over hydraulic fracturing operations in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska as part of what is known as the Willow Project.  The groups say the intervenors fail to carry their burden to demonstrate that submission of their extra-record documents was proper.

  • October 03, 2023

    Fracking Operator:  Documents Must Be Produced As They Form Basis Of Complaint

    WHEELING, W.Va. — A hydraulic fracturing operator filed a reply brief in West Virginia federal court arguing that it should grant the company’s motion to compel production of documents that are directly related to the factual support of landowners’ claims in an abandoned wells dispute because it says the documents in question form the basis of the complaint against the company.

  • October 03, 2023

    Companies Deny Breaching Lease Related To Royalty Payments

    WHEELING, W.Va. — Two energy companies on Oct. 2 filed amended answers to an amended complaint in a hydraulic fracturing mineral rights dispute in West Virginia federal court, denying that they breached a duty related to the lease agreement between the parties that pertains to specific drilling practices and allegations that they diminished the plaintiffs’ royalty payments.

  • September 20, 2023

    Panel Says Federal Court Has Jurisdiction Over Fracking Royalty Dispute

    DENVER — A panel of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 19 affirmed a lower court ruling that denied a motion to remand a class action for oil and gas royalties related to hydraulic fracturing to state court, ruling that the lower court has jurisdiction due to the amount in controversy in the litigation, which the panel said was “roughly $35.4 million.”

  • September 19, 2023

    Mineral Rights Owners Say Dismissal Of Royalty Claim Is Unwarranted

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mineral rights owners on Sept. 18 filed a brief in Ohio federal court contending that it should not dismiss their complaint against a hydraulic fracturing operator because their declaratory judgment claim is distinct from their breach of contract claim with regard to their allegations that the company underpaid royalties.

  • September 19, 2023

    Group Says Long Beach Drilling Plan Should Be Halted Pending Environmental Review

    LOS ANGELES — The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) sued the city of Long Beach, Calif., its city council and the state lands commission in state court seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to “consider, analyze, and publicly disclose the environmental impacts” related to the city’s plan to conduct drilling activities, including hydraulic fracturing, on four artificial islands designed to mask active oil and gas drilling operations.

  • September 19, 2023

    10 Congressional Members Say DOI Improperly Altered Area For Fracking Lease Sale

    LAKE CHARLES, La. — Ten members of the Congress have filed an amicus curiae brief in Louisiana federal court supporting Louisiana in its lawsuit for a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) based on allegations that the agency violated federal law when it removed millions of acres from an oil and gas lease sale and imposed “additional and burdensome vessel-travel restrictions on the remaining acreage.”

  • September 18, 2023

    Government Urges High Court To Uphold ‘Bedrock Principle’ Of Chevron Deference

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. secretary of Commerce, two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (collectively, the government) urge the U.S. Supreme Court in a Sept. 15 brief to not overrule the doctrine of Chevron deference in a challenge to fishery regulations that were upheld by the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, writing that doing so could “cause disruption” to complex federal regulatory schemes.

  • September 08, 2023

    Panel:  Fracking Operator Holds Mineral Rights Due To Expiration Of Previous Lease

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — An appellate panel in Pennsylvania has affirmed a lower court’s ruling and held that a hydraulic fracturing operator holds the mineral rights to a parcel of property because the previous lease held by landowners expired.

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