A Texas family claiming emissions from gas drilling made them sick is one step closer to collecting a $3 million jury award against the drilling company, Aruba Petroleum.
When the Parr family of Wise County won their case, it was called the first successful “fracking lawsuit” in the county. Aruba asked Dallas County Judge Mark Greenberg to throw out the three million dollar verdict. But late Thursday Greenberg denied that motion.
The case is important because drilling companies often reach out-of-court settlements with plaintiffs. Those can include gag orders. This time there was no settlement, so the details of the Parrs’ sickness, including nosebleeds, rashes and stomach problems were made public.
The case is being closely watch by industry and groups opposed to fracking.
Tom McGarity, a law professor at UT Austin calls the judge’s ruling “a bad precedent for the industry.”
“I think there are plaintiffs’ lawyers out there right now that are looking at this case and saying this is a really opportunity here to raise claims by people who have been damaged either in their property values or health,” he says.
In a statement released after the judges ruling, Aruba petroleum said it planned to file additional post-verdict motions. If the company chooses to appeal, the process could continue for years.