Jury Awards $2.9 Million to Texas Family over Fracking Nuisance Claims

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Gas Drilling Public LandsA jury in Dallas County, Texas awarded $2.9 million to a family who alleged that fracking activity by Aruba Petroleum, Inc. had caused personal injury and property damages. According to Mondaq.com, the verdict awards $2.25 million for past and future physical pain and suffering and $400,000 for mental anguish; $275,000 was awarded in property damages for the loss of the market value of their property.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is a highly debated process that extracts natural gas from rock formations by blasting them with large volumes of water mixed with a cocktail of chemicals; many of them are believed to be hazardous and carcinogenic. Fracking has raised concerns about water contamination, man-made earthquakes, and other health and environmental concerns related to fracking. There is also concern about how to handle the large volumes of wastewater that result from fracking.

The Parr family, comprised of a couple and their minor daughter, had sued Aruba, who was engaged in fracking operations on property adjoining the Parrs’ ranch lying on top of the Barnett Shale-formation. The family sued for illnesses that were allegedly caused by exposure to a number of fracking chemicals, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene. Their lawsuit alleged that they were exposed to a number of hazardous gases, chemicals and industrial waste that made them ill and made it difficult for them to live in their home; Aruba has 22 wells located within a two-mile radius of their land.