Court dismisses toxic tort case arising from hydraulic fracturing activities

published in McAfee & Taft RegLINC | July 1, 2012

By Jessica John Bowman

A state court judge in Denver, Colorado, recently dismissed a toxic tort action brought against three entities involved in the drilling and completion of natural gas wells in Silt, Colorado. The case, Strudley v. Antero Resources Corp., No. 2011 CV 2218, was brought by a group of plaintiffs who alleged that the defendant drilling companies had tortiously caused their vaguely described “health injuries.” According to the plaintiffs, these injuries allegedly resulted from the plaintiffs’ exposure to air and water contaminated by the defendants’ drilling activities. The court, cognizant of the burden associated with defending a toxic tort action, required the plaintiffs to make a prima facie showing of exposure and causation at the outset of their case.

After reviewing the facts produced by the plaintiffs, the court concluded that the plaintiffs had failed to set forth evidence to support their claim that they had been exposed to the chemicals emitted during defendants’ drilling activities, or that their injuries had been caused by that exposure.

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