UPDATE Dec 2014 a REAL lawsuit has been filed, thanks to Dory for the details…keep an eye on this case!!!!!
update… here is another attorney willing to take on cases related to injury from drilling. BTEX has been used in fracking chemicals, it is also normally occurring down from the bowels of our earth where drilling brings it back up and BTEX is also in diesel which is the fuel of choice for gas & oil mining. BTEX volatilizes and can travel up to 180- 200 miles.
Some attorneys tend to hover like vultures, preying on those in need of a bone to pick. But folks needing representation were “praying” for attorneys that are interested in helping them. Such is the case with Pennsylvania-based law firm Marcus and Mack. They specialize in representing all types of property ownership who have a “concern for the plummeting value…that results from nearby gas drilling.” http://www.marcusandmack.com/Chemical-Exposure/Loss-of-Property-Value-Due-to-Marcellus-Shale-Drilling.shtml
Mortgage lenders may also have grounds to sue for breach of contract for those that signed mineral leases and did not get permission from their lender. “Besides refinancing hurdles that may arise, real estate professionals say it also might make it more difficult to sell your home and devalue your home.” http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2011/10/25/natural-gas-drilling-near-homes-raise-red-flags&WT.cg_n=RMO&WT.cg_s=RSSDaily The New York Times article speaks of a report that “… described various conflicts between leases and mortgages over such things as minimum distances between gas wells and homes and the construction of wastewater ponds.” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/20/us/rush-to-drill-for-gas-creates-mortgage-conflicts.html?pagewanted=all
Recently at Last Thursday’s NCTCA meeting in FT Worth, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mnFuXnLX0E I met an attorney from Tyler, TX who is accepting participants in a class-action lawsuit for injunctive relief from the likes of Haliburton or Schlumberger’s controversial hydrofracking process to have a court order for them to clean up their act. Blake Henry Bailey of http://www.nofracktexas.com/ has an online form for the “Poisoning of people and animals, causing depreciated value of land and violating several federal statues.”
Andrew Reinbach, a journalist for the Huffington Post, suggests suing your neighbor for anticipatory nuisance to prevent drilling from ever starting, especially if your neighbor signed a lease and you didn’t. Reinbach’s argument is that your neighbor inadvertently devalues your property by allowing drilling on his, and that by doing so, it impedes on your right of quiet enjoyment.“It’s just Real Estate 101,” says the co-chair of one of the American Bar Association’s practice groups. “I’m surprised nobody’s using it now.
In Texas where conventional drilling has always been the back drop in many a photo op, you may not realize your property tax liability relief from property devaluation unless you actively seek a judgement. http://www.dentonrc.com/sharedcontent/dws/drc/localnews/stories/DRC_DrillValues_0918.1046e9a00.html The Denton Chronicle reported that the 2010 tax rolls had a 10 acre ranch valued at $257,330, but is now worth 75% less than that after an independent appraiser valued it. “I wouldn’t sell it for $78,000,” said Patsy Slimp, a board member and former real estate agent. “I could not sell this house in a clear conscience.” The owners, Tim and Christine Ruggiero of Decatur, told their split estate story on 60 Minutes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2M-aDanmIYQ&feature=player_embedded
For health reasons, the Ruggiero’s no longer live on the Barnett Shale and joined the former Mayor of Dish TX, Calvin Tillman, in relocating their family. They along with Sharon Wilson of the Oil and Gas Accountable Project who also relocated, were also at last Thursday’s meeting and have confirmed with me that land is exponentially more expensive per acre to buy when you move off of the Barnett Shale. I sure hope this doesn’t come to a zero sum game when it comes to property valuations “on verses off” the shale.