Kenneth Klemm

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently issued an opinion ruling in favor of Cameron International Corporation and certifying a question to the Texas Supreme Court on issues arising out of an insurance dispute filed against Liberty Insurance Underwriters, Inc. In its ruling, the court considered several issues connected to Liberty’s refusal to fund a settlement between Cameron and BP and Liberty’s refusal to waive subrogation against BP. (more…)

The Town of Abita Springs filed a suit on December 1, 2014, seeking a declaratory judgment to block the drilling of an oil and gas well about 40 miles north of New Orleans into the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale. Earlier this year, Helis Oil & Gas Company, LLC requested and obtained a unitization order from the Louisiana Office of Conservation. In September 2014, Helis applied for a permit to drill, and the Office of Conservation held a public hearing in November but has not yet issued the permit. The new suit contends that the construction of a well pad and related structures, along with the well itself, will violate local zoning ordinances as the site has been zoned for residential use. Moreover, the suit contends that the drilling activities will cause detrimental impacts to the surrounding residential areas and a high school located near the proposed site. Finally, the town alleges that the well may pose a “risk of contamination” to an aquifer that serves as a source of drinking water for the town. (more…)

A jury in Dallas County, Texas, awarded nearly $3 million on April 22, 2014, in a suit contending that Aruba Petroleum, Inc., as well as other operators and service providers, had caused “environmental contamination and polluting events” through its drilling, hydraulic fracturing and production activities.  In Parr v. Aruba Petroleum, Inc., a jury in Texas’ Dallas County Court-at-Law heard evidence that due to the operation of some 22 wells within two miles of a 40-acre ranch owned by Bob and Lisa Parr, the plaintiffs and their daughter had experienced a number of health problems and suffered property damage. (more…)

The issue of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, continues to be an integral part of the debate over national energy policy. With the release on January 4th of the movie Promised Land, it does not appear the debate will subside any time soon. Matt Damon, one of the movie’s stars, has stated in at least one interview that the “jury” remains out on what the science will say about fracking. Nevertheless, a survey of recent case law indicates that judges appear to be less than impressed with the claims brought thus far.  For more information about legal disputes involving fracking, see a recent National Law Journal article by clicking here.