HOUSTON — A federal judge in Texas on Aug. 10 ruled that although shareholders in a securities class action against a hydraulic fracturing company and three of its senior executives sufficiently pleaded the necessary elements of their federal securities law claims against some of the defendants, they failed to properly plead that the defendants’ substantial compliance statements were actionable or that one of the defendants acted with the requisite scienter.
NEW ORLEANS — A panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 19 issued the mandate in which it reversed a lower court and held that a hydraulic fracturing company violated federal law when it terminated the employment of three workers during the COVID-19 pandemic without providing advanced notice, denying the fracking operator’s petition for rehearing en banc.
OKLAHOMA CITY — A hydraulic fracturing company on Aug. 2 filed a brief in Oklahoma federal court contending that it should dismiss a landowner’s case in which he alleges that the company “orchestrated a scheme” to defraud him and violate his fracking lease because those are “baseless inflammatory accusations” and the landowner has not actually pleaded any of those claims. The company also argues that the claims fail based on an order of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A congresswoman from New York on Aug. 3 introduced legislation that would direct the secretary of Energy to restrict certain grants to any state that has in effect a law prohibiting hydraulic fracturing.
BOISE, Idaho — A hydraulic fracturing company on July 21 filed a brief in Idaho federal court as an intervenor defendant, arguing that the court should deny partial summary judgment to environmental groups that allege that federal agencies violated the law when they issued fracking leases across the Interior West.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A drilling company on July 15 filed a reply brief in Ohio federal court contending that it should dismiss a mineral rights purchasing company’s case against the driller because Ohio does not recognize the plaintiff’s theory that fractured pieces of earth and injectate from a hydraulic fracturing well traveled into the plaintiff’s property.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The state of North Dakota on July 22 moved in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to intervene in a lawsuit related to the sale of federal hydraulic fracturing leases, contending that the state should be allowed to intervene “to protect its significant rights and economic interests” in connection with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) approval of the sale of 173 oil and gas lease parcels for fracking on 144,000 acres of public lands across eight western states.
HOUSTON — On Aug. 3, an equity fund sued a hydraulic fracturing company in Texas federal court contending that it committed securities fraud through the “sustained and intentional abuse” of the corporate form known as a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), which misled investors regarding a merger with another fracking company.
DALLAS — A Texas appeals panel on Aug. 1 affirmed a lower court ruling that awarded a hydraulic fracturing operator $33,639,000 for the city of Dallas’ regulatory taking related to a fracking lease between the parties that eventually expired because the city, through protracted bureaucratic wrangling, actually denied the permit needed to drill pursuant to the lease.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Aug. 2, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied a petition for review filed by an environmental group that had challenged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) approval of a company’s certificate to acquire an existing pipeline system and to construct two other pipeline segments, concluding that FERC’s analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was “adequate.”
BILLINGS, Mont. — The U.S. government on July 29 filed a brief in Montana federal court contending that its drinking water contamination lawsuit against a pipeline company is not barred by the company’s previous settlement with the state of Montana regarding the damage caused by the rupture of a pipeline that polluted the Yellowstone River.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Chevron USA Inc., a proposed intervenor defendant, on July 28 filed a brief arguing that a District of Columbia federal court should dismiss a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), contending that the environmental groups that challenge the DOI’s approval of 3,535 applications for permit for drill (APDs) for hydraulic fracturing lack standing and fail to assert any particularized or concrete injury.
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Aug. 1 approved a stipulated settlement and dismissed with prejudice a lawsuit brought by environmental groups seeking to prevent hydraulic fracturing in California’s southern Central Coast and Central Valley region while the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) defers lease sales for fracking in that region in order to prepare a supplement to a previous environmental impact statement (EIS) in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
GREAT FALLS, Mont.— Two hydraulic fracturing companies on July 26 filed a brief in Montana federal court saying it should dismiss environmental groups’ federal lease lawsuit against the Secretary of the Interior because the groups lack constitutional standing to seek cancellation of existing real property interests and contracts “under the guise” of claims brought under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) challenging a final agency action.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Landowners with water pollution claims related to hydraulic fracturing moved with the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) on July 22 to stay an order sanctioning them for bad faith and harassment against a fracking operator until the conclusion of pending appeals in related cases that challenge the order on due process grounds.
FORT WORTH, Texas — A company that provides services to hydraulic fracturing operators on July 22 sued an oil and gas company in Texas federal court, contending that it breached the contract between the parties when it failed to pay for services rendered.
ATLANTA — A panel of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 22 affirmed a summary judgment ruling in favor of a pipeline company, ruling that residents who had contended that their drinking water was contaminated from a pipeline leak failed to establish causation.
BISMARCK, N.D. — A North Dakota Indian tribe on July 8 appealed to the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals a federal court’s grant of summary judgment to the Department of the Interior (DOI) and an energy development company on the tribe’s claims that the government acted arbitrarily in issuing permits for a hydraulic fracturing drilling project.
DENVER — The U.S. government on July 1 filed a brief in Colorado federal court contending that it should deny a discovery motion filed by property owners with whom the government is engaged in a mineral rights dispute because the landowners have not carried their burden to demonstrate that they have a legal entitlement to jurisdictional discovery, and the government says the requests themselves are “overbroad.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A hydraulic fracturing operator on July 8 filed a petition in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking review of an order issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that dismissed the operator’s complaints against a pipeline company for failing to fulfill its contract to transport fracked gas.