MUSKOGEE, Okla. — A federal judge in Oklahoma on March 21 issued three separate opinions in one case pertaining to hydraulic fracturing lease disputes with three different groups of leaseholders. In two of the opinions, the judge denied fracking companies’ motions to dismiss; in the third, the judge dismissed the leaseholders’ claim (Dorsey J. Reirdon v. Cimarex Energy Company, et al., No. 16-445, E.D Okla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46984).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on March 19 ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) failed to take a “hard look” at the impact its approval of hydraulic fracturing drilling leases would have on climate change and enjoined the agency from authorizing more drilling in Wyoming while the BLM satisfies its obligations under federal law (WildEarth Guardians, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, No. 16-1724, D. D.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44995).
SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon House of Representatives on March 18 voted 42-12 to pass a bill that bans hydraulic fracturing in the state for until 2030.
SAN ANTONIO — An appellate panel in Texas on March 13 affirmed in part and reversed in part a lower court’s ruling and determined that under disputed hydraulic fracturing leases, compensatory royalty is calculated by the royalty share of gross proceeds of production from the entirety of an adjacent well (Stanton P. Bell, et al. v. Chesapeake Energy Corporation, et al., No. 04-18-00129, Texas App., 4th Dist., 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 1978).
FORT WORTH, Texas — A federal bankruptcy judge in Texas on March 11 ruled that a trustee could not recover what she claimed was a fraudulent transfer from a debtor to a couple that had invested in his hydraulic fracturing water treatment company because the trustee failed to show the existence of a genuine dispute with respect to the debtor’s actual intent to hinder or delay any entity to which he was indebted (Marilyn Garner v. Richard Sherwood, et al. [In re: Gregory G. Jones], No. 16-41283, Adv. No. 18-04098, Chapter 7, N.D. Texas Bkcy., 2019 Bankr. LEXIS 795).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania appellate panel on March 5 affirmed a decision by a state property board and ruled that a landowner did not retain the rights to minerals under a parcel of land she had transferred to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (Sarah O’Layer McCready v. Department of Community and Economic Development, No. 778 CD 2018, Pa. Cmwlth., 2019 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 210).
HOUSTON — A group of investors on March 14 filed a class action securities lawsuit in a Texas federal court against a hydraulic fracturing company contending that it is liable under the Securities Exchange Act for material misstatements in proxy materials related to a corporate acquisition (Camelot Event Driven Fund v. Alta Mesa Resources Inc. f/k/a Silver Run Acquisition Corporation II, et al., No. 19-957, S.D. Texas).
HOUSTON — A technology company that makes plugs used in hydraulic fracturing wells sued another fracking plug company on Feb. 26, alleging that it has infringed the patents for several products (Downhole Technology LLC v. Maverick Downhole Technologies Inc., et al., No. 19-683, S.D. Texas).
PHILADELPHIA — A company seeking to build a pipeline to carry hydraulically fractured gas from Pennsylvania to New Jersey on March 12 filed a brief in the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that there is no danger that the state of New Jersey’s interest in conservation easements will be “imminently and irreparably” harmed given that the pipeline company is only conducting surveys and studies needed to comply with the federal order that approved the project (In re PennEast Pipeline Company LLC, No. 19-1192, 3rd Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pennsylvania landowners on March 13 filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court, contending that district courts are not empowered to enter preliminary injunctions giving private companies immediate possession of land before final judgment in condemnation proceedings under the Natural Gas Act (NGA) (Lynda Like, et al. v. Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company LLC, No. N/A, U.S. Sup.).
DENVER — The Colorado Supreme Court on March 11 sanctioned a former state appellate court judge for violating the Colorado Code of Judicial Conduct when she disclosed to an intimate, nonspousal partner confidential information regarding the vote of her appeals panel in a hydraulic fracturing lawsuit before the issuance of the decision in that case. The high court also sanctioned her for using “racially derogatory” language about a colleague (In re: Laurie A. Booras, No. 18SA83, Colo. Sup., 2019 Colo. LEXIS 208).
WICHITA FALLS, Texas — In a March 7 response, plaintiffs say a motion to dismiss their patent antitrust action, filed pursuant to Walker Process Equip. v. Food Mach. & Cham. Corp., 382 U.S. 172, 173-74, 86 S. Ct. 347, 15 L.Ed.2d 247 (1965), is “without merit” and “borders on frivolous” (Ronald Chandler et al., v. Phoenix Services LLC, No. 19-14, N.D. Texas).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania appellate panel on March 8 held that a borough’s zoning hearing board wrongly denied a challenge to an ordinance filed by a company seeking to convert a hydraulic fracturing well into an underground injection well for waste disposal (In re: Penneco Environmental Solutions, No. 931CD2018, Pa. Cmwlth., 2019 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 215).
SAN FRANCISCO — Two Native American tribes on March 6 filed an amicus curiae brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that it should deny a motion to stay an injunction filed by a pipeline company that wants to proceed with construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which the tribes say would threaten their land and water because it would transport hydraulically fractured oil (Indigenous Environmental Network, et al. v. United States Department of State, et al., No. 18-36068, 9th Cir.).
NEW CASTLE, Del. — A well services company on Feb. 12 filed an answer and counterclaim in Delaware state court, contending that the fracking sand company that sued it for breach of contract is not entitled to damages and instead is itself liable for breach of contract and tortious interference with business expectancy (Smart Sand Inc. v. U.S. Well Services LLC, No. N19C-01-144, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
DENVER — An environmental group on Feb. 11 filed a brief arguing that a Colorado federal court should issue a ruling that the state of Colorado does not have a compelling interest in allowing hydraulic fracturing companies to target the minerals of nonconsenting mineral owners through a practice referred to as “forced pooling” (Wildgrass Oil & Gas Committee v. State of Colorado, et al., No. 19-190, D. Colo.).
GULFPORT, Miss. — A federal judge in Mississippi on Feb. 13 denied a motion to reopen the bankruptcy proceeding of a hydraulic fracturing sand business, ruling that the company seeking to reopen the case lacked standing because its motion was filed nearly three years after the effective date of the bankruptcy plan and the company was not a creditor (Plant Materials LLC v. Alliance Consulting Group LLC, No. 18-105, S.D. Miss., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2327).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A federal judge in Arkansas on Feb. 25 ruled that a property company that sought to lease land for mining of hydraulic fracturing sand had established a case for breach of contract against the consultant it had hired because evidence indicated that the consultant helped a different company instead (Propst Properties LLC v. Rasool Mohammad, et al., No. 18-511, E.D. Ark., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29298).
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — A federal bankruptcy judge in Tennessee on Feb. 22 denied summary judgment to a group of investors who sued a debtor for failing to repay loans they made to his hydraulic fracturing sand mining business, ruling that genuine disputes regarding material facts remain in the case (Woodbourne Investments LLC, et al. v. Walter Schwab Irrevocable Trust [In re Jimmy Holland Boyd], Adv. No. 17-5015, Chapter 7, No. 17-50593, E.D. Tenn. Bkcy., 2019 Bankr. LEXIS 574).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump administration on Feb. 21 asked a judge in the District of Columbia federal court for more time to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by an environmental group that has requested records relating to the Mancos-Gallup Resource Management Plan (MGRMP) in order to analyze the effects of hydraulic fracturing on the Greater Chaco Region (Wildearth Guardians v. U.S. Department of the Interior, et al., No. 19-72, D. D.C.).