CLEVELAND — A federal judge in Ohio on March 23 granted class certification to a group of hydraulic fracturing leaseholders who claim that Chesapeake Exploration LLC breached its agreement with them by calculating royalties using an incorrect price and ruled that the plaintiffs’ experts met the requirements for inclusion in the case (Dale H. Henceroth, et al. v. Chesapeake Exploration LLC, No. 15-2591, N.D. Ohio; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48382).
DENVER — A federal magistrate judge in Colorado on March 9 defined disputed terms in a fracking patent dispute and determined that the patent in question was not invalid due to “indefiniteness,” as was argued by a company that was sued for patent infringement (Frac Shack Inc. v. Fuel Automation Station LLC, et al., No. 16-2275, D. Colo.; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39505).
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Environmental advocacy groups on March 16 filed a brief in Wyoming federal court contending that the court should proceed to adjudicate the merits of a lawsuit over the Methane and Waste Prevention Rule issued by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or dismiss the case (Wyoming, et al. v. United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 16-285, D. Wyo.).
NEW YORK — Two physicians groups released a report on March 13 in which they reach numerous conclusions, including the fact that growing evidence shows that regulations on hydraulic fracturing are “simply not capable of preventing harm” and “drilling and fracking contribute to toxic air pollution and smog (ground-level ozone) at levels known to have health impacts.”
WAUKESHA, Wis. — A Wisconsin appellate panel on March 20 reversed and remanded a breach of contract lawsuit related to sand used in hydraulic fracturing, ruling that men contracted to pay for sand and haul it away owe $43,710 plus interest in damages to the board that governs the state’s Lake Altoona District (Lake Altoona Rehabilitation and Protection District v. Arvid Jereczek, et al., No. 2016AP2165, Wis. App., Dist. 3; 2018 Wisc. App. LEXIS 331).
MARSHALL, Texas — A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on March 15 ruled in favor of a fracking company regarding its understanding of terms in a document related to a patent dispute and held that the parties should ensure that all testimony at trial that relates to disputed terms is “constrained by the Court’s reasoning” (Enerpol LLC v. Schlumberger Technology Corporation, No. 17-394, E.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42288).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report on March 16 stating that its investigation concluded that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did not use allegedly flawed studies to estimate methane emissions or set new source performance standards for oil and natural gas production.
DENVER — A federal judge in Colorado on Feb. 22 ruled that a company has shown that its claims meet the necessary requirements to prove that injunctive relief is necessary in granting the company’s motion for summary judgment in a trade secrets misappropriation lawsuit against former employees and a competitor (Arctic Energy Services LLC v. Dustin Neal, et al., No. 18-0108, D. Colo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28625).
DENVER — Attorneys for a hydraulic fracturing company and the law firm that represented a separate company in a transaction to purchase oil and gas interests on Jan. 9 presented oral arguments before the Colorado Supreme Court debating whether the law firm is liable for misrepresentation because there was an undisclosed principal for whom the purchase was being made (Rocky Mountain Exploration Inc. v. Davis Graham & Stubbs, No. 16SC305, Colo. Sup.).
NEW YORK — The Office of the New York Attorney General on March 9 sent a letter to the chief of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Leasing Program stating that it “strongly opposes” the federal program that proposes to lease areas of the OCS off the coast of New York for hydraulic fracturing and that the decision to open the area for oil and gas development would be “arbitrary and capricious.”
DENVER — A hydraulic fracturing company on March 2 filed a brief in the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, contending that the appeal of three environmental groups regarding the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) sale of oil and gas leases is “moot.” Specifically, the company says that the DOI followed federal law when it conducted the lease sale (Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, et al. v. U.S. Department of the Interior, et al., No. 17-4134, 10th Cir.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A federal judge in West Virginia on Feb. 14 ruled that hydraulic fracturing company was not required to produce oil and gas from the wells it acquired when the mineral rights were conveyed to it from one of the parties involved in the initial transaction, which established drilling rights and requirements (Statoil USA Onshore Properties Inc. v. Pine Resources LLC, No. 14-21169, S.D. W.Va.; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23936).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump administration on Feb. 15 filed a brief in District of Columbia federal court arguing that two consolidated cases alleging that the administration’s decision to shrink the boundaries of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is “unconstitutional, unlawful, and unauthorized” should be transferred to Utah federal court (Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2591, D. D.C., The Wilderness Society, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2587, D. D.C. [consolidated]).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Supreme Court on Feb. 15 reversed and remanded a hydraulic fracturing contract dispute, ruling that the lower court “overemphasized” the importance of obtaining an approved drilling permit before the deadline to begin drilling had expired (Enduro Operating LLC v. Echo Production Inc., et al., No. S-1-SC-36225, N.M. Sup., 2018 NM LEXIS 13).
HOUSTON — A federal judge in Texas on Feb. 16 identified several disputed terms in a patent infringement lawsuit between two hydraulic fracturing technology companies, ruling that the plaintiff’s argument regarding the claim construction briefing was “more persuasive” than the defendants’ position (Multilift Wellbore Technology Ltd. v. ESP Completion Technologies LLC, et al., No. 1702611, S.D. Texas; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25630).
By Laura A. Frase
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Environmental advocacy groups on March 2 filed a brief in Wyoming federal court contending that should the court decide at this time to lift the stay of litigation in a lawsuit over the Methane and Waste Prevention Rule, “the only appropriate subsequent course of action is to complete adjudication of the challenges” to the rule on the merits (Wyoming, et al. v. United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 16-285, D. Wyo.).
HOUSTON — A federal judge in Texas on March 6 ruled that a company had to comply with discovery requests in a hydraulic fracturing patent infringement lawsuit because the company alleging the infringement had specifically named items in its amended complaint that constituted a violation of its patent (Baker Hughes Oilfield Operations LLC v. Packers Plus Energy Services Inc., No. 17-1422, S.D. Texas; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36590).
NEW YORK — The New York Times Co. on March 2 released 208 pages of documents it procured through a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, which reveal that the Trump administration was partly motivated to shrink the size of two national monuments because of the potential to extract oil and gas from the shale play known as the Uinta Basin.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Four states filed a joint motion in Wyoming federal court on Feb. 26 asking the court to lift the stay in a case challenging the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) methane flaring rule and requesting that the court expedite merits briefing (Wyoming, et al. v. United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 16-285, D. Wyo.).