Friday, September 23, 2016
The Parr family in Texas won a $3M verdict alleging they were sickened by fumes from natural gas wells. They sued using a nuisance theory. At oral arguments in the Fifth Circuit last week, the defendant driller argued the case did not lie in nuisance, but instead was a toxic tort case. The key difference between the two is the lower evidentiary burden; the plaintiffs conceded they could not meet Texas's toxic tort standards. Defendant noted:
[T]he family didn’t introduce expert testimony or other evidence supporting its claim of toxic exposure, didn’t have a doctor testify that their injuries were caused by the alleged pollutants and couldn’t prove their property was irreparably damaged by nearby drilling.
Law 360 has the story (behind a free registration wall).