This analysis is accompanied by a study of a 2015 ruling of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, Ladra v. New Dominion, LLC. The case considered the possibility of a private tort action by homeowners against the operators of injection wells proceeding within the state’s judicial system, rather than simply being subject to review by a state regulatory agency. The court ultimately decided that the case would be allowed to continue within the judicial system instead of in front of a regulatory agency. This case, while not providing a “silver bullet” precedent with which future claimants can automatically win their cases against parties involved in fracking and waste disposal, does demonstrate that these claims are viable and ought to be dealt with in proper courts of law, rather than through administrative agencies.
Section II of this case note contains a brief overview of the hydraulic fracturing process and the state of fracking in Oklahoma, the site of this note’s principal case (Ladra v. New Dominion). Section III provides a history of the case and its central issues. Section IV discusses the ruling given, as well as the validity of the arguments made before the court. Section V examines the likelihood of success for the plaintiff Ladra and other homeowners seeking damages from the operators of injection wells due to earthquake-related harm done to their property or person. This section primarily assesses whether a preponderance of the evidence standard can be achieved when alleging that fracking activities caused earthquakes that resulted in property damage, and uses the arguments presented in the lower court during Ladra v. New Dominion as an example. Section VI considers the significance of the decision and what effect it may have on the hydraulic fracturing industry.
Recommended CitationJames Patrick Logan, What’s Shakin’? Ladra v. New Dominion, LLC: A Case of Consequence for the Hydraulic Fracturing Industry and Those Affected by Induced Seismicity, 34 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 207 (2016)
Available at: http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/pelr/vol34/iss1/5