Dimock Families Go to Federal Jury Trial Over Water Contamination

Water Supply Problems



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(Scranton, Pa.) – Dimock PA families with water contamination from drilling will be going to federal jury trial against Cabot Oil & Gas starting February 22nd for what could last 20 days.

Jury selection will start at 9:30am at the Scranton Federal Courthouse. There will be a small rally and press conference at noon across the street, or when court breaks for lunch. Opening statements are likely to happen Monday afternoon. The case may last up to two weeks with no court on Friday, February 26.

The plaintiffs in the case are Nolen “Scott” Ely and his family, and Ray Hubert and his family who live next to the Elys. The Ely family has lived in Dimock since the 1800’s.

Except for a two year period when Cabot supplied these plaintiffs with water, since 2008, the Elys and Huberts have been living without reliable access to water and under rationing conditions.  To survive day to day, these families haul water at their own expense every week for drinking, bathing and other daily basics.

Beginning in the fall of 2008, Dimock families noticed problems with their drinking water, and began to experience rashes, nausea, headaches and dizziness. A trigger point to the litigation was the explosion of Norma Fiorentino’s private water well on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2008 due to methane gas accumulation in the well head.

The case eventually included 22 families from Dimock and Springville Townships in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, who sought fair compensation for damages to their property and their lives caused by Cabot’s failed natural gas drilling operations.

The final chapter of the Dimock federal civil litigation, which began under the caption Norma Fiorentino, et al., v. Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation and Gassearch Drilling Services, Inc. in 2009, and concludes under the caption, Nolen Scott Ely, et al., v. Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation, is proceeding to in United States District Court of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, located in Scranton, PA.

This case attempts to address negligence and nuisance claims in connection with Cabot’s incompetence in its gas drilling operations, which Plaintiffs allege caused the contamination and loss of their drinking water supplies.

The travails of these plaintiffs, as well as those of other Dimock families, have been chronicled in the HBO documentaries, Gasland I and Gasland II.

The federal case number is 3:09-cv-02284-MCC.