Dallas Jury Awards $3 Million to Wise County Family In "First Fracking Trial"

Thumbnail image for EmmaParrNosebleed.jpg
via Earthworks
The Parr family says their daughter, Emma, began suffering nosebleeds when gas drilling operations took root nearby.
When the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality took air samples from near Bob and Lisa Parr's Wise County ranch on several occasions in 2010, their conclusions varied little. The levels of possibly harmful volatile organic compounds were too low to cause "adverse health effects"

Such chemicals "were either not detected or were detected below levels of short-term health and/or welfare concern."

The Parrs' claim, in other words, that nearby fracking operations were causing the chronic migraines, rashes, dizziness, nausea and nosebleeds suffered by them, their young daughter, and their pets (all laid out in Gasland 2) was baseless.

A six-person Dallas County jury came to the opposite conclusion. In what Parrs' attorneys have billed as the first fracking trial in the country (legal experts told the LA Times there have been settlements but no cases that made it to a jury), the family won a $2.95 million verdict against Plano-based Aruba Petroleum.

The Parrs had previously settled with other companies named in their suit. The TCEQ ultimately fined Aruba twice, in 2011 and 2012, for air quality violations in Wise County.

Aruba maintains that it's done nothing wrong.

"We contended the plaintiffs were neither harmed by the presence of our drilling operations nor was the value of their property diminished because of our natural gas development," the company said in a statement.

Attorneys for the company called the amount of damages "arbitrary."

"How do you determine which well caused what, if any, damages," lawyer Ben Barron told The Dallas Morning News, noting that the Parrs live within two miles of more than 100 fracking wells.

The Parrs are currently trying to sell their home, a custom-built affair on 40 acres near Decatur, but so far have had no takers.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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107 comments
Mervis_Earl
Mervis_Earl

When I saw that this story had 89 comments I just knew that it had turned into a DO Top Commenters Circle Jerk. Sure enough, click through and the usual self-flagellators are present and participating. What a bunch of Top Commenting a$$holes you people are.

Ketw
Ketw

I can already imagine all the nasty things Conservatives/Republicans would be saying if these were blacks or Hispanics complaining.


...but their hatred is subdued due to the Parrs' whiteness.


Start getting ready for Hilary and gay marriage is coming to Texas thanks in part to the efforts of one of our best presidents yet, Obama. DOMA is dead. You may have found ways to essentially end abortion in this state, but Democrats are coming at you from multiple directions.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Will Dick Armey be hiring this family's attorney?

ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

Years ago I was selected for a jury in a Dallas civil trial over legal fees.  Worse yet, the testimony lasted three weeks.  As soon as we retired to deliberate, a blue-collar juror spoke up to say that he had to get back to work, and he would vote however the majority wanted to.  Five or six others nodded in agreement.  The four or five of us who had paid attention throughout the trial debated for a few minutes and then decided.  All counts received unanimous votes.  The point is that at least half of the jurors could not have cared less, paid scant attention, and were motivated only to get the paychecks restarted so that they did not lose their car or home.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

It's like Saturday night at the trailer park up in here.

lester.karen
lester.karen

If they get their settlement they need to level the house and not try to sell it to some other family who will have the same problems.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Just a note about something I observed about this thread. Pre-apologies of course for the coming firestorm, but I promise to make this my only comment in this thread other than my initial one.

A certain commentarianista has contributed a total of seven comments.

Six of those comments contain or are exclusively negative personal reference and/or complaints of punctuation or typos. One contains actual facts which any reasonably aware adult would be aware of.

None of the seven comments so far is on the topic of fracking, or the lawsuit, save the one general statement of the obvious.

That is all!

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Mervis_Earl

Hi Mervis!

Great comment I hate you all!!!

Be sure to slam the door on your way out.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Ketw

... Democrats are coming at you from multiple directions.

Coming at Texas from failing or failed blue-model states.

And running from a president with declining approval rating, a history of fraudulent promotion of an increasingly unpopular policy - so unpopular that these democrats have demanded that many of the Key provisions be delayed until after the midterm elections.

But, as is the annoying habit of narcissistic totalitarian types, when the debate gets heated and starts to threaten, the totalitarian declares with authority The Debate Is Over!

I especially liked O's mocking "stages of grief" speech to "Republicans", when in reality, according to polls, he was mocking the majority of Americans.

What an arrogant, condescending asshole. (with apologies to George Clooney)

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@ketw

Then you're a racist, you see everything through a color lens - including the supposed, prejudiced assumption of how others view things,

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@Ketw  Texas will be dragged kicking and screaming into the 19th century...

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@ColonelAngus

Ill bet a dollar to a dime you're against automatic voter registration with every Happy Meal.

JFPO
JFPO

Also known as a day ending in "y."

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@lester.karen  I posted a fabulous scene from Erin Brockovich on just that scenario, but the DO censors deleted it.  Pity.

Lorlee
Lorlee

@TheRuddSki Oh my god, I am agreeing with Ruddski -- but then I have made that point before.  Just because one is a Top Commenter doesn't make one's comments tops.  It would be nice if the comments stuck to the story instead of abusive ad hominem.


leftocenter
leftocenter

@theruddski @myrna.minkoff.katz

Your sparing is really getting tiresome. 

Disagree.  Make cogent points.  Be funny. Then shut-up.

A.Failin.Palin
A.Failin.Palin

@TheRuddSki A certain commentarianista has contributed a total of six comments yet only can count two of them. 


I promise to make this my only comment in this thread other than my initial one and maybe one other, or maybe another, then I might add another which will need to be followed up with one more.  That will require me to add another. 


That is all.


For the moment.  



holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  

I show up to be offended, smirk, and leave dejected.

But are my shoes shined on the way out the door?

I so hate it when my shoes don't shine brilliantly.  

how's my hair?

Scarlett O'Hara. 

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

Maybe you could just act it out for us.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Lorlee

Nice try, but my heart belongs to Wendy Davis.

Were I a blogmeister, I would base "Top Commenter" status on the number of "likes", not the number of posts. I'd also add a thumbs-down.

At the end of the year, there could be an awards/punishment ceremony. I know the quality of my contributions would improve.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@leftofcenter

Just STFU, no-one cares what upsets you.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@A.Failin.Palin

Interesting handle, BTW.

A certain commentarianista has contributed a total of six comments yet only can count two of them.

Interesting observation, what does it mean?

I promise to make this my only comment in this thread...

I suspect you may be as much a liar as I am.

How do you feel about the monetary award - excessive, just right, or too cold?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

So, do you feel the amount awarded was excessive, or will it be reduced on appeal?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@MaxNoDifference

Heh. Actually, it was just a factual observation, an inarguable one at that. This is not the only time I've made this factual observation, and to date, I've never been even been challenged on the factual observation, because, well, the observation is inarguable.

The reason for my observation at this time? Because, like K2 or Denali, it's there. And hard not to spot.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@holmantx

As a TC, you're part of the cited problem. The comment total now exceeds 105.

Proud of yourself?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@LOOK

I am against illegal immigration, amnesty, and for two-parent families, and often cite statistics about "minorities" that many "minority" people, including the president and other "minority" leaders cite. So, some people who are very sensitive to politically correct speech and overly racist or racialist have a knee-jerk reaction to call me racist. It doesn't bother me, so feel free. I consider you a humorless, unclever, angry little pissant, so I refer to you as a moron and such - I'm sure that likewise doesn't matter to you, being kind of thick and all....

Edit-

Show me some of these racist statements, let's see how smart you are, ok?

LOOK-at-MeRuddSki
LOOK-at-MeRuddSki

@TheRuddSki Your skills in double-speak are not to the point of being able to hide your bigotry though you so desperately try.   There is not a minority you haven't bashed.  You will pull bigotry out of your ass even when a story my not be about a minority.   Then turn around and play the victim.   It has been stated a hundred times here. 


You can dish it but you can't take it. 

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

Here we, meaning you, go.

Now, I suppose you can actually support your contention that I'm a racist by culling comments out of context, presenting facetiousness and humor as positions, etc.

And then, I'll have to explain context, the way you've mis-characterized statements, and all that.

IOW, you want to put me in a Position of defense, then after a certain time, you and others will accuse me of making it "all about me". Tired old, hackneyed and intellectually dishonest game.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

Did you interpret my reply to Colonel as a personal attack of some sort?

If so, that's your prob.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  And when I go off-topic you post a proclamation about Myrna making comments that have nothing to do with the article.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

Nothing, it was a reply to the comment by ColonelAngus concerning the mechanics of juries.

I was essentially making the point that quality, not quantity is important in such matters.

IOW, it's better that 50 highly-informed voters decide an issue than 100 low- information voters.

You know, like how people might make a decision based on, say, the color of a man's skin rather than the content of his character, and on that basis, assign that someone talents, abilities and capabilities that really are not there.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@LOOK

Hmm, well there's Harry Reid, who to my knowledge is not queer, who said something about a 'light-skinned' African American 'with no Negro dialect unless he wanted one", about Obama.

Then there's that crusty old rancher trying to get out of some grazing fees in Nevada, I think he used the term. (Al Sharpton owes a lot too, but he's black, and friends with the prez)

I never use the term unless I'm quoting someone.

Sorry that my level of intelligence is over your head, but that's not my problem.

LOOK-at-MeRuddSki
LOOK-at-MeRuddSki

@TheRuddSki I heard some tea bagging patriot talking about Negro's today.  Was that you or your brother or your mother?   You should view it because that is the level of intelligence that you bring to this blog. 

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin

I was thinking of the part played by Peter Coyote

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ruddski

Ok, you've crossed the line, you've gone too far.

Goats are definitely NOT cool.

Sheep are pretty cool, soft and docile with gentle braying.

Goats OTOH are stinky, loud and they destroy everything around them. They will eat anything and everything.

Not cool.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@LOOK

I don't have a goat, I have a troll.

Goats are cool.

LOOK-at-MeRuddSki
LOOK-at-MeRuddSki

@TheRuddSki I am trying to make you aware of yourself but I am having a blast doing it.   While you are so overly full of yourself, you goat is so easy to get.  

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@LOOK

Evidently, since your only purpose here is to dog me, insult and whine with no actual deconstruction or debate, I'd say you are full of me. I've moved into your head, rent free.

Lots of cobwebs, BTW.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@ghk

Finally! A compliment!

ghkyluhhje
ghkyluhhje

@TheRuddSki "Just STFU, no-one cares what upsets you."-Very eloquent. I believe it was JFK who said that, right before "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country".

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@LOOK

Your persona here is creaed soley to spew venom at one person, and that's it. Others do the job much better, and manage to contribute in other areas, other subjects other than flaming me obsessively.

Free country and all, but if you object to me posting here, why do you beg me to?

Maybe some day you'll offer support for your allegations. Until then, you're just my little pet troll.

Roll over!

LOOK-at-MeRuddSki
LOOK-at-MeRuddSki

@TheRuddSki No...why don't you just go away.  If you are not here, why do you have this need to spew your venom here?  Your BRILLIANCE could be appreciated on other blogs. And you do care because ego is as annoying as your moronic verbiage.   Now I have to get on with my life, but think about what leftofcenter said.  


Stop being our online yeast infection.  

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@LOOK

Let me try again, you seem hard to convince.

I don't care if some people dislike me or my opinions or statements

Should I go ALL CAPS to get to your level of comprehension?

LOOK-at-MeRuddSki
LOOK-at-MeRuddSki

@TheRuddSki Now leftofcenter just offered you some quality advice.  He/she came from a very positive place and without being bitchy letting you know how many here feel about your annoying bickering. 


You should listen, thank him/her for the open, honest and insightful advice.  

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@leftofcenter

You have my attention, I assume that was your intent. Generally, when people get what they want, that makes them happy. I'm glad you're happy, that makes me happy.

Myrna and I disagree, make cogent points, are often funny even without intending to be, Myrna often, if backed into a logical corner, shuts up. I rarely get backed into corners, so I have no reason to shut up. If someone tells me to shut up,well, you can see the result.

As for getting our own forum. This is my forum. It's yours as well. I would say it's Myrna's, but she claims to being the victim of censorship, so I wouldn't want to stick my neck out with any false claims in that regard.

I also think 3 million will get reduced to about a million on appeal.

leftocenter
leftocenter

Actually, I'm having fun not rage -- just a funny line from Tropic Thunder...(It's a movie)  I'm also curious about what gets censored...

But seriously folks, you two need just get your own forum.  You are seldom interesting, just trolling each other and enjoying the attention.

Disagree.  Make cogent points.  Be funny. Then shut-up.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@leftofcenter

You're even worse than me at taking suggestions. A-plus for rage, but no matter how angry you get, the torture will never end.

leftocenter
leftocenter

Hey eff face.  Step back and LITERALLY EFF YOUR OWN FACE!

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