• Landowners’ Punitive Damage Claims Based on Drilling Activities Allowed to Proceed in Oklahoma
  • May 22, 2014
  • Law Firm: Sutherland Asbill Brennan LLP - Washington Office
  • The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma denied an oil and gas company’s motion for summary judgment that sought to eliminate the plaintiffs’ punitive damages claims. The plaintiffs alleged property damage based on multiple discharges of oil and gas onto their property from the oil and gas company’s neighboring drilling operations. The company admitted to at least five accidental discharges but argued that punitive damages were inappropriate given that the company conducted regular inspections, acted promptly to rectify reported leaks, and undertook a remediation program to repair leaks and clean-up the property. The court, however, allowed the plaintiffs’ punitive damage claims to proceed because the plaintiffs presented evidence refuting the extent of the repairs, inspections, and remediation. The court also struck the affidavit of the company’s Operations Manager for failure to sufficiently demonstrate the affiant’s competence to testify on the matters stated, which is required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) for affidavits supporting a motion for summary judgment.