In April, a Dimock, PA resident named Ray Kemble filed a lawsuit against drilling company Cabot Oil and Gas. Two months later, Kemble and his lawyers withdrew that lawsuit. Now Cabot is suing Kemble claiming his lawsuit was frivolous and an attempt to extort the company. From the Associated Press:
Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. said Dimock resident Ray Kemble and his lawyers sought to harass and extort the Houston-based driller, attract media attention and “poison” the community by recycling “stale, settled claims” against the company.
“Cabot will protect its rights and pursue justice against those who irresponsibly and maliciously abuse the legal system,” George Stark, the Houston-based driller’s director of external affairs, said in a statement Tuesday…
The company said the claims in Kemble’s suit were the subject of a 2012 settlement between Cabot and dozens of Dimock residents — including Kemble — and were barred by the statute of limitations. Cabot’s suit also alleged Kemble had breached the 2012 settlement by publicly talking about the company.
In 2016 a jury awarded $4.2 million to some of Kemble’s neighbors who had refused to sign a settlement agreement with the company and later sued. However, in March a judge overturned that verdict:
Judge Martin Carlson wrote that the evidence presented at last year’s jury trial by a pair of families in Dimock, Pa., “was spare, sometimes contradictory, frequently rebutted by other scientific expert testimony, and relied in some measure upon tenuous inferences.”
The judge ordered a new trial in that case. Meanwhile, Kemble filed his lawsuit about two weeks after the verdict was overturned.
Dimock, PA is the site of Josh Fox’s Gasland, a documentary about alleged pollution of groundwater resulting from fracking. The EPA examined Dimock’s groundwater and found no evidence of contamination from drilling chemicals. A report by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released last year found contamination in some well-water but did not look at what was responsible for the contamination.