Dimock families win water contamination case against Cabot Oil & Gas

A federal jury awarded two couples from Dimock, Pennsylvania 4.2 million dollars after finding Cabot Oil and Gas negligent for contaminating their well water during drilling for natural gas.
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.
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, had its final verdict in United States District Court of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, located in Scranton, PA.
The panel awarded Mr. and Mrs. Ely $2.6 million and their three children $50,000 each. The Huberts were awarded $1.4 million, while another of their family members was awarded $50,000.
"It's been a battle," said plaintiff Scott Ely. "I mean, you're up against a multi multi multi million dollar company. We are the lucky ones in the case, but there are still many more families in the Dimock area who are still without the benefit of clean water.”
“This is a huge victory for Dimock families who have fighting for clean water for over six years. Finally justice has been served for Scott and Monica Ely, their three children, and their neighbors, the Huberts,” said Alex Lotorto, Shale Gas Program Coordinator for Energy Justice Network stated.
Cabot Oil & Gas states that they plan to appeal the ruling, but Lotorto said, “No matter the outcome, we have publicly disclosed all of the facts of the case for the world to see and the couples have beautiful children which is their greatest wealth.”
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 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.
Energy Justice Network fiscally sponsored the legal fund for the case and have been working with the family since 2009.