Family Wins $3M in Texas Fracking Case

They say they suffered asthma, nausea, depression

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 25, 2014 6:29 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Texas family suing a gas-drilling firm over alleged contamination of their ranch has won $3 million in what their lawyer calls Texas' first fracking verdict. Bob and Lisa Parr said their family, pets, and livestock developed ailments tied to fracking operations, driving them to evacuate their land on some occasions, the Dallas Morning News reports. After moving to the Wise County ranch in 2008, the Parrs and their daughter grappled with asthma, nausea, and depression; their daughter reportedly awakened with a nosebleed covering her in blood, al Jazeera America reports. "These are all classic symptoms tied to hydrocarbon exposure," says another member of their legal team.

The Parrs sued Aruba Petroleum of Plano in 2011 and were featured in the documentary Gasland Part II. The company's lawyers called the ruling "arbitrary," noting that the two miles around the ranch contain more than 100 natural gas wells. "How do you determine which well caused what, if any, damages?" But environmentalists called the case a victory: The jury of "six regular people who knew nothing about fracking were presented with the facts and awarded the victims $3 million. It’s going to be hard to spin that." Aruba hasn't decided whether to appeal. ($3 million? Better than a pizza.)

A worker looks over tanks holding waste water from hydraulic fracturing Sept. 24, 2013, in Midland, Texas.   (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
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