In 2009, fifteen families in Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania filed a federal lawsuit against Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation on the basis of water contamination. The lawsuit sought an injunction on Cabot’s drilling in the Marcellus Shale near the town of Dimock. Additionally, the plaintiffs sought medical coverage for plaintiffs who were ill from water pollutants. The complaint alleged that Cabot allowed methane to seep into drinking water wells, failed to uphold terms of its contracts with owners, and acted fraudulently by stating that hydraulic fracturing could not contaminate the groundwater.
Between January and June 2012, the EPA sampled private drinking water wells serving 64 homes in Dimock per the request of Dimock residents. Following the water sampling, the EPA reported that Dimock’s water was safe, and announced the end of its investigation. Because the water was reported as safe, Cabot was allowed to immediately resume drilling in Dimock.
By 2012, thirteen of the original fifteen families that filed suit against Cabot in 2009 had settled with the Company. A trial in the remaining cases, Ely et al. v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., occurred in March 2016. Before the trial began, the lawsuit’s scope was narrowed to disallow the plaintiffs to pursue Cabot for any health-related harm. Therefore, the court ruled solely on the damage done to the plaintiffs’ property and the personal nuisance that the water contamination caused. Ultimately, the court awarded the remaining plaintiffs a total of $4.2 million in damages for water contamination from Cabot’s hydraulic fracturing in Dimock Township. Cabot has appealed this verdict.
This guide is intended to present a collection of legal resources relating to Dimock Township. While the Center for Agriculture and Shale Law makes every effort to maintain and update the content furnished in this guide, no warranty or other guarantee is made regarding the timeliness or accuracy of any information provided.