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Texas Court Throws Out $3 Million Case Against Drilling Company

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - A Texas appeals court has reversed a $3 million verdict fracking opponents had hailed as a landmark case against natural gas production.

Aruba Petroleum will no longer have to pay a family who claimed drilling near their Wise County ranch made them sick.

The Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas found there was no evidence Aruba intentionally created a nuisance that interfered with Bob and Lisa Parr's use of their land. The opinion, by Justice Elizabeth Lang-Miers, focuses on the argument Aruba may not have known its actions were specifically and directly affecting the Parr property.

♦♦♦ Click Here To Read The Entire Court Ruling ♦♦♦

The Parr's said they started experiencing rashes, nose bleeds, headaches and had pets and ranch animals dying after drilling activity rapidly increased around their 40-acre ranch. In 2014 a jury awarded the family money for pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of property value.

The appeals court did not focus on whether the incidents happened, but whether they were intentional. The Parrs presented evidence they had talked to neighbors, production workers in the area, called Aruba, its public relations firm and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality about what was happening. The court's opinion though says "the Parrs have not cited any evidence that Aruba knew who placed these calls and made these complaints or that they were specific to the Parrs or their property."

At the time of the original verdict, energy attorneys said the outcome would likely encourage more lawsuits against the industry.

Neither the Parrs, Aruba or their representative were immediately available for comment.

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