Washington County Court Judge Katherine B. Emery has denied a request by Range Resources to order three Amwell Township families to provide specific evidence that their water supply was contaminated by nearby natural gas drilling activity.
The case involves homeowners Stacey Haney and her two children, Beth and John Voyles and their daughter, and Loren and Grace Kiskadden. They are suing Range Resources and 16 other companies, saying they have suffered health problems attributed to the drilling activity at the Yeager well site on McAdams Road.
According to Range attorney Dennis St. J. Mulvill, the plaintiffs have offered no proof that their illnesses are linked to the drilling activity, so last month Range went before the court to request a case management order that would have required the plaintiffs to identify scientific or medical evidence to establish their claims.
The plaintiffs contend there was no authority in the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure to support a CMO and believe they have complied with proper and existing means under the PRCP and Washington County Local Rules.
Emery ruled that while the court has authority to enter a CMO she declined to do so, saying the CMO places a burden on the plaintiff not envisioned by the state’s Rules of Civil Procedure.
“Preliminary objections will allow for a thorough ventilation of many of the defendant’s concerns,” she wrote.
Other defendants in the case are Gateway Engineers, New Dominion Construction, Red Oak Water Transfer, Terrafix Environmental Technology, SKAPS Industries, Engineered Synthetic Products Inc., Micobac Laboratories, Multi-Chem Group, Universal Well Services, Halliburton Energy Services, Saxon Drilling, Highland Environmental, EAP Industries, Test America and engineers Carla Suszowki and Scott Rusmisel.