A motion to allow Range Resources to use a letter detailing confidential doctor’s notes that was mistakenly sent to a Range attorney in an ongoing case involving three Amwell Township families has been denied.
Washington County President Judge Debbie O’Dell Seneca denied attorney Bruce Rende’s request to continue to possess and use as evidence a faxed letter sent by one of the plaintiff’s doctor to his law firm Jan 27.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Kendra Smith, argued that the doctor did not realize that Rende represented Range Resources when he sent the letter. Four days later, the doctor sent Rende’s office a second fax asking that the letter be returned and that by sending it, he had violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Smith said. Smith said the letter has not yet been returned, and asked the judge to order Rende to do so. Smith also asked that the doctor not testify in a disposition.
O’Dell Seneca ruled that the letter be returned and that any copies be destroyed. O’Dell Seneca said she would rule on Smith’s final request after she had time to research the case further.
The case in question 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 drilling activity and an impoundment at the Yeager well site on McAdams Road. The three families, who live below the drilling site, claim they suffer a multitude of health problems, including neurological, gastrointestinal and dermatological symptoms consistent with toxic exposure. The case was initially filed in 2012.