DIMOCK, SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Nearly six months after a federal judge threw out a multi-million dollar verdict in a water contamination trial, the case has now been quietly settled.
According to a court filing late last week, two families from Susquehanna County and Cabot Oil & Gas have reached a settlement.
The one-page court document says the civil lawsuit has been “amicably resolved” by the parties and the lawsuit is being dismissed without prejudice.
The settlement brings to a close a nearly decade-long fight.
There is no denying that Cabot Oil & Gas and other natural gas drilling companies have made their mark in Susquehanna County.
For some, news that there is now a settlement in the high-profile water contamination lawsuit in Dimock is not surprising.
“No. I’m not surprised because I think sometimes people ask too much, you know? They expect, okay, their big money and I’m going to get big money,” Janet Hogle of New Milford said.
In March 2016, two families, the Elys and Huberts, took Cabot Oil & Gas to court claiming gas drilling near their homes ruined their water.
A jury initially awarded the families more than $4.2 million dollars in damages.
In March of this year, a federal judge threw the jury’s verdict out and ordered a new trial citing irregularities in testimony and such a high amount of damages.
Now, it appears the families and Cabot have reached a deal but the terms have not been made public.
“I’m sure they don’t want it public, the gas companies, because it’s not good for them,” Duane Warner of Nicholson said.
An attorney for the families says settlement talks have been ongoing since May.
She would not comment if the families will see any money form the agreement that has been reached.
In Susquehanna County, the feelings over the natural gas industry remain split.
While some people continue to worry about the environment, others say the industry has brought tremendous economic benefits.
“We’ve had no trouble with them. They’ve been kind to us. They’ve given us all the information we’ve asked for!” Hogle said.
“It helped industry up here quite a bit. It brought more businesses in, more jobs for people. We needed it,” Warner said.
During the three-week trial in federal court last March, Cabot Oil & Gas denied any wrongdoing.
Cabot maintained that methane in the Dimock-area is naturally occuring and any problems in the water pre-dated their arrival in Susquehanna County.