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Judge hears arguments in water pollution lawsuit

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MONTROSE, SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A natural gas company is looking for monetary damages from one of its outspoken critics in Susquehanna County.

Earlier this year, Ray Kemble of the Dimock-area was slapped with a $5 million lawsuit by Cabot Oil & Gas.

Lawyers from both sides appeared in Susquehanna County court Monday to argue motions in front of a judge.

As Ray Kemble showed up to court, he was joined by several friends who oppose natural gas drilling in Susquehanna County.

Cabot Oil & Gas is now suing the Dimock man saying he filed a frivolous federal lawsuit against their company in April.

“This is just a way to shut the people up of the county and of the state and I just don’t think it’s right!” Ray Kemble said after the hearing.

Kemble says fracking done by Cabot contaminated his drinking water.

In 2012, he reached a settlement with Cabot Oil & Gas which forbids him from talking about the issue but he hasn’t stopped.

His attorney compares the case to David and Goliath.

“A lot of it is Goliath acting out in a way that you would expect Goliath to behave which is you little David, you keep your place in line and that’s as far as it goes,” Kemble’s attorney Rich Raiders said.

Since Cabot first filed its lawsuit back in August, Ray Kemble says he’s contacted at least 30 different attorneys to represent him. None of the lawyers he contacted would represent him until he found Rich Raiders firm two weeks ago.

After Monday’s hearing, Cabot Oil & Gas released a statement saying Kemble was paid money years ago.

The statement, from spokesman George Stark, says:

“Cabot has sued the Speer law firm and the other attorney defendants seeking to enforce its agreement with Mr. Kemble and to be compensated for the wrongful filing of the meritless suit by his attorneys.
Mr. Kemble agreed to a settlement with Cabot in exchange for money years ago. He has since breached the terms of that agreement on numerous occasions and continues to do so.
Today’s court actions are steps we must take to pursue justice.”

When Cabot’s lawsuit was initially filed, the company intended to seek $5 million in damages from Kemble and his lawyers.

“Do I look like I have $5 million,” Kemble said with a laugh.

Kemble says this case is bigger than him and he doesn’t plan to go away quietly.

“Just remember, David took out Goliath. I’m David!” Kemble said.

During Monday’s hearing, Cabot Oil & Gas agreed to take out the $5 million amount that was in its original lawsuit.

Monday’s hearing involved some preliminary motions that were involved in the civil lawsuit.

The judge did not make any immediate decisions.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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