Oil and gas exploration and production companies are facing increased litigation, in which opponents to oil and gas development have claimed environmental, natural resource, health, and property damages, and most recently related to seismicity events. opinions. Multiple states, including Texas and Oklahoma have implemented measures to reduce the risk of seismic events affecting property. Plaintiffs have seized on USGS, Texas and Oklahoma studies to support their claims of personal injury and property damage. Both Plaintiffs and Defendants have found their expert’s work partially barred because it failed to meet the new criteria for expert testimony. In this paper, I review the state of the science, recent cases and court decisions, and the application of so-called “daubert” criteria which the U.S. Supreme Court established so lower courts can serve as gate-keepers allowing only expert testimony based on facts and scientific methods. This paper is the latest in a series of annual papers regarding oil and gas litigation issues and their impact on the oil and gas industry. A case study of litigation in Oklahoma is presented to illustrate recent seismicity and health and safety claims and why some scientific but not location specific testimony was barred and other expert testimony admitted.
Ref: Daubert v Merrill Dow, 509 U.S. 579, 113 S. Ct. 2786, 125 L. Ed. 2d 469, 1993 U.S.
Primary Author/Conference Presenter:
Lead Engineer and Environmental Expert
i2M Associates, LLC
Waller, TX, USA
Don Whitley, I2M Associates, Katy, Texas
Ryan Gleason, Astra Environmental, Oklahoma City, OK