Legal Shit Show on Crack Continues: Cabot Oil v. Ray Kemble. 2008: Cabot contaminated Dimock drinking water. 2020: PA AG filed 15 criminal charges, including 9 felonies, against Cabot. 2021: Cabot becomes Coterra Energy. Changing names hides crimes (like Encana to Ovintiv).

When frac-harmed citizens hire lawyers, who do the lawyers really represent? Frac’ers? Judges the lawyers bow down to or the status quo?

In my view, the lawyers I hired (Murray Klippenstein and Cory Wanless), put my faith in, and paid one hell of a lot of money to over many years, did not work for me. Nor did they serve the public interest they conned me into believing they served. They served the legal system and its endless abuses, and status quo (which is the other side), rotting years of my time; they served their own egos, pockets and careers pissing on the public interest, me and my water. They represent why justice will never be accessible for ordinary Canadians like me.

2020 06 15: Pennsylvania AG Shapiro files 15 criminal charges, including 9 felonies, against Cabot for failing to fix gas wells that leaked methane over 9 square miles into 18 Dimock residential water supplies. “The Grand Jury presentments prove that Cabot took shortcuts that broke the law, and damaged our environment — harming our water supply and public health,”

2020 03 19: They frac you, then abuse you and abuse you and abuse you. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. pulls out of talks in $5M lawsuit against frac-harmed Ray Kemble in what appears to be a nasty SLAPP

2018 01 11: Outrageous frac company Cabot Oil & Gas Suing Victim of Its Own Pollution for Speaking Out, Pennsylvania resident Ray Kemble sued by the company that polluted his water

2017 09 02: Dimock Pennsylvania: In ‘Gasland’ community, Cabot Oil & Gas continues to refuse to fix the aquifer the company contaminated with dangerous levels of methane but buys out contaminated homes, demolishing them, while blaming nature.

2013 11 24: Cabot buys second methane polluted residential property in Dimock 12-acre parcel on Carter Road flanked by faulty gas wells

2013 09 07: Cabot Oil Demolishes Sautners past home in Dimock, PA

2013 02 13: DEP opens investigation of methane in Dimock water well, Cabot providing safe water

2012 08 16: Dimock residents, Cabot settle, Residents had alleged that their drinking water was contaminated by gas driller

2012 01 09: DEP: Cabot drilling caused methane in Lenox water wells

2011 05 17: DEP cites persistent flaws in Cabot wells and keeps drilling on hold in parts of Dimock

2010 11 18: Dimock residents see “dirty tricks” in Cabot document

2010 04 04: DEP Takes Aggressive Action Against Cabot Oil & Gas Corp to Enforce Environmental Laws Protect Public in Susquehanna County; Suspends Review of Cabot’s New Drilling Permit Applications Orders Company to Plug Wells Install Residential Water Systems Pay $240,000 in Fines

2009 11 24: Poisoning Dimock, Lawsuit Challenges Cabot Oil’s Drilling Practices

… The series of infractions on the part of Cabot Oil and Gas, a Houston based energy company that has large holdings in Dimock, resulted in a $120,000 fine from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) earlier this month. But the cost to residents has been far greater.

On Friday of last week 15 families in Dimock announced that they were suing Cabot for poisoning their water and the likelihood that exposure to toxic chemicals has led to personal injury, including neurological and gastro-intestinal complications. Among the plaintiffs is a Cabot employee and Dimock resident who has knowledge of company practices and violations that have not yet been reported. According to Leslie Lewis, an attorney with one of the firms representing the families, the charges against Cabot are far reaching and reveal a profound degree of negligence and fraudulent conduct. “To me they just seem like a rogue operation,” she says. “Anything goes.”


Accused lawyers claim court bias by Reggie Sheffield, Nov 10, 2021, Susquehanna County Independent

Cabot and Cimarex complete merger, reveal new name by Paul Takahashi, Oct. 1, 2021, Houston Chronicle

Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. and Cimarex Energy have completed their $17 billion merger, forming a new company called Coterra Energy. 

The Houston oil and gas company on Friday said it will start trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol CTRA, which will replace Cabot’s ticker symbol of COG. Cimarex stock XEC stopped trading after the merger closed Friday. 

“We are proud to complete our transaction and launch Coterra, which will build upon the impressive legacies and many strengths of both Cabot and Cimarex,” said Executive Chairman Dan Dinges, formerly Cabot’s CEO. 

Coterra is the latest in the wave of consolidation sweeping the energy industry in the wake of the pandemic-driven oil bust. Companies are combining forces to pool resources and cut costs to better weather market downturns and the uncertainty over the energy transition. 

Coterra said it expects the merger will save the combined company about $100 million annually through operational efficiencies and cost-cutting. Frac’ing creates jobs jobs jobs? Nope, just greed greed greed and endless contamination and harms to many. The company will operate in more than 700,000 acres in the Marcellus, Permian and Anadarko basins, which produced about 605,000 barrels of oil and gas per day during the second quarter of 2021 

Cabot paid Cimarex shareholders a little more than 4 Cabot shares for each Cimarex share to acquire the Denver company. After closing, Cabot shareholders own about 49.5 percent of the combined company while Cimarex shareholders own the remaining 50.5 percent.

The new company Coterra will be led by Chief Executive Thomas Jorden, who was formerly the CEO of Cimarex. Scott Schroeder, previously Cabot’s chief financial officer, will take the role at Coterra. 

Coterra’s board consists of 10 members with equal representation from Cabot and Cimarex. The board includes Chairman Dinges and CEO Jorden.

The company on Friday committed to return 50 percent of its free cash flow each quarter to shareholders and will pay a special cash dividend of 50 cents per share after closing the deal. 

“Today marks the beginning of our journey as one Coterra team,” Jorden said. “We couldn’t be more excited to bring together our teams and form a new exploration and production company that is positioned to succeed in the next phase of the shale revolution and beyond.”     

Continuances frustrate court in Cabot suit against lawyers by Reggie Sheffield, May 21, 2021, Susquehanna County Independent

Frustrations on the part of the judge overseeing the lawsuit filed almost four years ago against a local man by Cabot Oil & Gas erupted in court last week during another – in a seemingly endless series – of hearings.

Attorneys named in the Cabot lawsuit for filing what the company claims was a frivolous lawsuit on the part of Dimock resident Ray Kemble have repeatedly refused to produce detailed personal financial information despite repeated orders from President Judge Jason Legg.  They even argued a losing appeal to the state Superior Court, which shot down their arguments in a written opinion agreeing with Legg. 

Legg made it clear Thursday he is quickly losing patience.

“Four years we’ve been spinning our wheels on this nonsense,” Legg said.  “The court is extremely frustrated, to put it politely.”  At one point, the judge called the slow pace of pre-trial proceedings in the case “a waste of court resources.”

The attorneys accused of filing the frivolous litigation – who no longer represent Kemble – object to producing the information as they say it will violate their clients’ privacy rights.  Their spouses have even gone as far as to hire their own lawyer to fight the order. But the state Superior Court has, in its written opinion, said they must provide the records.

In September, Legg ordered the defendants to pay $3,160 to compensate Cabot for money they spent fighting their failure to comply with discovery orders – where attorneys from each side normally voluntarily exchange information in the case in preparation for trial.

“I entered an Order and it went to the Superior Court and it was affirmed.  That means you follow the order,” Legg told attorney Kevin Hayes.

Hayes appeared in the Susquehanna County Court of Common Pleas in Montrose Thursday to represent attorneys from the Speer Law Firm of Kansas City, Missouri, and Fellerman & Ciarimboli of Kingston with attorney Jessica M. Keough representing the attorneys’ spouses. 

Hayes and Keough continue to maintain that releasing their clients’ personal financial information to Cabot will violate their privacy rights.  Cabot seeks their financial information as it seeks punitive as well as compensatory damages.

In 2017 Cabot sued Kemble, once a focus of the national anti-fracking movement, for violating a 2012 agreement not to bad mouth the company in exchange for a $187,000 check settling an earlier lawsuit Kemble had filed against them for allegedly polluting his property. 

Cabot also sued the law firms for filing federal lawsuits, seeking additional monetary compensation over issues they knew the courts had already decided in the earlier lawsuit. 

Kemble later claimed in a deposition that the lawyers acted without his knowledge.

The years have taken their toll in other ways.  Charles Speer, head of the Speer Law Firm, one of the defendants, died last month at the age of 67.  Several other attorneys have been hired and then dismissed by Kemble.

The case continues to drag on.  

Calling their actions “willful” and describing them as creating “a disturbing history of discovery violations,” Legg has plainly placed the blame for delays in the case on the lawyers representing the law firms.

According to the official record of the case maintained by the county prothonotary’s office, the docket shows over 110 motions, legal briefs and memoranda of law racked up by lawyers on both sides thus far. Legg has issued at least 85 formal orders. But the court has yet to establish a trial date or even preside over the completion of the process of discovery.

Cabot attorney Amy L. Barrette told Legg that even when she receives discovery materials from Hayes they’re only partial and don’t really comply with the spirit of the rule.

Legg’s frustrations with Hayes apparently extended beyond just discovery orders.  The judge questioned Hayes as to why it took until this point in the litigation for him to suddenly notice that one of the law firms named as a defendant didn’t actually exist.

“I wasn’t aware that it wasn’t a legal entity until it was brought up,” Hayes told Legg, who responded to Hayes’ defense with a skeptical facial expression.

Listed in the lawsuit as “Fellerman & Ciarimboli P.C.” the law firm is actually “Fellerman & Ciarimboli L.L.P.” a legal distinction the lawyers’ failure to notice sooner did not make Legg any happier.

 “Why did this have to come before the court?  And why isn’t this sanctionable?” Legg inquired.

“They’re trying to take my client’s china and their assets,” Hayes said.

The case was again continued.

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