Oklahoma: Pawnee Nation’s $400,000 Earthquake Damages Case Moves Forward

Pawnee Nation’s Earthquake Case Moves Forward by Scott Poynter, October 27, 2017, Poynter Law Group

Earlier this year, the Pawnee Nation brought suit in tribal court against Cummings Oil and Eagle Road Oil for about $400,000 in earthquake damages caused by Defendants’ wastewater disposal wells.

According to the tribe’s petition, both Cummings Oil’s and Eagle Road Oil’s wastewater disposal into Oklahoma’s Arbuckle formation caused the Labor Day weekend quake near Pawnee in 2016.

That quake measured 5.8m, and was the largest earthquake ever in Oklahoma.

This morning, Judge Dianne Barker Harrold heard arguments on the oil companies’ motions to dismiss the suit. Cummings Oil and Eagle Road Oil both argued the Court lacked jurisdiction, and that the suit should have been brought in state court, as opposed to the tribal court.

After hearing about 30 minutes of argument from defense counsel, Judge Harrold ruled that the Pawnee Nation’s District Court did in fact have jurisdiction over the case, and over the Defendants.

The case will now move forward in the discovery process. [Emphasis added.]

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