Is your property damaged from oil exploration and drilling that occurred long ago and wasn’t remediated? Is your soil, surface water and groundwater contaminated? In many cases, leaks and spills, contaminated rust or scale from piping and equipment, and NORM (naturally occurring radioactive material) can continue to pollute these legacy oilfields for years. You might be surprised to learn that you may still be entitled to compensation, even if the environmental damage occurred decades ago. Recently, property owners have been able to recover damages for spilled oil, chemicals and other oil drilling pollution that occurred years ago by filing legacy oilfield lawsuits.
Lawyers at our firm who specialize in environmental litigation have a great deal of experience with legacy oilfield lawsuits. We offer free legal consultations to any property owner interested in remediating the environmental damage on legacy oilfields. To discuss how we can help you recover damages through an oilfield legacy lawsuit, we urge you to contact us today.
Legacy oilfield lawsuits provide property owners with an avenue to address the environmental damage inflicted on their property years – even decades ago – by energy companies involved in oil drilling and exploration. In Louisiana, especially, landowners who leased their property for energy development have filed hundreds of lawsuits against oil and gas companies, claiming those companies never properly remediated the damage caused by their activities.
Many historical oilfield activities resulted in soil, surface water and groundwater contamination. Historically, common disposal of produced water and other oilfield waste was by placement in unlined disposal pits. In many cases, leaks and spills, contaminated rust or scale from piping and equipment, and NORM (naturally occurring radioactive material) have been polluting these legacy oilfields for years. In places where these oilfield activities occurred, soils, vegetation, and water sources still exhibit effects of this pollution.
Over the last 15 years, there have been a growing number of “oilfield legacy” lawsuits filed for the remediation of this environmental damage. The most famous oilfield legacy lawsuit litigated in recent years is the Corbello v. Iowa Production case brought in Louisiana. In Corbello, the landowners/mineral lessors sued Shell Oil Company, the operator of an oil and gas terminal on the leased property for many years. The Louisiana Supreme Court upheld a jury award of $33 million against Shell for its failure to restore the leased property to its original condition upon termination of the lease.
The Court awarded this judgment, even though after remediation, the land would be worth just over $100,000. In its ruling, the Court pointed out that the lease had stipulated that Shell return the property to near its original condition at termination of the lease. The $33 million dollar restoration award represented the cost that would be incurred in order to prevent contaminated groundwater on the leased property from reaching the Chicot aquifer, the primary drinking water supply for Southwest Louisiana. Following this decision, the Louisiana Legislature passed Act 312 to define the procedures for courts to follow in handling oilfield legacy lawsuits.
Legacy Oil Field Lawsuits
If you own property that was damaged by pollution from legacy oilfield activities, you may have valuable legal rights even if the drilling and exploration occurred long ago. To find out how we can help you obtain compensation through the filing of a legacy oilfield lawsuit, please fill out our online form, or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) today.