Landowner Oilfield Contamination
Baton Rouge Landowner Property Oilfield Contamination LawyerIn the 1900s oil gushed out of the top of a wooden derrick in South West Louisiana. In the 1940s unlined pits were built on oilfield land to hold produced water, drilling fluids, chlorides, hydrocarbons, and heavy metals. When an oil company left the land, it often would simply cover up the pit. When a new oil company leased the land, it might dig a new pit in another location. Since the 1980s, the produced water has been either hauled away and injected into a saltwater disposal well, or it has been injected back into the earth at the drill site.
Louisiana is filled with canals that have been dredged through marshes to reach drill sites. Leaks and spills have polluted the drill site land. Rust or scale and NORM (naturally occurring radioactive material) is common on these legacy oilfields.
Over time, dozens of small oil companies may have leased the land and contributed to the current pollution. Oilfield contamination could have begun more than 100 years ago. Some of the oil companies responsible for the pollution are out of business or have been sold to new owners.
The Problem With Legacy Site Oilfield Litigation
At the Baton Rouge law firm of Dodson & Hooks, APLC, our attorneys have made Louisiana case law in Duhon v. Chevron. This case overturned a trial court’s decision that took the case away from a jury and instead erroneously sent it to be handled by an administrative agency prior to a determination of liability and damages.
The Solution to Property Damage and Personal Injury Due to Oilfield Contamination
Following the groundbreaking case, Corbello et al v. Iowa Production et al. went all the way to the Louisiana Supreme Court and was affirmed allowing the plaintiffs $33 million plus attorney fees and interest for a total close to $80 million for trespassing and contamination of approximately five acres of land. The Louisiana Legislature passed Act 312 to define the procedures for courts to follow in handling these “Corbello” cases.
“Corbello” pollution case law is a complex area of the law requiring knowledge and experience in toxicology, mineral law, property law, surveying, corporate history of the oil industry and the movement of chemicals in Louisiana soil types. At our law firm we have an in-depth understanding and experience dealing with these cases and also including:
- Toxic tort
- Personal injury
- Real estate law
- Oilfield contamination
- Class action litigation
- Environmental law