Personal Injury Lawyers Have Arrived at Your Local Marcellus Gas Well

You knew it was only a matter of time. Whenever a new industry like Marcellus Shale gas drilling seeks to get established, along come the personal injury and class action lawyers to ensure everyone pays more money defending frivolous lawsuits. Personal injury lawyers in Pennsylvania and other Marcellus states are already salivating.

"They say that anywhere from 1 to 3 percent of the [natural gas] wells that are going to come into Pennsylvania have already come in," [Pittsburgh attorney Michael] Rosenzweig said, adding that his firm has received a number of calls related to the Marcellus Shale. "Whatever the effect has been today, it will be 33 times as great [in the future]. So if there’s one explosion per month today, there will be 33 explosions per month a year or two years from now. We’re seeing only the tip of the iceberg. If there are 250 trucks now, there will be 33 times that … 8,000 trucks going to the wells and from the wells."*

Read the entire article (linked below) for a good look at what’s coming.

*The Legal Intelligencer/ (Apr 6, 2011) – Plaintiffs Lawyers Eyeing Marcellus Shale Work

  • RHouck

    I have twice been the victim of frivilous law suits – both times the insurance company has settled, thereby rewarding the plaintiffs. But I am not sure how a suit over a gas explosion is frivilous. The alternative to an (expensive, inefficient) law suit is some kind of forced arbitration or automatic payment – something like workers comp or no-fault divorce. The plaintiff may get more than he/she should, but you cut out or at least reduce the cost of lawyers. (I am one.) We are seeing the industrialization of the Pa. landscape. People will be affected AND injured. It’s part of the price.

  • Jim Willis

    Thanks for commenting. I’m not saying all such lawsuits are frivolous, I am saying many of them are. If you read the entire article over on, it’s obvious (to me) that at least some pi lawyers look on Marcellus drilling as a payday. Note the graf from the article that says…

    Stephen A. Sheller, founding partner of Sheller P.C. in Philadelphia, which was extensively involved in class action litigation related to the BP oil spill, said he hasn’t received any inquiries about the Marcellus Shale but is nevertheless keeping a close eye on the play “because, frankly, it’s going to be, if it’s not already, a major environmental disaster problem and the governor is shirking obligations to protect the public.”

    Nice viewpoint…prejudging an entire industry as an environmental disaster (when it clearly has not been to date). It’s that attitude that concerns me–not legitimate claims for damage or injuries done.

  • Otegogas

    As I stated previously, the gas industry has been operating in the hinterlands for decades and now they are moving into more populated areas. This statement says it all: “LeMense said she feels the Marcellus Shale play is ripe for litigation because the natural gas industry is growing in this region at such a fast clip that government regulators are “always playing catch-up.”

    While I loathe lawyers, I also loathe root canal but sometimes you need to do it. I know the gas industry can do better – but only if they are forced to.

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