Shale Gas and Hydraulic Fracturing: Defending or Pursuing Private Tort Actions

Identifying Causes of Action and Mitigating Litigation Risks

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, July 12, 2012

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Course Materials

This CLE course will provide counsel with a review of private lawsuits connected with hydraulic fracturing projects. The panel will discuss theories underlying the causes of action, state legal trends used to support plaintiffs' claims, and how counsel can advise project operators to mitigate the risk of suit.


The boom in hydraulic fracturing activity in the United States is paving the way for the next surge in private litigation based on toxic torts. Actions have already been filed in Arkansas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia.

The many potential causes of action are based on theories of trespass, nuisance, strict liability, restitution and waste. Litigants may seek compensation for property damage, bodily injury, medical expenses, emotional distress, loss of profits, and punitive and injunctive relief.

State laws can help or hinder claims. Where there is a legal presumption that a well operator is responsible for polluting water supplies, counsel to companies with a stake in fracking projects must learn the best ways to shield operators before suit is filed.

Listen as our panel of experienced attorneys examines current trends in private actions alleging personal injury and property damage from hydraulic fracturing operations. The panel will analyze claims, discuss the potential impact of state law, and offer best practices for managing risks.



  1. Trends in shale gas/hydraulic fracturing cases
    1. Causes of action
    2. Damages
  2. State/local laws impacting private suits
  3. Operators’ best practices for reducing risk of litigation


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • Which causes of action have already been brought against fracking operators—and which are now emerging?
  • What steps should drilling operators take when faced with state and local strict liability laws?
  • What are the potential damages operators face if they lose a private action?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Scott D. Deatherage
Scott D. Deatherage

Patton Boggs

His practice focuses on permitting, compliance, administrative law and judicial litigation on a variety of...  |  Read More

Marc J. Bern
Marc J. Bern

Senior Partner
Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik

He is a nationally-recognized plaintiffs’-bar trial attorney and a founding and Senior Partner of his firm. In a...  |  Read More

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