Couple collect $750K settlement in fracking case with no medical evidence
A Washington County couple who claimed gas drilling ruined their property and sickened their family admitted no medical evidence existed to show that drilling harmed them before collecting a $750,000 settlement.
Stephanie and Chris Hallowich sued three companies claiming natural gas drilling and other activity on a neighboring property made their home in Hickory virtually unsalable.
Documents released on Wednesday revealed the Hallowiches stated their children “are healthy and have no symptoms that may allegedly be related” to the drilling.
The Hallowiches could not be reached for comment.
The family previously acknowledged it was receiving royalty payments from hydraulic fracturing on the property. Those rights were not relinquished in the settlement, transfer tax records show.
A spokesman for Range Resources, one of the defendants, said the company settled to end the legal ordeal despite no substantiation of the health claims.
“We've long maintained there was never any environmental or safety impact on the family,” Matt Pitzarella said. “The public can now very clearly see this is an industry that is being faithfully and responsibly developed without adverse impacts on health, safety or the environment.”
The Hallowiches received $594,820 and their lawyers $150,000, plus $5,179 for costs. The other companies in the case were Williams Gas/Laurel Mountain Mid-Stream and Mark West Energy Partners.
The sides settled the case in July 2011, but the companies asked that the records be sealed and a judge agreed. Media organizations challenged the decision.
Trib Total Media staff writer Jason Cato and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.