Imagine you’ve just bought the farm you and your family has always dreamed of: 30 acres, open pastures, beautiful wooded areas full of wildlife, lots of fresh air, and not a sight or sound for miles. In the mornings you sit on your deck and watch the sunrise; in the evenings you watch the sunset. Life couldn’t be better.
Now, imagine the diesel trucks that come rumbling by, leaving behind a trail of dirt, dust, and exhaust fumes in their wake. They bring heavy equipment and machinery to your neighbor’s property that’s only 500 feet from the dream home you built only a year ago. Soon, workers are leveling ground in preparation for the drilling of a Marcellus well.
Then come the vibrations. Your house shakes down to its foundation. The pictures of your family on the wall rattle constantly. Then comes the noise. It’s all you hear, no matter how much you try to block it out. You can barely sleep. Then come the floodlights. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think it was noon on a bright summer’s day even though it’s midnight. Then come the emissions. Clouds of diesel smoke and unknown substances begin drifting onto your property. You don’t know what you and your family are breathing in.
After you and your family suffer for months on end, you realize that your peaceful, quiet farm doesn’t exist anymore. The dream is shattered, and you have nowhere to go.
What can you do?
Unfortunately, this scenario is more common in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania than many landowners think. What makes matters worse, the people who are most affected may not even own the oil and gas under their property. They won’t see a dime, but they’ll suffer the consequences.
What landowners in these situations may have is what is called a private nuisance claim.
Legally speaking, a private nuisance is defined as the unreasonable and substantial interference with a property owner’s use and enjoyment of their property. In common terms, it simply means that activities are being performed on your neighbor’s property that significantly and adversely impact you, your family, and your property.
Nuisance claims are fact-intensive and inherently distinct. Each landowner is unique just as each property is unique. An experienced attorney is key to “putting the pieces together,” navigating the intricacies of litigation and obtaining a result that makes the best out of a bad situation.
If an oil and gas company’s operations—whether from a well pad or another facility—have impacted you, your, family, or your property, Gold, Khourey & Turak can help. GKT has aggressively and successfully pursued several nuisance claims against big oil and gas companies. Call us today at (304) 845-9750 and someone from our office will contact you.
GKT is the Ohio Valley’s leading law firm representing land and mineral owners in all oil and gas related matters. We are licensed to practice in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Included are the counties of Jefferson, Harrison, Belmont, Guernsey, Noble, Monroe, Washington, Greene, Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, Tyler, Doddridge, and Ritchie.