Wed., 12:28pm: Judge says Pa. drilling lawsuit is public record
WASHINGTON, Pa. — A western Pennsylvania judge says the public has the right to see a sealed settlement between gas drilling companies and a family that claimed the drilling operations damaged their health.
Judge Debbie O’Dell-Seneca ruled Wednesday that openness in the court system is more important than the interests of the companies.
Stephanie and Chris Hallowich initiated a case against Range Resources, MarkWest Energy Partners and Williams Gas/Laurel Mountain Midstream Partners in 2010. The dispute was settled in July, 2011 but the companies asked that the records be sealed, and another judge agreed.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Washington Observer-Reporter challenged that decision, and O’Dell-Seneca ruled in their favor.