Business partners BHP Billiton Ltd. and Chesapeake Energy Corp. were recently hit with a series of proposed class actions in Arkansas alleging their hydraulic fracturing (“hydrofracking”) operations and compression stations are contaminating nearby groundwater, soil, water wells and air as well as causing dangerous seismic activity.

The Class Actions seek tens of millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages, along with the establishment of a medical monitoring fund, attorneys' fees, costs and interest.

The law firm representing the plaintiff’s in some of the Class Actions announced the filing of their lawsuits with the following press release:

Emerson Poynter LLP, with offices in Little Rock, Arkansas and Houston, Texas, announced today that it filed a class action lawsuit against certain BHP Billiton Petroleum entities, Chesapeake Operating, Inc., and Clarita Operating, LLC on behalf of their clients Sam and April Lane of Greenbrier, Arkansas. The class action complaint was filed in Faulkner County Circuit Court in Conway, Arkansas.

The class action alleges these oil and gas companies operate certain injection wells near Greenbrier and Guy, Arkansas that have caused thousands of earthquakes in central Arkansas, resulting in damages to residents in Faulkner County and those counties that border it (Conway, Van Buren, Cleburne, Perry and White). Further, the class action case seeks millions of dollars in damages for property damage, loss of fair market value in real estate, emotional distress, and damages related to the purchase of earthquake insurance. Additionally, attorneys for the Halls and the class of Arkansas residents also contemplate injunctive relief to ensure the continued halt of operations of two injection wells operated by Defendants, and potentially to stop other injection wells that are contributing to the unprecedented numbers of earthquakes suffered in the State of Arkansas.

Attorney Scott Poynter of Emerson Poynter represents Mr. and Mrs. Hall, and says the case is important to every citizen of Arkansas due to the environmental impact the gas wells have on the State's natural resources and beauty, and hopes to represent other Arkansans concerned about the wells and resulting earthquakes.