Judge Dismisses Oklahoma Earthquake Injury Lawsuit

October 30, 2014

A judge has thrown out a lawsuit over an earthquake that injured a woman, finding that the case should instead be heard by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

In August, Prague resident Sandra Ladra filed a lawsuit against the operators of water disposal wells in Lincoln County. She claimed their operation caused the 2011 earthquake that caused a rock from her fireplace to land in her lap and hurt her knee. She sought more than $75,000 in damages.

Lincoln County District Judge Cynthia Ferrell Ashwood dismissed the lawsuit, saying the court doesn’t have jurisdiction and that the state commission, which approved of the disposal operations, should handle the matter.

Ladra’s attorney, Scott E. Poynter, told The Oklahoman that his client will appeal the judge’s ruling. He said the court has the right to hear the case.

“Ms. Ladra is a private person suing a private entity for damages,” he said. “For us, it seems clear that those kinds of cases deserve to be in district court and heard by a jury. We’ll appeal the decision and hopefully be back.”

Poynter also said the state commission can’t award damages and that Ladra “can’t get the relief from the commission we’ve asked for.”

Defendants in the suit include Tulsa-based New Dominion LLC and Cleveland, Oklahoma-based Spess Oil Company and 25 other unnamed companies.

A representative from Spess declined to comment. A message seeking comment was left with New Dominion.

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