Oklahoma Woman Sues Energy Firms Claiming Quake Damage

An Oklahoma resident has sued two energy companies seeking class-action status for people in nine counties who were affected by recent earthquakes.

Jennifer Lin Cooper of Prague filed the suit on Tuesday against Tulsa-based New Dominion LLC and Spess Oil Co. of Cleveland, Okla., along with 25 unnamed companies. Cooper is seeking class-action status for people in Lincoln County and eight surrounding counties whose homes were damaged by earthquakes.

Dozens of lawsuits filed in the past several years allege oil and gas companies are responsible for earthquakes because of the practice of injecting wastewater from drilling into underground wells to dispose of it.

According to Cooper’s attorney, Scott Poynter, she has suffered property damage and property stigma that has lowered the market value of her home. He said that Cooper paid $100,000 for her home in 2010, and suffered $110,000 to $120,000 in damages from the November 2011 earthquakes.

“The complaint concerns property damage and market loss damage for all the homes in the area,” Poynter said. “Even if they were not affected by the physical damage, they have suffered from market stigma making the home value lower because of the injection well activity.”

An employee of Spess Oil declined comment to the Tulsa World and New Dominion did not return phone calls from The Oklahoman.

In 2014, Oklahoma experienced 567 earthquakes of a magnitude of 3.0 or greater. There were only 209 earthquakes in 2013, and the state had averaged 40 earthquakes per year for the previous five years.