Attorneys Argue Cabot Lawsuit in Susquehanna County

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MONTROSE -- It's being compared to the battle of David and Goliath in Susquehanna County.

Lawyers for Cabot Oil and Gas were in court Monday over a lawsuit against an outspoken landowner who says his drinking water was contaminated by fracking.

Cabot was seeking $5 million from a property owner and his attorneys who sued the natural gas company earlier this year.

After the hearing, Cabot will remove that dollar amount from its lawsuit for now while a judge decides if the case can move forward.

Ray Kemble has been in the news before. The resident of Dimock in Susquehanna County is once more facing off against Cabot Oil and Gas in court.

"This is just a way to shut the people up of the county and of the state and I just don't think it's right," Kemble said.

Outside the courthouse in Montrose, Kemble and his attorney talked about the trouble he's had finding a lawyer after Cabot sued the outspoken landowner back in August. That's one of the reasons Kemble wants more time to mount a defense in the lawsuit against him.

"It's always difficult to find a new lawyer when the old lawyer just got sued representing you in the same matter," said Kemble's attorney Rich Raiders.

Roughly five years ago, Kemble was one of several landowners in Susquehanna County that settled a lawsuit with Cabot Oil and Gas. Part of that settlement meant Kemble couldn't speak poorly of Cabot or release details of that agreement.

In 2017, Kemble filed another suit against Cabot, and Cabot says Kemble violated that initial settlement with the company.

Cabot is suing Kemble and his attorneys, claiming they are trying to extort money from the company.

A spokesperson for Cabot won't comment on why the company first asked for $5 million in the lawsuit. The gas company's attorneys agreed to withdraw that amount for now.

"That still doesn't say they won't try to go after $5 million against somebody who is judgment-proof. That's just intimidation and nothing more," Raiders said.

Cabot's spokesperson tells Newswatch 16:

"Mr. Kemble agreed to a settlement with Cabot in exchange for money years ago. He has since breached the terms of that agreement on numerous occasions and continues to do so.

"Today's court actions are steps we must take to pursue justice."

"David took out Goliath. I'm David," Kemble responded.

The judge is supposed to rule at a later date on the issues in the lawsuit argued in court.

While Cabot claims Kemble violated the settlement agreement, Kemble also contends Cabot did as well.

16 comments

    • John S Mellow

      Well Mike just to end your parting shots at those that care about the environment. How about the summary of the leaked USESPA report recently admitted as an official document? Just for you Trumpanzees out there.

      Conclusions
       Methane is released during the drilling and perhaps during the fracking
      process and other gas well work.
       Methane is at significantly higher concentrations in the aquifers after gas
      drilling and perhaps as a result of fracking and other gas well work.
       The methane migrating into the aquifer is both from the shallower
      (younger age) formations and older Marcellus Shale (and perhaps even
      older formations).
       Methane and other gases released during drilling (including air from the
      drilling) apparently cause significant damage to the water quality.
       In some cases the aquifers recover (under a year) but, in others cases the
      damage is long term (greater than 3 years).

  • "Davids"?

    “David” is no victim. He is not one man that has done nothing wrong. This is a group of people that have done everything wrong. Research “Pigs to Rigs” case. This lawsuit is against a collective – not one man – and definitely not an innocent victim.
    This is Cabot vs. Charles F Speer, Speer law Firm, P.A, Edward Ciarimboli, Clancy Boylan, Fellerman & Ciarimboli and Raymond Kemble.
    These are nuisance lawyers and a nuisance citizen who doesn’t want to make an honest dollar.

  • Poor "David"

    “David” – you are no victim. Search the internet for “Cabot Oil and Gas Declines to Play Sue and Settle”. Go to the Forbes article where Cabot is commended for not folding to nuisance lawyers and nuisance citizens looking for quick money from corporations.

  • Hey "David"

    “David” – you’re no victim. This was proven years ago. Search the internet for “Pigs to Rigs” case and read the article on natrualgasnow. Within that article is a link to the entire 37 page lawsuit – 100% transparent to the public. “David” grossly neglected the terms of a previous settlement. He is no different than the rest of the population. There are consequences for violating terms of legal agreements.

      • "Davids"?

        A) This is not against an individual – it is against a collective of people to include a group of lawyers.
        B) His public defamation of Cabot could cost them much more than $5 million in business.
        C) Ray and the group of lawyers would have gladly taken double this amount from Cabot.

  • A2B2C

    Contracts and settlements have language in them for a reason. Don’t abide by them and you get to suffer the repercussions. It really shouldn’t have been that difficult for him!

    • John S Mellow

      Non-disclosure agreements are common with industry that does not want the extent of a problem investigated. The problem here would be the amount that they know no middle-class person can afford. What this would be considered is legal intimidation. Happened in Jessup with Invenergy plant. Like Kembel, others have to start taking action against the attorneys doing this legal BS. Consequences of this type of legal threat also.

    • John S Mellow

      Seen some very good responses to problems by various industries including the Marcellus gas companies. Cabot does not seem to be one of them.The USEPA Powerpoint presentation that showed an interpretation of short and long-term groundwater degradation was leaked to media but not acknowledged as an offical EPA report until recently. This is the kind of B that needs to stop.

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