Weatherford Democrat

Front Page

April 24, 2013

Court overturns some rulings against water well owners

Appeals court lets other claims filed against Weatherford couple continue

By CHRISTIN COYNE

Steven Lipsky won part of his appeal to the Texas Second Court of Appeals Tuesday when the appellate court ordered some of the civil charges from Range Resources be dismissed. 

However, the company can pursue claims of defamation and business disparagement in Parker County district court against Lipsky, the appeals court ruled.

Steven and Shyla Lipsky filed a suit against Range Resources in June 2011, alleging nearby gas drilling by the company contaminated their water well and caused the water to become flammable, charges Range denied.

Range filed a countersuit, alleging the Lipskys, along with consultant Alisa Rich, conspired to defame the company.

In January 2012, then-43rd District Judge Trey Loftin dismissed the Lipskys’ case against Range, finding that the lawsuit should have been filed in a Travis County district court under the Texas Natural Resources Code because the issue had gone before the Texas Railroad Commission.

The Lipskys and Rich attempted to have the claims against them dismissed under Texas anti-SLAPP law that seeks to prevent “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation” and protect First Amendment rights for speakers who may be frivously sued to inhibit their speech.

Loftin denied their motion, finding in a February 2012 order that Steven Lipsky working with Rich made a “deceptive” video calculated to alarm the public.

However, the three-judge panel found in a 42-page opinion released Tuesday that “the trial court clearly abused its discretion” by denying Alisa Rich’s and Shyla Lipsky’s motions to dismiss all of Ranges claims against them and ordered the trial court to dismiss the claims.

The appellate judges found no evidence that Rich agreed with the Lipskys to publicly blame Range for the well contamination.

The judges also stated that Range did not point out, nor could they locate, any evidence showing Shyla Lipsky published any statements, defamatory or otherwise, concerning Range.

The appellate court found that “the trial court clearly abused its discretion” by denying Lipsky’s motion to dismiss Range’s civil conspiracy and aiding and abetting claims against him under the anti-SLAPP law and ordered that those claims against Lipsky be dismissed.

The appellate court left pending Range’s claims of defamation and business disparagement against Steven Lipsky. 

Messages left for attorneys for the Lipskys and Range were not returned Tuesday afternoon.

1
Text Only
Front Page
  • 0423 one ribbon cutting main.jpg Almost there

    A ribbon-cutting on a bright, beautiful Tuesday morning — attended by more than 135 people — marked the near-finish of the Ric Williamson Memorial Highway, the centerpiece and largest project of the $80 million Parker County Transportation Bond approved by voters in November of 2008.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Azle couple charged with leaving child in car outside bar

    A couple who, police say, left their 12-year-old son in the car while getting drunk at a Reno bar Friday night were charged with endangering their child. 

    April 23, 2014

  • Burglary suspects caught after stop for unlit license plate

    Three men police believe burglarized a Willow Park convenience store early Monday morning didn’t make it far. 

    April 23, 2014

  • Annetta gets A+ bond rating

    Annetta’s general obligation bond rating has improved significantly, jumping several levels of creditworthiness from the rating the city received last year. 

    April 23, 2014

  • puckett.jpg Q&A: The race for WISD Place 6

    MEET THE CANDIDATES

     

    With some contested races in area school board and city council races on the May 10 ballots, the WD will provide a closer look at some of those through a question-and-answer feature with the candidates. Early voting begins April 28. Today we look at the candidates running for Place 6 of the Weatherford ISD school board.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Curtis Elementary 1.jpg Interactive reading program comes to Curtis

    A new reading trend has been sweeping the country — Wandoo Planet, an interactive reading program that allows kids to choose books based on their interests.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Springtown drainage project to cost less

    Parker County commissioners, who recently learned that the first phase of the Springtown Main Street drainage project will cost $400,000 less than engineers have estimated, have voted to revise the total budget from $2.2 million to $1.4 million and adjust the county’s 50 percent cost-share agreement with the City of Springtown so each entity pays $700,000 instead of $1.1 million.

    April 22, 2014

  • WHS student killed in single-vehicle wreck

    A Weatherford High School junior involved in a single-vehicle crash Thursday died Friday at a Fort Worth hospital. 

    April 21, 2014

  • students.jpg Is opting out an option?

    One local parent has taken it upon herself to make her voice heard. Michelle Osterkamp, who has two children attending Mary Martin Elementary, began to research the opt-out method after talking with some of her teacher friends.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Taste of Parker County logo.jpg Canyon West to host Taste of Parker County

    Prepare your taste buds, because the sixth annual Taste of Parker County is just a few short weeks away, and this year’s event has moved to a larger location to accommodate even more great eats and treats.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks