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
  • 0729 one purple heart group.jpg A Purple Heart County

    County Judge Mark Riley and Parker County commissioners proclaimed Parker County to be a “Purple Heart County” Monday, honoring local veterans and their families in a special ceremony held in the second floor courtroom of the historic courthouse. 

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • WISD to propose tax rate decrease

    Weatherford ISD, which is projected to see a rise in property values, is proposing a one-cent tax rate decrease, which would slightly increase taxes for the average homeowner. 

    July 28, 2014

  • Israel Andrade Illegal indicted for burglary, child indecency

    A Parker County grand jury has indicted a man accused of breaking into a Springtown-area home earlier this month and molesting a sleeping 9-year-old girl.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_9754.jpg Home destroyed by fire

    WEATHERFORD – A fire that broke out Monday on the 700 block of Cimmaron Trail in Horseshoe Bend ended in the complete loss of a family’s home.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0727 one before-after.jpg Almost there...

    As a two-room schoolhouse with two school teachers conducting grades 1-9, the Mount Pleasant Colored School has had a humble beginning.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Woman hit on interstate identified

    A woman killed early Friday morning while walking on Interstate 30 near the Parker - Tarrant county line has been identified as 29-year-old Ashley Wright of Weatherford, according to information released Saturday by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. 

    July 26, 2014

  • Five teens hospitalized after wreck

    Alcohol may have been involved in a wreck Wednesday near Brock that sent five teens to the hospital, including two with life-threatening injuries, according to information from the Texas Department of Public Safety. 

    July 25, 2014

  • Woman killed while walking on interstate

    A woman, who had not been identified as of Friday afternoon, was killed early Friday morning while walking on Interstate 30 near the Parker - Tarrant county line, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. 

    July 25, 2014

  • Rates of the rise?

    As part of an ongoing discussion, the City of Weatherford Municipal Utilities Board Thursday was taken through part two of the rate-making process for the city’s proposed capital improvement plan. The result of this plan will have a direct impact on utility rates for city customers. 

    July 24, 2014

  • Hospital board moves closer to building ambulance station

    The Parker County Hospital District Board of Directors took steps Wednesday to advertise and accept bids for the construction of a Brock-area ambulance station. 

    July 24, 2014

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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