A Tarrant County jury on Friday awarded a southwest Fort Worth homeowner $20,000 after finding that a nearby Chesapeake Energy well site constituted a nuisance. Samuel Crowder sued Chesapeake Operating in 2011, saying its well site at McCart Avenue and West Cleburne Road was noisy and smelly, infringing on the enjoyment of the home on Madrid Drive that he and his wife, Jane, have lived in since 1973. He had asked for about $108,000 in past and future damages.
A six-person county court jury found that Chesapeake intentionally created a nuisance with its well site, and that the facility was abnormal and out of place for its environment. The finding of a private nuisance means the jury agreed that the well site substantially interfered with the Crowders’ ability to enjoy their property. But the jury also found the site was a temporary nuisance, rather than permanent. It did not award future damages, which accounted for more than $80,000 of the Crowders’ damage request.
Despite that finding, the Crowders’ attorney, Kirk Claunch, said “I’m very pleased” with the award. He maintains that energy production operations in close proximity to residences is inappropriate and will inevitably infringe on its neighbors.
Roger Diseker, who represented Chesapeake, referred a request for comment to the company’s Oklahoma City headquarters, which did not immediately respond.
-- Jim Fuquay