Karnes County family’s lawsuit claiming damages caused by bad air quality dismissed
by Joe Baker
Aug 23, 2014 | 1444 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
KARNES CITY – A lawsuit filed by a Karnes County family claiming damages brought about by the activities of oil and gas companies was dismissed last week by District Judge Stella Saxon.

According to details published in a report in the San Antonio Express-News, the suit, which may have been the first in the region to seek damages related to poor air quality, was dismissed because the plaintiffs had “real difficulty” in proving that the two oil and gas companies were responsible for their what they claimed ruined their quality of life.

Michael and Myra Cerny sued Marathon Oil Corp., Marathon Oil EF LLC and Plains Exploration and Producing Co. in May of 2013.

The family moved to the property on Farm-To-Market Road 99 in Karnes County about 10 years ago.

Around 2012 oil and gas wells surrounded their property and oilfield traffic, noise and other nuisances associated with the oilfield activity made life miserable for the family, according to claims in their lawsuit.

The Cernys and their son Cameron became ill, the suit claimed, with headaches, rashes, bone pain, numbness, nosebleeds, irregular heartbeats and bronchitis.

The lawsuit claimed that since their property was completely encircled by oil and gas production sites, their home was always suffering from foul odors and diminished air quality.

Saxon granted a summary judgment request from one of the defendants in the suit that has three different facilities located within a five-mile-radius of the family’s home.

An attorney representing one of the defendants said the family had to prove exposure to not just hydrocarbons, but specifically to hydrocarbon’s that were emitted by a facility belonging to his client.

The Cernys signed a lease with Marathon and royalties were paid to the family.

“They are more in the oil business that I am,” the attorney said.

Two similar lawsuits with health complaints have been filed against Marathon that remain pending.

The Cerny suit was seeking between $1 million and $5 million in damages.

Attorneys representing the Cerny family and other similar cases expressed hope that they may still win the case on appeal.
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