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Earthquake lawsuit dismissed by Oklahoma judge


A Lincoln County district judge has dismissed a lawsuit claiming water disposal well operators caused a 2011 earthquake that injured a Prague woman reported Adam Wilmoth for The Oklahoman.

Judge Cynthia Ferrell Ashwood says the district court does not have jurisdiction, and that the case should be handled by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

“The court further finds that this court would be required to decide issues that are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission,” Ashwood wrote. “As a result, this court finds that it does not have jurisdiction to hear this case.”

Attorney Scott E. Poynter said he plans to appeal the ruling.

“We think the district court does have jurisdiction,” he said. “Ms. Ladra is a private person suing a private entity for damages. For us, it seems clear that those kinds of cases deserve to be in district court and heard by a jury. We’ll appeal the decision and hopefully be back.”

Prague resident Sandra Ladra in August filed the lawsuit against the operators of Lincoln County water disposal wells, claiming they caused the magnitude 5.6 earthquake in 2011 that caused rock from her fireplace to land in her lap and injure her knee.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is run by three state-wide elected commissioners.  The group is charged with the regulation of oil and gas drilling, utilities, and telephone companies.