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Hallowich v. Range Resources Could Be Unsealed, However Either Way It Goes Could Set An Important Precedent

December 11, 2012

Well it seems that the sealing of the case files of Hallowich v. Range Resources and closing the hearing to the public was wrong.

The Appeals court is siding with the Observer/Reporter and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and has decided Judge Paul Posonsky should not have refused the request of the two news papers to open the case to the public because of his ruling that they filed too late. The Superior Court feels that the lower court should now hear the case on its own merits.

Incase you missed what has led us to this;

Washington county Court of Common Pleas Judge Paul Posonsky, prevents the press from viewing Court documents in the settlement between Range Resources and the Hallowich family of Mount Pleasant Township, Washington County who claims their water was contaminated because of fracking by sealing them.

Judge Posonsky unexpectedly resigned his well paying ($169,500) PA Court of Common Pleas seat. Then in October 2011, becomes a Workers Comp. hearing officer ($79K).
Former PA Judge Pozonsky “resigned” from the same day questions were raised about his family political connections and if they played a role in his hiring.

Paul Pozonsky, is now under investigation by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office.

This is where we are at. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has decided the lower courts ruling was made in error.

State Impact

In a ruling issued Friday, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania says the lower trial court erred in not considering the motion to unseal court records. The trial court had dismissed the newspaper’s motion because it was filed after the case was closed. The Superior Court ordered the Court of Common Pleas to take a look at the newspaper’s requests to unseal the record, and rule based on the merits of the case.

This could be a big win for those who want safe drilling and those who want the drilling stopped. (Which will never happen.) There are now two cases that will set a precedent in the state as far as Fracking goes. The other case being, the constitutionality of the zoning section of Act 13

In my honest opinion depending on how the court rules on these cases, it could hand too much power over to the State and Gas Industry.

1. If the Court decides that the Hallowich case should remain sealed it sends the message that if the Drilling companies cause damage just settle and have the records sealed.

2. If the court decides in the case of Act 13, the section on zoning is constitutional the Gas Industry will have control over where the wells and cut ins are placed. This will show that the court does not believe in Privet Property Rights when it comes to drilling and placement of pipeline.

ABA

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