Prague resident Sandra Ladra this month filed a 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 suit lists as defendants Tulsa-based New Dominion LLC; Cleveland, OK-based Spess Oil Co.; and 25 other unnamed companies. Ladra is asking for more than $75,000 in actual damages, plus punitive damages.
Representatives from New Dominion and Spess did not return phone calls to The Oklahoman.
“Ultimately the decision is for the jury to decide if the earthquake was attributed to the injection wells. We will offer scientific findings that the injections are along fault lines,” Ladra’s attorney Scott Poynter told The Oklahoman.
“Ultimately we think we can meet our burden of proof, that we can persuade the jury that the earthquakes in and around Prague were the result of injection well activity.”
In court filings, Poynter cited research conducted by Cornell University professor Katie Keranen and the U.S. Geological Survey that found four high-volume wells in the area “potentially induced” the Prague earthquake, the largest recorded in Oklahoma history.
Oklahoma has a history of earthquakes, including a magnitude-5.5 centered near El Reno in 1952 and a magnitude-4.9 in southern Oklahoma in 1882.
The number of earthquakes measuring magnitude-3.0 or greater has jumped from an average of less than five a year to more than 200 so far in 2014, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey.