The Tenth Circuit issued it’s opinion in Northern Natural Gas Company v. L.D. Drilling on October 17, 2012.
In these consolidated interlocutory appeals, Defendants-Appellants, natural gas producers with wells in south central Kansas, challenge a preliminary injunction enjoining them from further gas exploration of those wells. The district court entered the preliminary injunction after concluding there was a substantial likelihood that Plaintiff-Appellee Northern Natural Gas Company would prevail on it’s state-law claim alleging that Defendants’ natural gas production from these wells was an actionable nuisance because it was disrupting Northern’s nearby underground storage of natural gas.
The parties agreed that, to succeed on the nuisance claim, Northern had to establish four elements: 1) that there was an interference with Northern’s use and enjoyment of the field, and that the interference was substantial (this was undefeated); 2) that there was a substantial likelihood Northern would be able to establish that Defendants acted with the intent to interfere with Northern’s use and enjoyment of the field (the Tenth Circuit found this to be true); 3) that the nature, duration, or amount of of Defendant’s interference with Northern’s use of the field was unreasonable; and 4) that there was a substantial likelihood that Northern would prevail on it’s nuisance claim.
Having found no abuse of discretion, the Tenth Circuit AFFIRMED the preliminary injunction.