Originally published by Dana M. Douglas and Jonathan J. Fox.
The Parish of Plaquemines amended its petitions in two of the Coastal Zone Management Act (“CZMA”) cases on June 19, 2017. Prior to the amendment of the petitions, Judge Clement sustained Defendants’ Exceptions of Vagueness in the two cases, namely: The Parish of Plaquemines v. Rozel Operating Co., et al. and The Parish of Plaquemines v. Equitable Petroleum Corporation, et al. As a result, the Court signed Judgments ordering the Parish of Plaquemines to amend the petitions to “more specifically set forth the factual basis for their claims as to each defendant individually.”
In its Reasons for Judgment, the Court explained:
The petitions in these cases are vague and factually deficient in that the Parish does not differentiate in any way the factual allegations against the defendants individually. The Parish cannot simply lump the various defendants together and must amend its petitions to set forth specific, individualized allegations as to each defendant.
As part of the rulings, the Court provided the Parish with time to conduct discovery to obtain information from the defendants in order to support the specific, individualized allegations required by the Court.
In response to the Court’s Judgments, Plaquemines Parish filed amended petitions for damages on June 19, 2017 in both Rozel and Equitable. The amended petitions identify the wells and operational areas associated with certain defendants and add allegations regarding actions and omissions that purportedly violated the Coastal Zone Management Laws. Specifically, the amended petitions allege:
- Certain defendants constructed, used, and/or improperly closed wastes pits and failed to obtain coastal use permits to do so;
- Certain defendants discharged wastes, including NORM and produced water, into wetlands and waters in the operational areas without coastal use permits;
- Certain defendants improperly dredged, maintained, and closed canals that significantly contributed to land loss in the operational areas; and
- Certain defendants caused production-induced, surface subsidence without employing adequate preventative countermeasures.
Additionally, the amended petitions attach new exhibits that individually identify wells, operational areas, pits, coastal use permits, and loss land associated with the operations of the defendants.
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