Where is Exhibit B (Filed Under Seal) to the Hallowich-Range case?

I’m sure you all know by now that a judge in PA ruled to unseal the Hallowich-Range non-disclosure agreement. But, something–the real settlement–is missing from the unsealed documents and that would be Exhibit B (Filed Under Seal). It’s disappeared but surely someone has a copy.

Judge rules in newspapers’ favor in Hallowich-Range case
By Barbara Miller

Inside the 56-page Washington County Court record Fitch opened Wednesday, however, was a page marked, “Exhibit B (Filed Under Seal),” but no accompanying document, which is believed to be the actual settlement agreement

Oddly, Matt Pitzarella didn’t provide a comment for this article. He’s rarely at a loss for words.

Paul Ponzonsky, the judge in the Hallowich-Range case, is under investigation for destroying evidence in 17 criminal cases he presided over so he hightailed it out of town to Alaska where he landed a job as Hearing Officer. (Why would a judge who hears criminal cases preside over a toxic tort case?)

Shannyn Moore: How does a Pennsylvania ex-judge under investigation land an Alaska job?
Published: December 1, 2012

It turns out Mr. Pozonsky does have Alaska connections. He’s married to Sarah Crapuchettes, the sister of Chuck Kopp of Soldotna. You will remember Kopp as Gov. Sarah Palin’s replacement for Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan (a change prompted by Monegan’s unwillingness to carry out Palin’s wish that he fire her trooper ex-brother-in-law). Kopp wasn’t vetted by Palin’s staff, so when his history of sexual harassment allegations became public, he bowed out of the job (taking $10,000 for two weeks’ work with him).

Later Ponzonsky quit his Alaska job but he is collecting $7,956 monthly for his retirement from being a criminal judge in PA, and his wife is working on a documentary called “A Fishy Tale.” LINK

But, where is Exhibit B (Filed Under Seal)?

StateImpact posted 971 pages of the just released documents and they highlighted some juicy parts. I’m finding it quite entertaining. Below are some snippets.

Page 3 – somehow acetone got into Range’s freshwater impoundment pit and another pit was leaking.

Page 4 – there might have been a casing issue on one of the Range wells. A DEP investigator on the case suddenly decided he would rather work for Range. The documentation from his investigations disappeared

Page 5 – water testing showed acrylontrile (ChapStick?) and styrene in their drinking water. It was over safe limits.

Page 6 – Other people had acrylontrile (ChapStick?) in their water so the DEP told Range it test their water. But Range got mixed up and tested the wrong people’s water–the ones without acrylontrile (ChapStick?).

There were odors and health impacts.

Page 8 – more missing documents.

Page 16 – can’t sell house and can’t live there so staying at Ramada Inn.

Page 18 – threats

Page 63 – there was a sudden recusal and then Ponzonsky was appointed. This sounds familiar: In Parker County the long-time judge suddenly resigned about the time the Lipsky-Range case was assigned to his court. The Rick Perry appointed Loftin. Range sure gets lucky that way.

Page 168 – DEP tapdancing around contamination

Page 169 – tapdancing continues.

Page 204 – paltry amount of money

Page 206 – settlement reached to resolve matter in Exhibit B.

Page 252 – Exhibit B (Filed Under Seal) documents gone fishing?

Page 323 – Plaintiff’s Complaint dated March 10, 2011 (date on page 363).

Someone please subpoena someone or everyone and find Exhibit B (Filed Under Seal). It might be in Alaska.

I wonder if Ponzonsky knows Trey Loftin. Has anybody seen him lately?

I’m guessing the top guys at Range don’t need to worry much right now about adding fiber to their diets.



About Sharon Wilson

Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.


  1. says

    “somehow acetone got into Range’s freshwater impoundment pit and another pit was leaking”

    Gosh, I just hate it when that happens, don’t you?

  2. Tim Ruggiero says

    But Matty did comment via email. He said that Range ‘Welcomed the disclosure” (of the settlement) although it’s puzzling why Range is now so ‘welcoming’ after fighting it for so long and spending who knows how much in shareholder money trying to keep those records sealed. I seem to recall Range expressing ‘concern’ for the Hallowich children as their reasoning for non-disclosure.

    Even more puzzling is Range using this $750K payout as proof that shale gas drilling is perfectly safe. Matty’s words, not mine. Maybe he was getting his lawsuits mixed up? They have so many of them these days, I can imagine it is difficult to keep up with.

    • says

      That was on a different article. He didn’t provide any comment for the observer-reporter. Of course, you know the Steph and Chris didn’t get all that money.

  3. Dory says

    wondering if Exhibit B was ever filed with the records prior to sealing them? OOOPS clerical error?

  4. Andy Mechling says

    Are the Hallowich’s attorneys now saying they dont have exhibit b?
    Something is still very fishy here.
    Sharon; do you see why I dont trust lawyers at all? This sucks.

    • says

      It’s not the Hallowich attorneys at all. The judge who ruled in the case originally has 17 criminal cases where he destroyed the evidence. That is why he is under a grand jury investigation. He fled to Alaska. If I were forced to guess, I would say Exhibit B resides in Alaska but who knows.

      It will turn up. All it takes is a subpoena.

  5. Andy Mechling says

    OK; but these lawyers; if they don’t have a copy of exibit b, they could at least be forthcoming as to what it entailed. If they refuse; these lawyers are just another part of the problem. This “grab the money-hide the truth” act is growing tiresome.

  6. Missy Baker says

    Articles in the local newspapers first said that lawyers for the Post Gazette and Observer Reporter were going to get the missing documents from the industry. Most recently, however, an article came out saying that they were going to go to court to require the Hallowich’s to provide their copy of the missing documents. The article indicated that the family’s lawyer was on vacation at the time this latest decision was made (about a week ago). Haven’t read anything more about it since then, though.