Yesterday, we learned that Range Resources so feared what the Hallowich children might say about their gas drilling operations adjacent to their home, they had the two minor children gagged for life.
Today in a statement given to the Post-Gazette, we learn that Range may be issuing an affidavit releasing the gag on the Hallowich children.
Pittsburgh-area shale settlement ‘gag’ questioned
Legal views differ on its effect on two youngsters
Don Hopey, July 31, 2013
Matt Pitzarella, a Range Resources spokesman, said Wednesday that the comments by Mr. Swetz are “not something we agree with” and added “we don’t believe the [Hallowich] settlement applies to children.” He also said that Range has entered into no other nondisclosure agreements that bar children from speaking.
The Hallowich attorney, Mr. Villari, responded to the news:
“It’s news to me that they say they are now releasing the children,” he said, “but I’d appreciate it if they’d put that in writing. It would be very nice to do that.”
In the transcript (excerpts HERE) the Range attorney was very clear that Range intended the children to be bound by the gag order and that Range intended to enforce it. The Hallowich attorney was also clear about the intent.
But Mr. Villari said Wednesday that Mr. Swetz told the court he “had the full authority to speak on his client’s behalf,” and all of the defendant shale gas development companies insisted that the Hallowich non-disclosure agreement “extended to the minor children,” and are “still insisting on the full extent of those obligations.”
Mr. Swetz, the attorney representing Range has not been found for comment. We heard he did not heed this warning sign. What a shame,
such a young fellow. Correction: That link was the wrong Mr. Swetz (sorry about that). The Mr. Swetz who used to work for K&L Gates is no longer listed as one of their attorneys. I wonder if Andy Sims is watching.
It a good thing Range decided to release the children because legal scholars said things like “over the top” and “They are children and can’t be bound by such an agreement..” in response to the news.
The best news is that now Exhibit B can be released (if they can find it) because it is clear by the transcript that Exhibit B was “attached thereto.” Somewhere along the way it mysteriously became unattached. Of course, someone has a copy and the new judge on the case (the original judge might be headed for the slammer) can subpoena everyone for their copy.
Range should stop fighting this and allow the records to be fully unsealed and get their PR beating over with. I’m sure Pitzarella can spin around and think of something to say. He seems to be doing a fine job so far.
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.
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Another Alberta Neighbour says
Dear Range Resources,
Release the parents too – in writing – and all others you’ve gagged because of poisoning, it’s the least you can do, and publicly apologize – in writing – to TX Sharon for harassing her, and publicly apologize – in writing- to the Hallowich family for putting them through this Hell, and publicly state – in writing, Range will never gag anyone or seal any frac court settlement again. Then, perhaps, the world might think you’re trying to be sincere.
Vile, to trample on families for profit.
Vile, to trample on children’s rights because the court let you.
Alberta Neighbor says
I second that!
But it sort of reminds me of a Sesame Street episode:
Psyopsed, Subverted, Silenced, Sincerity …
“One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?”
Oh! I love to play that game and will be playing it again in an upcoming blog post.