Judge Fines Environmental Attorneys $52,000 for ‘Frivolous’ Injection Well Suit
A federal judge has ordered a pair of attorneys for an environmental group to pay $52,000 in legal fees to an energy company because, the judge said, they filed a “frivolous” legal challenge to a fracking waste injection well in Pennsylvania, according to a report by StateImpact, a reporting project of NPR member stations.
“U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter of the Western District of Pennsylvania ruled the attorneys, Thomas Linzey and Elizabeth Dunne, should pay part of Pennsylvania General Energy’s (PGE) legal fees for advancing a “discredited” legal argument that had already been defeated in prior decisions,” writes reporter Reid Frazier. “In addition to the fine, the judge referred Linzey to the state Supreme Court Disciplinary Board for additional discipline.”
In her opinion, Baxter wrote:
The continued pursuit of frivolous claims and defenses, despite Linzey’s first-hand knowledge of their insufficiency, and the refusal to retract each upon reasonable request, substantially and inappropriately prolonged this litigation, and required the Court and PGE to expend significant time and resources eliminating these baseless claims.