After losing an appeal, a property owner in northeast Calgary plans to take her lawsuit against an Alberta energy regulator to the Supreme Court. On Sept. 15, the Alberta Court of Appeal upheld a previous ruling by an Alberta Court of Queen's Bench judge who said that the woman could not sue Encana. The initial court ruling last fall found that the company was immune from civil claims.
The property owner claims that the water on her property has been so polluted by hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, that it causes burns to skin. She blames Encana and the province for the contamination of her water supply by chemicals. Although the woman's own water well has been affected, she says her commitment to litigation and appeals is about helping the broader community.
According to the plaintiff, she would never have pursued the lawsuit if she were the only person affected by fracking. She claims that fracking companies all over the country are harming everybody's drinking water. Despite her lawyers warning that the Supreme Court only hears one out of every ten cases, the woman has chosen to go ahead with hers. She will have 60 days from the time her last appeal was lost to apply for a leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Appeals differ from regular court trials, and a plaintiff may wish to seek representation from a lawyer before and during the appeal process. A lawyer may be able to help the plaintiff to prepare a strong appeal factum that will be presented to the panel of judges at the Supreme Court.
Source: 630 CHED, "Alberta fracking case could go to Supreme Court", Brenton Driedger, September 15, 2014