Judge rules Dallas owes gas driller $44.5 million in damages and interest

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A judge ruled that Dallas owes a gas driller $44.5 million and counting, for parkland drilling rights that were granted but later denied, The Dallas Morning News reported. 

Judge Craig Smith ruled that the city owes Trinity East Energy $33.6 million in damages and $10.9 million in interest, with an additional $4,608 in interest accruing every day that bill isn’t paid.

A jury found in February after a two-week trial that the city was liable for negligent misrepresentation, statutory fraud and a regulatory taking. Jurors recommended the city pay damages of between $23 million and $33 million. Smith opted for the maximum.

Trinity East paid the city $19 million in 2008 for drilling rights on the easternmost edge of the Barnett Shale on about 22 acres in northwest Dallas, but the Dallas City Council in 2013 declined to approve the permits needed. The company sued in 2014.

Trinity East attorney Art Anderson told the Morning News, “We’re pleased that the court judgment was in conformance with the jury’s verdict.”

Interim City Attorney Chris Caso didn’t immediately respond to the newspaper’s request for comment so it’s unclear if the city will appeal the verdict, attempt to settle or pay the $44.5 million.   

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