Pennsylvania court rules company can't avoid discovery on hydraulic fracturing chemicals

A panel of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania has affirmed a trial court’s ruling and said the engineering firm for a hydraulic fracturing company cannot avoid providing discovery on the chemicals and substances used in the company’s drilling operations, according to Mealey’s Fracking Report. In Haney v. Range Resources Appalachia Inc. v. Haney v. Slomax International Inc., Pa. Super Ct., No. 257 WDA 2015, Stacey Haney and five other plaintiffs sued Range Resources and other companies in Washington County Court of Common Pleas, seeking disclosure of chemicals used or brought to the Yeager Drill Site in Amwell Township, Pennsylvania. Mealey’s says the Washington County court quashed the defendants’ privileged-based objection to service of a subpoena on URS Corp., an engineering firm retained by Range Resources. Range then appealed to the Superior Court, arguing the trial court had erred when it issued an order permitting “an overly broad subpoena” that would require a party’s non-testifying expert to disclosure privileged material and work product in violation of the work product doctrine, attorney-client privilege and Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 4003.5(a)(3). Mealey’s says the plaintiffs countered that Range Resources had “failed to establish that the requested material was protected.” The Superior Court panel ruled that “upon review we discern no basis for disturbing the trial court’s conclusion that [Range Resources] failed to invoke the protection of [PRCP] 4003.5(a)(3).”