Yesterday, Judge Corley stayed two class action earthquake cases pending in Logan and Payne Counties until September 6, 2018.
As discussed in this blog on February 28th, defendants in the cases sought a total shut down of the earthquake cases based upon a federal class action lawsuit on file in OKC.
Defendants argued they favored being in one court, that they didn't want conflicting court decisions, and the courts and the parties would be more efficient if everything that was in front of Judge Corley was halted until the federal court decided whether to certify the case there as a class action.
The defendants' arguments in front of Judge Corley yesterday will, undoubtedly, do an about-face when they argue in the federal court.
Plaintiffs' counsel Scott Poynter asked who amoung the defendants intended to agree to class certification in federal court. Because none said they would do so, Poynter argued the basis for Defendants' arguments was hypocritical -- because in front Judge Corley they were asking for one case in one courtroom, but each defendant intended to argue the exact opposite in the federal case and that there should be thousands of individual lawsuits across Oklahoma.
In the end, Poynter said the motive was delay and to frustrate the momentum his clients had been gaining, and moreover, that Oklahomans damaged by the oil and gas industry's caused earthquakes were Constitutionally guaranteed access to the state's district courts and to justice, without delay.
Judge Corley said he agreed with several of Poynter's arguments, and decided to stay the two cases until September 6th and in order to see how the federal case progressed over that time.