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Attorneys Argue Cabot Lawsuit in Susquehanna County

MONTROSE — It’s being compared to the battle of David and Goliath in Susquehanna County. Lawyers for Cabot Oil and Gas were in court Monday over a l...

MONTROSE -- It's being compared to the battle of David and Goliath in Susquehanna County.

Lawyers for Cabot Oil and Gas were in court Monday over a lawsuit against an outspoken landowner who says his drinking water was contaminated by fracking.

Cabot was seeking $5 million from a property owner and his attorneys who sued the natural gas company earlier this year.

After the hearing, Cabot will remove that dollar amount from its lawsuit for now while a judge decides if the case can move forward.

Ray Kemble has been in the news before. The resident of Dimock in Susquehanna County is once more facing off against Cabot Oil and Gas in court.

"This is just a way to shut the people up of the county and of the state and I just don't think it's right," Kemble said.

Outside the courthouse in Montrose, Kemble and his attorney talked about the trouble he's had finding a lawyer after Cabot sued the outspoken landowner back in August. That's one of the reasons Kemble wants more time to mount a defense in the lawsuit against him.

"It's always difficult to find a new lawyer when the old lawyer just got sued representing you in the same matter," said Kemble's attorney Rich Raiders.

Roughly five years ago, Kemble was one of several landowners in Susquehanna County that settled a lawsuit with Cabot Oil and Gas. Part of that settlement meant Kemble couldn't speak poorly of Cabot or release details of that agreement.

In 2017, Kemble filed another suit against Cabot, and Cabot says Kemble violated that initial settlement with the company.

Cabot is suing Kemble and his attorneys, claiming they are trying to extort money from the company.

A spokesperson for Cabot won't comment on why the company first asked for $5 million in the lawsuit. The gas company's attorneys agreed to withdraw that amount for now.

"That still doesn't say they won't try to go after $5 million against somebody who is judgment-proof. That's just intimidation and nothing more," Raiders said.

Cabot's spokesperson tells Newswatch 16:

"Mr. Kemble agreed to a settlement with Cabot in exchange for money years ago. He has since breached the terms of that agreement on numerous occasions and continues to do so.

"Today's court actions are steps we must take to pursue justice."

"David took out Goliath. I'm David," Kemble responded.

The judge is supposed to rule at a later date on the issues in the lawsuit argued in court.

While Cabot claims Kemble violated the settlement agreement, Kemble also contends Cabot did as well.

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