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Dewey Home & Investment Properties, LLC v. Delaware Riverkeeper Network

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20101
Nos. 15-10393, (Pa. Ct. Com. Pl., 05/25/2016)

A Pennsylvania court dismissed developers' lawsuit against environmental activists and township residents for alleged tortious interference with contract with respect to a series of oil and gas leases. In an underlying suit, the activists and residents had challenged permits as well as a local ordinance that allowed unconventional gas drilling in the township. The groups and residents were unsuccessful on their claims and have since appealed. While the appeal was pending, the developers filed the instant suit, arguing that the underlying proceedings were an abuse of process being used to delay, harass, and interfere with the developers' oil and gas contracts. But the groups and residents acted within their constitutional rights to challenge the ordinance and permits. And the underlying challenge does not amount to a sham. In fact, although the court ultimately denied the groups' and residents' arguments below, it noted that they made a "strong showing" on the merits. The court therefore dismissed the lawsuit.