(07/23/2013)
A lawsuit was settled in Harrison County against Antero Resources/Frontier Drilling for $12 million after an incident that left a worker paralyzed, claiming unsafe working conditions at the Salem WV worksite.

Joseph Davenport sued over the incident that occurred in May 2011 while he was trying to repair the drill on the rig, according to Charleston attorney Bobby Warner.

"They should've shut down the job and contacted a third party to come in and repair it. Obviously, that would have caused the job to be shut down and they're under pressure to keep things moving," Warner said.

"[Davenport] was directed by a supervisor to basically perform a very unsafe task in an attempt to fix the broken part of the drill."

The tools designed for the task were worn out and broken, according to the complaint filed in Harrison Circuit Court.

Davenport was diagnosed as a quadriplegic, but is considered a paraplegic, now able to walk with the assistance of leg braces and crutches.

"Antero continues to have a very bad track record of having unsafe workplace conditions resulting in too many men being severely injured," Warner said.

Five workers were hospitalized in the Pittsburgh Burn Center earlier this month following an explosion at an Antero natural gas well in Doddridge County.

In August, 2012, Antero had safety problems at an Antero-owned well in Harrison County that ignited methane gas several hundred feet underground, causing a fireball and a fire with three workers injured. DEP cited Antero for failure to maintain well control for that incident.

The DEP has cited Antero for 17 violations of state law in the past three years, primarily environmental violations.

A violation on Jan. 4, 2013 warned, "Imminent danger water supplies threatened by allowing pollutants to escape and flow into the waters of the state."

In June 2012, Antero was drilling using water and accidentally re-pressurized some water wells, causing several geysers, one about 10 feet high, that flooded a home and several garages.

In March 2011, regulators shut down an Antero gas well in Harrison County after mud contaminated with drilling chemicals spilled into a nearby stream.

Antero Resources owns at least 399 wells in Doddridge, Harrison, Ritchie, Tyler and Upshur counties.


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