Whitesburg KY

Gas company files suit against

A Letcher County man denies that he is keeping a natural gas production company away from its wells because he is upset over foxes that went missing in 2005.

Hassel Griffie, of Tolby Branch in Hallie, says he is not responsible for a gate that is keeping Equitable Production Company away from three gas wells that have been drilled on Griffie’s property.

On April 7, Equitable filed a complaint in Letcher Circuit Court seeking an injunction that would require Griffie to allow the company access to its three wells, which the company says “need servicing, maintenance, well tending, etceteras.”

Equitable’s lawsuit, filed by Prestonsburg attorney Martin L. Osborne, cites a disagreement between Griffie and Equitable that began three years ago as the reason he is now keeping the firm off his land.

“In April 2005, Hassel Griffie filed a complaint alleging that Equitable’s employees or agents left a gate open which allowed his penned foxes to escape,” the suit says. “This is most probably his reason for denying (Equitable) access to its wells.”

On April 14, Griffie filed his own answer to Equitable’s suit, in which he denies using a locked gate to keep the company off his property. Griffie also claims that Equitable owes him $5,760 for the missing foxes.

“The gate in question is not on my property,” Griffie’s answer says. “I do not own this gate nor did I place the gate or the lock on the gate.” Griffie says Equitable Production owes him “$5,760 because the gas company left the gate open and let the foxes run out.

“There is no lock on the gate on Hassel Griffie’s property and has not been since the gas company left it open and let the foxes out,” says Griffie’s answer.

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