A Texas court of appeals has ruled that expert testimony is not needed to prove that seismic blasting activity caused damage to a water well. In Seitel Data, Ltd. v. Simmons, Opinion No. 06-11-00041-CV, 362 S.W.3d 783 (Tex.App.—Texarkana, 2012), 2012 WL 129766, 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 1446, the plaintiffs testified that their freshwater well began to produce sand and mud after seismic blasting occurred nearby.
The court of appeals ruled that expert testimony was not needed and that lay testimony was adequate to prove causation. The court noted that jurors could apply general experience and “commonsense” understanding to establish with reasonable probability that there was a causal link between seismic-related vibrations and damage to the water well. This opinion raises the question of whether landowners can establish causation in cases alleging damage to their water wells caused by hydraulic fracturing or fracking.