Concerned Citizens File Abuse of Process Counterclaim against Fracking Company
On March 23, Climaco, Wilcox, Peca, Tarantino & Garofoli Co., LPA and Parker Waichman LLP filed an abuse of process counterclaim against Duck Creek Energy, Inc. on behalf of concerned citizens Tish O’Dell and Michelle Aini. The case was filed in the Court of Common Pleas, Cuyahoga County, Ohio (Case No.12 cv 778554.).
On March 20, oil and gas company Duck Creek Energy, Inc. filed a lawsuit in Court of Common Pleas, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, against Ms. O’Dell and Ms. Aini alleging claims for defamation, tortious interference with business relations and tortious interference with prospective business relations (Case No. 12 cv 778554.) The allegations of Duck Creek Energy, Inc.’s complaint all relate to Ms. O’Dell’s and Ms. Aini’s expression of concern regarding the environmental and health impact of their municipality’s use of a road deicing product manufactured by Duck Creek Energy, Inc. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the deicing product called AquaSalina™ is a saline product derived from brine produced at oil and gas wells.
On March 23, 2012, Ms. O’Dell and Ms. Aini filed a counterclaim against Duck Creek Energy, Inc. alleging that Duck Creek Energy, Inc.’s lawsuit is an abuse of process and was filed to accomplish an ulterior purpose for which it was not designed, to wit, to intimidate, harass and otherwise stop Ms. O’Dell and Ms. Aini from exercising their First Amendment Rights. As fully set forth in the counterclaim, the most recent analysis of AquaSalina™ provided to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources confirms that AquaSalina™ contains benzene, a known human carcinogen, in an amount of 7.04 ppm and the maximum allowable level of benzene in drinking water pursuant to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations is 5 ppm.
The counterclaim further attaches an email from the Mayor of Brecksville to another concerned citizen alleging that “We do not use Duck Creek's Aqua Saline product … we will not, not ever.” The counterclaim further attaches meeting minutes from the Service Committee meeting of the City of Broadview Heights in which the City determined that it “would no longer purchase AquaSalina for use on road salt” because “Benzene is a cancer causing chemical.”
Climaco, Wilcox, Peca, Tarantino & Garofoli Co., LPA and Parker Waichman LLP intend to vigorously defend Ms. O’Dell and Ms. Aini against Duck Creek Energy, Inc.’s unabashed attempt to stifle their clients’ First Amendment Rights to petition their government regarding the use and dispersal of AquaSalina™ on municipal roadways and other driving surfaces and the potential environmental and health effects such dispersal may have.
The growing Texas solar industry is offering a safe harbor to unemployed oil and gas professionals amidst the latest oil and gas industry bust, this one brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Houston Chronicle reports.
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>