National law firm Parker Waichman LLP, along with the firm of Climaco, Wilcox, Peca, Tarantino & Garofoli Co., LPA has filed an abuse of process counterclaim in the Court of Common Pleas, Cuyahoga County, Ohio against Duck Creek Energy, Inc. on behalf of Michelle Aini and Tish O’Dell. The counterclaim lawsuit alleges that Duck Creek’s defamation lawsuit filed in March of this year is an abuse of process, and was filed to intimidate, harass, and prevent Aini and O’Dell from exercising their First Amendment Rights.
The defamation lawsuit by Duck Creek relates to Aini and O’Dell’s “expression of concern” about the health and environmental impacts of their town’s use of AquaSalina™, a deicing saline product made from oil and gas well brine. According to the Parker Waichman LLP counterclaim, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources confirms that AquaSalina™ contains the known human carcinogen benzene, in an amount of 7.04 parts per million, while EPA regulations have set the maximum allowable level of benzene in drinking water is 5 parts per million.
Attorneys for O’Dell and Aini say they will “vigorously defend” their clients’ 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.”