A New York City-based law firm specializing in mass tort litigation is suing Anschutz Exploration Corp. and its contractors on behalf of nine families that claim their drinking water was contaminated by the company’s gas exploration and drilling activities in Horseheads, NY.

The complaint alleges that property values for homes owned by the nine families have been reduced and the families’ health has been jeopardized. The lawsuit was filed with the Supreme Court of The State of New York in Chemung County.

According to the complaint, Denver-based Anschutz owns two gas wells that were drilled almost 10,000 feet vertically and then horizontally into New York’s Trenton Black River shale formation, which is roughly twice as deep as the Marcellus Shale. The lawsuit alleges that the company was negligent in its drilling, construction and operation of the gas wells and that as a result of this negligence, the plaintiffs’ water supplies became contaminated.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as the cost of future health monitoring for the residents. The law firm Napoli Bern Ripka LLP said it is the first case brought in New York state for groundwater contamination caused by natural gas drilling.

A spokesman for privately held Anschutz did not immediately respond to NGI’s Shale Daily‘s request for comment.