Antero Resources v. StrudleyAnnotate this Case
After an exchange of Rule 26 disclosures, Anero Resources Corporation, Antero Resources Piceance Corporation, Calfrac Well Services Corporation and Frontier Drilling, LLC (collectively, Antero Resources) asked the trial court to enter a modified case management order requiring plaintffs, William and Beth Strudley, to present prima facie evidence that they suffered injuries attributable to the natural gas drilling operations of Antero Resources. The trial court granted the motion and issued a "Lone Pine" order that directed the Strudleys to provide prima facie evidence to support their claims of exposure, injury, and causation before the court would allow full discovery. The trial court determined that the Strudleys failed to present such evidence, and dismissed their case with prejudice. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that, as a matter of first impression, "Lone Pine" orders were not permitted as a matter of Colorado law. Upon review of the matter from an appeal of the court of appeals, the Supreme Court held that Colorado's Rules of Civil Procedure did not allow a trial court to issue a modified case management order (such as a "lone Pine" order) that required a plaintiff to present prima facie evidence in support of a claim before plaintiff could exercise its full rights of discovery under the Colorado Rules. "Although the comments to C.R.C.P. 16 promote active judicial case management, the rule does not provide a trial court with authority to fashion its own summary judgment-like filter and dismiss claims during the early stages of litigation."