United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia
ROXUL USA, INC., a Delaware corporation, d/b/a, “ROCKWOOL, ” Plaintiff,
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE COUNTY OF JEFFERSON, a West Virginia county board of education, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF HEARING GRANTING THE
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
M. GROH CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
April 30, 2019, and May 1, 2019, the parties in the
above-styled civil action appeared before the Court for a
hearing on the Plaintiff's Motion for a Temporary
Restraining Order or Preliminary Injunction. ECF No. 2. James
A. Walls, Joseph V. Schaeffer and James C. Walls, III,
appeared on behalf of the Plaintiff, Roxul USA, Inc.
(“Rockwool”). Anthony J. Majestro and Courtney B.
Harden appeared on behalf of the Defendant, Board of
Education of the County of Jefferson (“BOE”).
After reviewing the parties' briefs, considering the
evidence presented, and carefully analyzing the controlling
law, the Court GRANTED the motion for a
preliminary injunction for the reasons provided herein.
civil action arises from the BOE's threatened
condemnation of Rockwool's 194-acre real property located
in Ranson, West Virginia. The background of that dispute is
is “the world's leading manufacturer of
environmentally-friendly stone wool insulation.” ECF
No. 18 at 1. In late 2016, Rockwool began considering fifty
sites as locations for its new manufacturing facility in the
United States. Id. Rockwool was recruited to Ranson,
West Virginia by a “wide array of state and local
officials.” Id. In connection with those
recruiting efforts, local officials, including the BOE,
offered Rockwool tax incentives if it agreed to build its new
facility in Ranson, West Virginia. Id. Rockwool
accepted that offer, and in October 2017, Rockwool entered
into a Payment in Lieu of Taxes Agreement
(“PILOT”) with the BOE and others. See
ECF No. 18-1.
November 2017, Rockwool began site preparation and
construction on its new facility. ECF No. 18 at 2. To date,
Rockwool has spent more than $49 million on permitting,
constructing and extending utilities to its new facility.
Id.; see Peter Regenberg Hr'g Test.
However, since beginning construction, Rockwool has faced
significant public backlash, not present during the
negotiation of the PILOT agreement, over health concerns
related to the facility's potential emissions. For
example, Jefferson County citizens have “implored the
[BOE] to either oppose the building of Rockwool or to request
additional information so that an informed decision could be
made regarding student safety.” ECF No. 34-3 at 4.
having signed the PILOT agreement, demonstrating support for
the Rockwool facility, the BOE now opposes the construction.
Specifically, the BOE has publicly withdrawn its support for
the Rockwool facility, demanded a
“non-negotiable” independent human health risk
assessment, requested a moratorium on construction, and
threatened to terminate the PILOT. ECF No. 34-3, 34-4. Most
recently, on April 9, 2019, the BOE informed Rockwool that it
intended to buy or condemn Rockwool's land, identifying
the need for a Regional Student Support Center
(“Student Support Center”).
on April 12, 2019, Rockwool filed the complaint in this
action seeking to enjoin the BOE from condemning its land.
ECF No. 1. Contemporaneously, Rockwool filed a motion for a
temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction. ECF
No. 2. The Court scheduled a hearing on Rockwool's motion
for April 30, 2019. ECF No. 5. After hearing all the
evidence, the Court granted Rockwool's motion for a
preliminary injunction for the reasons provided herein.
Applicable Legal Standards
preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy never
awarded as of right.” Winter v. Nat. Res. Def.
Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008) (citing
Munaf, 553 U.S. 674, 689-90 (2008)). To succeed on a
motion for a preliminary injunction, the plaintiff must make
a “clear showing” that “he is likely to
succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer
irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that
the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an
injunction is in the public interest.” Winter,
555 U.S. at 20, 22. “All four requirements must be
satisfied.” Real Truth About Obama, Inc. v. Fed.
Elec. Comm'n, 575 F.3d 342, 346 (4th Cir. 2009)
(vacated and remanded on other grounds).
court grants a motion for a preliminary injunction it must:
(1) state the reasons why the injunction was issued; (2)
state the injunction's terms specifically; and (3)
describe in reasonable detail the act or acts restrained or
required. Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(d)(1). Additionally, the court may
grant a preliminary injunction “only if the movant
gives security in an amount that the court considers proper
to pay the costs and damages sustained by any party found to
have been wrongfully enjoined or restrained.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(c). In the Fourth Circuit, “this rule
is mandatory and unambiguous.” Hoechst Diafoil Co.
v. Nan Ya Plastics Corp., 174 F.3d 411, 421 (4th Cir.
1999). “Although the district court has discretion to
set bond amount in such sum as the court deems proper, it is
not free to disregard the bond requirement altogether.”
Id. “[F]ailure to require bond upon issuing
injunctive relief is reversible error.” Id.
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
the Court found that an injunction was warranted because: (1)
Rockwool is likely to succeed on the merits of its claims;
(2) Rockwool is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the
absence of preliminary relief; (3) the balance of equities
tips in Rockwool's favor; and (4) an injunction is in the
public interest. These issues are discussed in turn.
Rockwool is likely to succeed on the ...