United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S
UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [DKT. NO.
M. KEELEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
condemnation case, the plaintiff, Columbia Gas Transmission,
LLC (“Columbia”), previously obtained immediate
access to and possession of certain temporary and permanent
easements it sought to condemn to construct a natural gas
pipeline (Dkt. No. 308). Now, Columbia moves for summary
judgment on the amount of just compensation due for the
portions of this property owned by the remaining defendants,
Sandra Mays Eggleston (“Eggleston”), Mary Curtis
(“Curtis”), and Gary David Clinton
(“Clinton”) (collectively, “the remaining
defendants”) (Dkt. No. 1559). For the reasons that
follow, the Court GRANTS the unopposed
motion (Dkt. No. 1559).
December 29, 2017, FERC granted a Certificate of Public
Convenience and Necessity to Columbia authorizing
construction of 170.9 miles of natural gas pipeline in West
Virginia (“the Project”) (Dkt. No. 1-1 at
The Project also includes the construction or modification of
several compressor stations, a regulating station, and tie-in
sites. Id. at 3-5. The Certificate is subject to
various environmental conditions, including those that must
be fulfilled before and during construction of Columbia's
pipeline. Id. at app. C.
had to obtain easements along the Project in order to
construct its pipeline, and under the appropriate
circumstances the NGA grants it the authority to do so by
eminent domain. On January 12, 2018, Columbia sought to
exercise that authority over certain property located in the
Northern District of West Virginia, which it was unable to
acquire by agreement, by filing a complaint pursuant to the
NGA and Fed.R.Civ.P. 71.1 (Dkt. No. 1). As required by Rule
71.1(c)(2), Columbia included descriptions of the property,
as well as the interests to be taken (Dkt. Nos. 1 at 44-68;
January 16, 2018, Columbia moved for partial summary judgment
on its right to condemn the subject property, as well as a
preliminary injunction allowing it to immediately possess the
property (Dkt. No. 6). On February 16, 2018, the Court
conducted an evidentiary hearing, and on February 21, 2018,
the Court granted Columbia's motion for order of
condemnation and for preliminary injunction, authorizing
Columbia to condemn and obtain immediate access to and
possession of the subject property (Dkt. No. 308).
10, 2019, Columbia moved for summary judgment on just
compensation owed to the remaining defendants (Dkt. Nos.
1559, 1560). Despite being served a Roseboro Notice (Dkt.
Nos. 1565, 1566), the remaining defendants have not responded
to Columbia's motion. Accordingly, Columbia's motion
is ripe for disposition.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate only “if the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). When ruling on a motion for
summary judgment, the Court reviews all the evidence
“in the light most favorable” to the nonmoving
party. Providence Square, 211 F.3d at 850. The Court
must avoid weighing the evidence or determining its truth and
limit its inquiry solely to a determination of whether
genuine issues of triable fact exist. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986).
moving party bears the initial burden of informing the Court
of the basis for the motion and of establishing the
nonexistence of genuine issues of fact. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the moving party
has made the necessary showing, the non-moving party
“must set forth specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 256 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The
“mere existence of a scintilla of evidence”
favoring the non-moving party will not prevent the entry of
summary judgment; the evidence must be such that a rational
trier of fact could reasonably find for the nonmoving party.
Id. at 248-52.
question at issue is the amount of just compensation due to
the remaining defendants for their interests in the
outstanding tracts, Tract Nos. 4 (WV-MA-0165.000) and 20
(WV-TY-0008.000) (Dkt. No. 1560 at 1-6). Eggleston owns a
0.9259% interest in Tract No. 4, Curtis owns a 0.2778%
interest in Tract No. 4, and Clinton owns a 0.9259% interest
in Tract No. 20. Id. at 5-6.
compensation' is that amount of money necessary to put a
landowner in as good a pecuniary position, but no better, as
if his property had not been taken.” United States
v. 69.1 Acres of Land, More or Less, Situated in Platt
Springs Twp., Cty. of Lexington, State of S.C., 942 F.2d
290, 292 (4th Cir. 1991). “[I]t is well settled that in
the event of a ‘partial taking' - i.e., a
case in which the [condemnor] has taken one part of a larger
tract, leaving the remainder to the landowner - the measure
of just compensation is the difference between the fair and
reasonable market value of the land immediately before the
taking and the fair and reasonable market value of the
portion that remains after the taking.” United
States v. Banisadr Bldg. Joint Venture, 65 F.3d 374, 378
(4th Cir. 1995). When a taking is temporary in nature,
because it involves a temporary work space, “the value
of the taking is what rental the marketplace would have
yielded for the property taken.” Banisadr Bldg.
Joint Venture, 65 F.3d at 378.
“the property owners bear the burden of proving the
fair market value at trial.” Hardy Storage Co., LLC
v. Prop. Interests Necessary to Conduct Gas Storage
Operations, No. 2:07-cv-5, 2009 WL 689054, at *3 (N.D.
W.Va. Mar. 9, 2009) (citing United States ex ...