United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S
UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [DKT. NO. 83]
M. KEELEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff, Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc.
(“Dominion”), previously obtained immediate
access to and possession of certain temporary and permanent
easements that it had sought to condemn in order to construct
a natural gas pipeline (Dkt. No. 29). Dominion has moved for
summary judgment on the amount of just compensation due for
the portions of this property owned by the remaining
defendants, including Miranda Dawn Richardson; Jon T. Wilby;
the Unknown Heirs, Successors, and Assigns of Leona Meredith;
the Unknown Heirs, Successors, and Assigns of Ronald Allis
Meredith; the Unknown Heirs, Successors, and Assigns of
Frederick Lambert Strother; the Unknown Heirs, Successors,
and Assigns of Lloyd Sward Strother; the Unknown Heirs,
Successors, and Assigns of Earl W. Meredith; and Any Unknown
Owners (collectively, “the Defendants”) (Dkt. No.
reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS the
unopposed motion (Dkt. No. 83).
October 13, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
(“FERC”) granted a Certificate to Dominion
authorizing construction of 37.5 miles of natural-gas
pipeline in West Virginia (“the Project”) (Dkt.
No. 1-2 at 7).
February 5, 2018, Dominion sought to exercise that authority
over certain property located in the Northern District of
West Virginia that it had been unable to acquire by
agreement. It did so 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), Dominion included a description of the property,
as well as the interests to be taken (Dkt. Nos. 1 at 5-8;
February 6, 2018, Dominion sought partial summary judgment as
to its right to condemn the subject property (Dkt. No. 3). It
also sought a preliminary injunction allowing it to possess
the easements (Dkt. No. 4). After the Court conducted an
evidentiary hearing, it granted Dominion's motion for
order of condemnation and for preliminary injunction on March
2, 2018, thereby authorizing Dominion to condemn and obtain
immediate access to and possession of the subject property
(Dkt. No. 29). On April 2, 2019, Dominion moved for summary
judgment on the remaining issue of just compensation owed to
the Defendants (Dkt. Nos. 83, 84). Despite being served a
Roseboro Notice (Dkt. Nos. 85, 86, 87), the Defendants have
not responded to Dominion's motion. Accordingly,
Dominion'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 Defendants for their respective interests in the property
taken by Dominion (Dkt. No. 84 at 1-2).
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 rel. and ...