Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Co., L.P. v. Gray

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

September 11, 2013

PANHANDLE EASTERN PIPE LINE COMPANY, L.P., Plaintiff,
v.
HARRY GRAY, SHIRLEY HADLEY, EDITH NICHOALDS, WILLIAM NICHOALDS, LUKE R. MATARELLI, GENE R. BOWERS, VIRGINIA S. GILLETT, KAREN L. PETTY, and CLYDE I. PETTY, Defendants.

ORDER & OPINION

JOE BILLY McDADE, Senior District Judge.

Before the Court are Plaintiff's Motions for Summary Judgment as to Defendants Gene Bowers and Virginia Gillette (Doc. 37), Defendants Harry Gray and Shirley Hadley (Doc. 38), and Defendants William Nichoalds and Edith Nichoalds[1] (Doc. 39). These Motions have been fully briefed. Also before the Court are a Motion for Default Judgment as to Defendant Luke Matarelli (Doc. 65), and a Motion for Default Judgment as to Defendants Clyde I. Petty and Karen L. Petty (Doc. 66). Plaintiff seeks an entry of default judgment and a hearing on appropriate relief as to these Defendants. In all of the pending Motions, Plaintiff seeks a judgment for injunctive relief, allowing it to clear its rights-of-way on Defendants' properties. For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff's Motions for Summary Judgment are denied, and the Motions for Default Judgment are taken under advisement until the hearing to determine the appropriate relief is held.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTIONS[2]

I. Factual Background [3]

Plaintiff is a natural gas transportation company that owns and maintains a widespread natural gas pipeline system throughout the United States. The system includes a pipeline Plaintiff calls the Canton 100 Line, which runs under or near Defendants' properties. Defendants are all residents of K-Mar Hills Subdivision, a neighborhood in Peoria County, Illinois. In the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff seeks to enjoin Defendants from interfering with Plaintiff's plans to access and clear portions of land pursuant to the easement to which Defendants' properties are subject. (Doc. 22).

Defendants Gene Bowers and Virginia Gillette ("Bowers Defendants") own real estate located at 7570 Lancaster Road, Peoria, Illinois. Defendants Harry Gray and Shirley Hadley ("Gray Defendants") own property located at 7008 West East Branch Drive, Bartonville, Illinois. Defendant William Nichoalds owns real estate located at 7308 West East Branch Drive, Bartonville, Illinois.

Each of these properties was apparently once part of the same parcel of land, owned by Joseph and Bessie Shoup. ( See Docs. 37-1 at 8-9, 38-1 at 8-9, 39-1 at 8-9).[4] The Shoups granted to Central Pipe Line Company an easement evidenced by a document entitled "Agreement for Right-of-Way."[5] (Doc. 37-1 at 8). The document was executed on October 21, 1933, and was properly recorded. It grants to Central Pipe Line Company, and thereby to Plaintiff as a successor in interest[6] to the original easement holder, "the right to lay, maintain, alter, repair, replace, operate and remove at any time hereafter a pipe line for the transportation of natural gas... with the right of ingress and egress to and from the same on, over and through" the described property, which includes what is now Defendants' properties. (Doc. 37-1 at 8). There is no description of a specific easement width or exact location of where the pipeline was to be placed in the grant. Defendants acquired their properties subject to this easement.

Beginning on February 28, 2011, Plaintiff notified Defendants of its general plans to begin clearing "trees, shrubs and other obstructions" pursuant to its easement across Defendants' properties. (Doc. 37-1 at 23). Though not specified in the initial communications, Plaintiff's plan for clearing its easement was to include the removal of a garage, a shed, and two trees from the Bowers Defendants' property, (Doc. 37 at 2), three trees, a fence, and a carport from the Gray Defendants' property, (Doc. 38 at 2), and a concrete pad, hot tub, deck, and at least one tree and other brush from Defendant Nichoalds's property (Doc. 39 at 2).

The two trees on the Bowers Defendants' property are each located three feet from the approximate pipeline location. (Doc. 37-1 at 30, 32). The shed sits approximately nineteen feet from the pipeline and the garage is approximately sixteen feet from the center of the pipeline. (Doc. 37-1 at 26, 28). The Bowers Defendants do not object to the removal of the trees or other vegetation, but contest the removal of the shed and garage. (Doc. 64 at 1). On the Gray Defendants' property, the three trees are located twenty-three feet, twelve feet, and twenty feet seven inches from the approximate location of the pipeline, and the carport is eighteen feet from the center of the pipeline. (Doc. 38-1 at 31, 33). Nothing in the record shows how far the fence is from the pipeline. Finally, on Defendant Nichoalds's property, a tree sits eight feet from the pipeline, a concrete pad is six feet from the pipeline, the hot tub sitting on it is six feet six inches from the pipeline, and the deck is seven feet from the center of the pipeline. (Doc. 39-1 at 29).

II. Legal Standards

A. Summary Judgment

Summary judgment shall be granted where "the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. SMS Demag Aktiengesellschaft v. Material Scis. Corp., 565 F.3d 365, 368 (7th Cir. 2009). All inferences drawn from the facts must be construed in favor of the non-movant. Moore v. Vital Prods., Inc., 641 F.3d 253, 256 (7th Cir. 2011).

To survive summary judgment, the non-movant must "present enough information to alert the [court] that there exist[s] a genuine issue of material fact and to present the legal theories upon which it [relies]." United States v. Rode Corp., 996 F.2d 174, 178 (7th Cir. 1993) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986)). If the evidence on record could not lead a reasonable jury to find for the non-movant, then no genuine issue of material fact exists and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See McClendon v. Ind. Sugars, Inc., 108 F.3d 789, 796 (7th Cir. 1997). At the summary judgment stage, the court may not resolve issues of fact; disputed material facts must be left for resolution at trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-250 (1986).

B. Permanent Injunction

Before a federal court will grant a permanent injunction, a plaintiff must demonstrate:

(1) that it has suffered an irreparable injury; (2) that remedies available at law, such as monetary damages, are inadequate to compensate for that injury; (3) that, considering the balance of hardships between the plaintiff and defendant, a remedy in equity is warranted; and (4) ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.