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.

Enbridge Pipeline (Illinois), LLC v. Temple

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

October 16, 2019

ENBRIDGE PIPELINE (ILLINOIS), LLC, n/k/a Illinois Extension Pipeline Company, LLC, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CARLA S. TEMPLE, as Trustee of the Carla S. Temple Family Trust; NONRECORD CLAIMANTS; and UNKNOWN OWNERS, Defendants-Appellants. ENBRIDGE PIPELINE (ILLINOIS), LLC, n/k/a Illinois Extension Pipeline Company, LLC, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TERRY ADREON, as Trustee of the Residuary Trust Under the Last Will and Testament of Robert H. Davis; NONRECORD CLAIMANTS; and UNKNOWN OWNERS, Defendants-Appellants. ENBRIDGE PIPELINE (ILLINOIS), LLC, n/k/a Illinois Extension Pipeline Company, LLC, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JPR FAMILY PARTNERSHIP LP, NONRECORD CLAIMANTS, and UNKNOWN OWNERS, Defendants-Appellants.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of McLean County Nos. 14ED5, 14ED8, 14ED28 The Honorable Paul G. Lawrence, Judge Presiding.

          Attorneys for Appellant: Mercer Turner, of Law Offices of Mercer Turner, P.C., of Bloomington, for appellants.

          Attorneys for Appellee: Gerald A. Ambrose and Steven Sexton, of Sidley Austin LLP, of Chicago, and John M. Spesia and Jacob Gancarczyk, of Spesia & Taylor, of Joliet, for appellees.

          JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Holder White and Justice Turner concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          STEIGMANN, JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 In April 2014, the Illinois Commerce Commission (Commission) granted plaintiff, Enbridge Pipeline (Illinois), LLC, now known as the Illinois Extension Pipeline Company, LLC (IEPC), eminent-domain authority to acquire easements over certain real estate for the planned construction of an approximately 170-mile liquid petroleum (oil) pipeline known as the Southern Access Extension (SAX project). In the summer of 2014, IEPC filed separate complaints for "condemnation of permanent and temporary easements for common-carrier pipeline" (condemnation complaints) against defendants (1) Carla S. Temple (Temple) (McLean County case No. 14-ED-5 and this court's case No. 4-15-0346); (2) Terry Adreon (Adreon) (McLean County case No. 14-ED-8 and this court's case No. 4-15-0349); and (3) JPR Family Partnership LP (JPR) (McLean County case No. 14-ED-28 and this court's case No. 4-15-0360) (collectively, landowners). In September 2014, landowners filed a traverse motion challenging IEPC's right to build the pipeline. Ultimately, the trial court denied landowners' traverse motion and awarded them just compensation.

         ¶ 2 In their first appeal to this court, landowners argued that the trial court improperly conducted the traverse hearing. We agreed and remanded for the trial court to reopen discovery and allow landowners the opportunity to file a new traverse motion. On remand, landowners filed a discovery request that the trial court denied. Landowners also filed a traverse motion that the trial court denied. At the request of IEPC, the trial court then imposed sanctions against landowners' attorney, Mercer Turner, pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 137 (eff. July 1, 2013).

         ¶ 3 Landowners appeal, arguing that the trial court's denial of their discovery request should be reversed. Turner also appeals, arguing that the trial court's imposition of Rule 137 sanctions against him was an abuse of discretion. IEPC argues that we should affirm the trial court's rulings and impose sanctions against Turner pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 375 (eff. Feb. 1, 1994). We agree with IEPC.

         ¶ 4 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 5 A. The First Traverse Hearing

         ¶ 6 In April 2014, the Commission granted IEPC eminent-domain authority to acquire easements for the planned construction of a pipeline. (See Enbridge Pipeline (Illinois), LLC v. Temple, 2017 IL App (4th) 150346, ¶¶ 7-52, 80 N.E.3d 784 (Temple I), for a complete summary of the procedural history of this case). In the summer of 2014, IEPC filed condemnation complaints against landowners to (1) obtain a right-of-way and easement interests in landowners' properties and (2) determine just compensation to be paid to landowners.

         ¶ 7 In August 2014, landowners filed a "request to produce documents" pertaining to the SAX project on the following topics: (1) project planning and specifications, (2) safety plans, (3) oil spill projections, (4) shipping commitments, (5) ownership interests, and (6) regulatory and governmental reporting not involving the Commission. IEPC objected and argued that discovery was not necessary because a traverse motion is essentially a motion to dismiss under section 2-619(a)(9) of the Code of Civil Procedure. 735 ILCS 5/2-619(a)(9) (West 2014). The trial court agreed with IEPC and sustained its objection.

         ¶ 8 In September 2014, landowners filed a traverse motion challenging IEPC's right to build the pipeline. (A traverse motion is filed to oppose the condemnation of private property and challenges (1) the rebuttable presumption of public use and public necessity and (2) the presumption that the condemner negotiated in good faith. Enbridge Pipeline (Illinois), LLC v. Hoke, 2017 IL App (4th) 150544, ¶¶ 133-34, 80 N.E.3d 807.)

         ¶ 9 In November 2014, the trial court conducted a hearing on landowners' traverse motion. Landowners argued that their "principal defense" was the relationship between IEPC and Marathon Petroleum Company-a co-owner of the pipeline and the expected transporter of the oil. Landowners explained that they were not able to fully develop this argument because the court had denied their discovery request. In response, IEPC argued that a traverse motion is essentially a section 2-619(a)(9) motion to dismiss. 735 ILCS 5/2-619(a)(9) (West 2014). IEPC further argued that landowners were required-but failed-to raise an affirmative matter that defeated IEPC's condemnation complaints. Ultimately, the trial court agreed with IEPC and denied landowners' traverse motions.

         ¶ 10 In February 2015, IEPC filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that no genuine issue of material fact existed regarding the just compensation it should pay to landowners for its right-of-way and easement interests. 735 ILCS 5/2-1005 (West 2014). In March 2015, the trial court granted IEPC's summary judgment motion and awarded compensation to the landowners.

         ¶ 11 B. The First Appeal

         ¶ 12 Landowners appealed to this court and raised numerous issues. In July 2017, we vacated the trial court's order because the trial court failed to conduct a proper traverse hearing. Temple I, 2017 IL App (4th) 150346, ¶¶ 94-95. In reaching this result, we wrote the following:

"We reject the notion that *** all traverse hearings are akin to a motion to dismiss ***. ***
*** We *** reiterate and reaffirm our holding that a traverse hearing is a limited proceeding that affords a landowner the first and only opportunity to challenge a condemnor's authority and, thus, 'is akin to a hybrid proceeding in which specific presumptions must be rebutted by landowners challenging the condemnation filing at issue.'" Id. ¶¶ 92-93 (quoting Enbridge Energy (Illinois), L.L.C. v. Kuerth, 2016 IL App (4th) 150519, ¶ 169, 69 N.E.3d 287 (Kuerth I)).

         ¶ 13 The Temple I court also described the proper scope of a traverse hearing as follows:

"IEPC enjoyed the rebuttable presumptions that its interests in landowners' respective tracts of land were (1) primarily for the benefit, use, or enjoyment of the public and (2) necessary for a public purpose. In addition to those presumptions, the Commission determined that eminent-domain authority in IEPC's favor was warranted because good-faith negotiations between IEPC and landowners had failed. Thus, landowners were entitled to present relevant evidence to rebut these specific presumptions and to refute the good-faith finding. We note, however, that in their respective *** traverse motions, landowners disregarded the limited scope of the traverse hearing by attempting to litigate anew the Commission's certification and eminent-domain decisions, which this court affirmed on appeal. *** Such issues are not the proper subjects of a traverse hearing, and on remand, the trial court should decline to consider them.
Based on the aforementioned discussion of the proper scope of a traverse hearing, the trial court on remand should consider only two matters, which are landowners' claims challenging (1) the rebuttable presumptions of public use and public necessity and (2) the Commission's determination as to good faith ***." Id.¶¶ 100-01.

         ¶ 14 In Temple I, this court also instructed the trial court on remand to assume control of the discovery process as follows:

"Consistent with the limited nature of a traverse motion ***, we direct the trial court to assume control of the discovery proceedings in the instant case by requiring any discovery request to set forth with specificity (1) the information the party seeks, (2) the alleged source of that information, and (3) the relevance of the information sought, given the limited remand in this case. The aforementioned listing, however, does not preclude the court from imposing further discovery requirements.
The trial court should determine whether any discovery sought is appropriate and should deny any request to depose or submit interrogatories that seek information the court deems irrelevant or that already exists in the record or is [already] in the possession of the party making the discovery request. If the court determines that discovery-strictly limited to the aforementioned issues-is warranted, it shall actively supervise to ensure discovery occurs in an efficient and expeditious manner." Id. ¶¶ 103-04.

         ¶ 15 Accordingly, in July 2017, we remanded the case for the trial court to supervise the discovery process and to conduct a new traverse hearing in accordance with our instructions. See id. ¶¶ 97-114. This court retained jurisdiction to review claims arising from the second traverse hearing. Id. ¶ 113.

         ¶ 16 C. The Second Discovery Request

         ¶ 17 On remand in February 2018, Turner requested to depose the following individuals:

"[(1)]. A Representative Deponent from Marathon who is familiar with the specifics of the joint venture regarding ownership, capital contributions made by Marathon, costs of operation paid by Marathon, all agreements with Enbridge and volume of shipping by Marathon for the pipeline at issue in this case.
[(2)]. A Representative Deponent from Plaintiff who has knowledge of the specifics of the shipping by parties other than Marathon for the pipeline at issue in this case, including the volumes shipped and when the shipping occurred.
[(3)]. A Representative Deponent from Plaintiff who is familiar with the specifics of the width of pipeline right-of-way necessary for use, maintenance, and operation of the pipeline in this case.
[(4)]. A Representative Deponent from Plaintiff who was specifically in charge of the prefiling offer in this case and whether the Defendants were given a prefiling offer.
[(5)]. A Representative Deponent from Plaintiff who is knowledgeable of the pipeline maintenance of the pipeline ...

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.