ENBRIDGE PIPELINE (ILLINOIS), LLC, n/k/a Illinois Extension Pipeline Company, LLC, Plaintiff-Appellee,
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,
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,
JPR FAMILY PARTNERSHIP LP, NONRECORD CLAIMANTS, and UNKNOWN OWNERS, Defendants-Appellants.
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
JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Holder White and Justice Turner
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
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
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
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
"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.¶¶
14 In Temple I, this court also instructed the trial
court on remand to assume control of the discovery process as
"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. ¶¶
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
"[(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
[(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 ...