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Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC v. 169 Acres, in Richland County

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division

January 8, 2018

Dominion Energy Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
1.169 Acres, in Richland County, South Carolina located on Parcel R39100-02-05; ERIC N. MANN, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF ETTA N. MANN, EARL T. MANN, HERMAN DARRELL RICHARDSON, ARTHUR C. RICHARDSON, ROBERT RICHARDSON, ETHEL R. BOLDEN, LESTER E. RICHARDSON, LUCIEN V.P. RICHARDSON, JOHNELLA RICHARDSON, DEBORAH JEANNE RICHARDSON DAVIS, RUBYE LUCILLE RICHARDSON ALEXANDER, JACQUELINE LEANNA RICHARDSON WILLIAMS, DWAYNE MAURICE RICHARDSON, WALTER BUTLER, JR., KAREN PERRY-TOWNSEND N/K/A KAREN WHITE, JANET FARRELL, GARY WHITE, CHRISTOPHER WHITE, BERTHA RICHARDSON, CHARLES ROGERS RICHARDSON, ELIZABETH H. SIMON, AND JUDY H. GULLAX, And UNKNOWN OWNERS, Defendants.

          ORDER AND OPINION

         I. RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         This case arises from Dominion Energy Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC's (“DCGT's”) exercise of its eminent domain powers pursuant to the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”), 15 U.S.C. § 717, et seq. and the applicable Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) Certificate order. DCGT brought this action under the NGA and Rule 71.1, Fed. R. Civ. P., seeking certain easements (“easements” or “Rights of Way”) it requires in connection with its Eastover pipeline project (“Project”) over property described as follows (the “Property”):

All that certain piece, parcel or tract of land situate, lying and being on the waters of the Wateree River, in the County of Richland, State of South Carolina, being Tract “B” on a plat of a part of lands allotted Emma J. Bynum and Drury M. Bynum, being designated as Tract No. 13 on a plat of J. B. Seay, dated December 17, 1915 and recorded in the Office of the Register of Mesne Conveyance for Richland County in Plat Book “C” at Page 205. The said tract containing 37.5 acres is in shape a rectangle parallelogram, measuring on its Northern and Southern sides eight and three-tenths (8.3) chains and on its Eastern and Western sides forty-two (42) chains; bounded North by Estate of Braydon; East by Tract “C” on said plat; South by lands of Wilson, et al.; and West by Tract “A” on said plat.

Richland County TMS# R39100-02-05.

         The court has previously granted partial summary judgment as to DCGT's right to condemn the requested easements over the property (ECF No. 61). By way of this Order, the court hereby grants the requested easements, determines just compensation, and directs the Clerk of Court to disburse the deposited funds as set forth herein.

         II. ANALYSIS

         This matter was tried by the court on January 8, 2017. (ECF No. 94.) Sarah Spruill appeared on behalf of DCGT. Lucien Richardson was the only landowner present.[1] Based on the evidence presented, the court rules as follows:

         A. Easements

         In its Amended Complaint, DCGT seeks easement interests in the Property. (ECF No. 68.)

         DCGT specified that the terms of the easement will be as follows:

To the extent Exhibit C shows a Permanent Easement, DCGT seeks an easement or Right-of-Way to lay, construct, excavate for, maintain, inspect, operate, protect, repair, renew, remove, or replace a pipeline for the transportation of natural gas, including any appurtenances (including but not limited to metering facilities, regulating facilities, valve facilities, fences, gates, concrete pads, cathodic protection, etc. and any communications facilities incidental thereto) necessary or desirable for regulatory compliance at any time, together with the right of ingress and egress to access said easement or Right-of-Way. To the extent Exhibit C shows a Temporary Workspace Area or Additional Temporary Workspace, DCGT seeks an easement for purposes of the construction of the Project together with the right of ingress and egress to access said easement. The requested temporary easement shall terminate upon the completion of the Project or such earlier date as determined by DCGT.

(ECF No. 67 at ¶ 14).

         Based on the evidence presented at the trial of this matter, the Project has been completed and was put in service on November 10, 2016. Thus, the Temporary Easements will be deemed terminated at such time as all work required by the FERC Certificate order is completed.

         Further, the court grants the requested Permanent Easement. Within the “50' Wide DCGT Easement Area, ” DCGT and its successors, affiliates, agents, and assigns will have the right to lay, construct, excavate for, maintain, inspect, operate, protect, repair, renew, remove, or replace a pipeline for the transportation of natural gas, including any appurtenances (including but not limited to metering facilities, regulating facilities, valve facilities, fences, gates, concrete pads, cathodic protection, etc. and any communications facilities incidental thereto) necessary or desirable for regulatory compliance at any time, together with the right of ingress and egress to access said easement or Right-of-Way. No. present or future landowner may interfere with ...


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