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16-2288 - PANHANDLE EASTERN PIPE LINE, COMPANY, L.P. v. PLUMMER et al


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16-2288 - PANHANDLE EASTERN PIPE LINE, COMPANY, L.P. v. PLUMMER et al
March 27, 2018
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ORDER - The focus of this lawsuit is two pipelines--the "100 Line" and the "400 Line"--owned by Plaintiff Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company, L.P. ("Panhandle") that, pursuant to a 1931 right of way grant, traverse Defendants Joseph and Deborah Plummer's property in Pittsboro, Indiana ("the Property"). Panhandle alleges that the Plummers have failed to remove various obstructions from the 100 Line right of way as required by two agreements they reached in 1999 (collectively, "the 1999 Agreements"). These include a settlement agreement ("the Settlement Agreement") and an "Amendment of Easement Agreements" ("the Easement Amendment"), which altered the parties' rights to the pipeline rights of way from the terms of the original 1931 grant. Panhandle seeks damages and a permanent injunction prohibiting the Plummers from interfering with Panhandle's rights to the easements. The Plummers have counterclaimed, alleging that the 1999 Agreements were modified by an oral agreement in 2016 and seeking a declaration that Panhandle has abandoned the 100 Line. For the reasons discussed herein, the Court GRANTS IN PART Panhandle's Motion for Summary Judgment, [Filing No. 71], DENIES the Plummers' Motion for Summary Judgment, [Filing No. 65], and DENIES AS MOOT Panhandle's Motion for Sanctions, [Filing No. 74]. For the foregoing reasons, the Court concludes that Panhandle is entitled to summary judgment on all of the Plummers' counterclaims. Panhandle is also entitled to summary judgment on its claims that the Plummers breached the 1999 Agreements, as described above, and has demonstrated its entitlement to $6,000 in damages, costs, and reasonable attorney's fees. However, Panhandle is not entitled to summary judgment on the specific alleged breaches of improperly parking cars on the 100 Line right of way and orally denying access to the 100 Line right of way. Additionally, the Court concludes that Panhandle is entitled to a permanent injunction prohibiting the Plummers from interfering with Panhandle's right to access and clear its rights of way. Therefore, the Court DENIES the Plummers' Motion for Summary Judgment, 65, GRANTS IN PART Panhandle's Motion for Summary Judgment, 71, and ORDERS that which is contained herein. Finally, the Court DENIES AS MOOT Panhandle's Motion for Sanctions, 74, which seeks attorney's fees from Mr. Plummer to compensate for his alleged conduct in discovery. As explained above, Panhandle is entitled to attorney's fees under the Settlement Agreement, and any sanction would be duplicative of the fee award. (SEE ORDER). Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 3/27/2018. (APD)
June 20, 2018
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ORDER - On March 27, 2018, the Court granted in part Plaintiff Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company, L.P.'s ("Panhandle") Motion for Summary Judgment and denied Defendants Joseph and Deborah Plummer's Motion for Summary Judgment. [Filing No. 100.] The Court held that the undisputed evidence demonstrated that the Plummers had interfered with Panhandle's rights-of-way and that Panhandle is entitled to a permanent injunction. [Filing No. 100 at 21-24.] The Court ordered Panhandle to "submit a proposed permanent injunction which complies with Rule 65(d)(1)." [Filing No. 100 at 24.] In order to ensure that the Court's permanent injunction meets the Seventh Circuit's standards for specificity and detail, the Court ORDERS the parties, at Panhandle's convenience, to conduct a joint inspection of the rights-of-way at issue to identify the appropriate subjects for injunctive relief. Specifically, the Court ORDERS the Plummers to permit Panhandle's representatives and counsel to access their property in order to conduct the inspection. The Court ORDERS the parties to conduct the required inspection on or before July 31, 2018. Panhandle shall have 14 days following the inspection to file an amended proposed injunction that reflects the findings of the inspection and complies with Rule 65(d)(1). Panhandle's currently-pending Proposed Permanent Injunction 108, which is designated as a motion on the Court's docket, and Motion for Attorney's Fees 109 are DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to renewal as set forth above. (SEE ENTRY). Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 6/20/2018. (APD)
October 22, 2018
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ENTRY - This matter, concerning Plaintiff Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company, L.P.'s ("Panhandle") rights of way on Defendants Joseph and Deborah Plummer's land, is before the Court for the third--and final--time to address the scope and contents of the permanent injunction to which Panhandle is entitled. [Filing No. 124.] For the reasons detailed herein, Panhandle's uncontroverted evidence demonstrates that it is entitled to a permanent injunction in accordance with the terms it has proffered. [Filing No. 132-1.] The Court OVERRULES any and all objections raised by the Plummers, and will enter judgment in accordance with this Order and the Court's Order, entered contemporaneously, on Panhandle's fee petition. As the Court held in its Order on summary judgment, Panhandle is entitled to a permanent injunction to protect its property rights to the pipeline rights of way and ensure that it may comply with its regulatory requirements. The Court has reviewed the entirety of Panhandle's amended proposed final injunction and finds that it is sufficient in particularity and scope to accomplish these goals while still respecting the Plummers' rights under the 1999 agreements. The Court therefore OVERRULES the Plummers' objections as detailed above and will issue, by separate Order, the final injunction attached to Panhandle's reply brief, [Filing No. 132-1], along with the clarifying photographic exhibits, [Filing No. 124-1 to Filing No. 124-16], except that the diagram found at Filing No. 124-4 will be replaced with the updated diagram found at Filing No. 132-3. Finally, the Court will remove the record citations from the permanent injunction as unnecessary and in violation of Rule 65(d)(1)(C). The injunction will enter contemporaneously with the Court's Order on attorney's fees and final judgment in Panhandle's favor. (See Entry). Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 10/22/2018.(APD)
October 22, 2018
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PERMANENT INJUNCTION - Consistent with the Court's Order entered this day, the Court ENTERS this Permanent Injunction in favor of Plaintiff Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company, L.P. ("Panhandle") and against Defendants Joseph and Debora Plummer, as set forth below. (SEE ORDER). Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 10/22/2018. (Attachments: # (1) Exhibit 1, # (2) Exhibit 2, # (3) Exhibit 3, # (4) Exhibit 4, # (5) Exhibit 5, # (6) Exhibit 6, # (7) Exhibit 7, # (8) Exhibit 8, # (9) Exhibit 9, # (10) Exhibit 10, # (11) Exhibit 11, # (12) Exhibit 12, # (13) Exhibit 13, # (14) Exhibit 14, # (15) Exhibit 15, # (16) Exhibit 16)(APD)
October 22, 2018
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ENTRY - Now pending before the Court is Panhandle's supplemental fee petition, [Filing No. 123], which is fully briefed. In total, Panhandle requests $152,843.90 in fees and $3,583.57 in expenses and costs. The Court has reviewed Panhandle's petition and supplement and finds the requested fees, hours, costs, and expenses to be "reasonable" under the Settlement Agreement. The Court awards Panhandle $149,043.90 in attorney's fees and $3,583.57 in costs and expenses for a total award of $152,627.47, which will be incorporated in the judgment contemporaneously entered herewith. (SEE ENTRY). Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 10/22/2018. (APD)