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Gulf South Pipeline Co. LP v. 0.27 Acre In George County

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Eastern Division

February 20, 2014

GULF SOUTH PIPELINE COMPANY, LP, Plaintiff,
v.
0.27 ACRE IN GEORGE COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI, HOPE V. WRIGHT, LASHONDA R. FAIRLEY, ALYSSA WELLS, A MINOR, YOLANDA CARTER, ROBERT MILES, III, DONNIS FERRILL, AMMIE N. FERRILL, EMANUEL FERRILL, TOMMY L. LEWIS, SR., UNKNOWN HEIRS OF VINSON BEARD, AND ALL OTHER OWNERS OR PARTIES IN INTEREST CLAIMING ANY RIGHT, TITLE OR INTEREST, LEGAL OR EQUITABLE TO CERTAIN REAL PROPERTY IN SECTION 9, TOWNSHIP 1 SOUTH, RANGE 7 WEST, GEORGE COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI 2.78 ACRES IN PERRY COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI, GLENN M. SHOWS AND UNKNOWN OWNERS HAVING INTEREST IN SAID PROPERTY 1.54 ACRES IN PERRY COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI, LESLIE R. BENN, CRESSIE ALLEN, KEVIN MONROE, MARY MONROE, LUTHER MONROE, JANICE PLAINER, LESIA RAMSEY, BELINDA RAMSEY WOOD, UNKNOWN HEIRS OF JESSIE JOE BENN, UNKNOWN HEIRS OF JESSIE LEE BENN, AND ALL OTHER PERSONS OR PARTIES IN INTEREST CLAIMING ANY RIGHT, TITLE OR INTEREST, LEGAL OR EQUITABLE TO CERTAIN REAL PROPERTY IN SECTION 27, TOWNSHIP 3 NORTH RANGE 9 WEST, PERRY COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI, Defendants.

ORDER CONFIRMING RIGHT TO CONDEMN AND GRANTING IMMEDIATE POSSESSION

KEITH STARRETT, District Judge.

This Cause came on for hearing on February 19, 2014, on the Motion of the Plaintiff, Gulf South Pipeline Company, L.P. ("Gulf South"), to Confirm the Right to Condemn the Defendants' property and for Preliminary and Permanent Injunction Authorizing Immediate Possession (the "Motion"). The Court, having considered the Motion, the evidence, and the affidavits presented at the hearing and arguments of Plaintiff's counsel, finds that the Motion is well taken and should be granted.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

1. Gulf South is a natural gas company as defined by Section 2(a) of the Natural Gas Act (the "Act"), 15 U.S.C. § 717(a)(6). Gulf South has been issued a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity ("Certificate") by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") to construct, operate and maintain an interstate natural gas pipeline and all necessary appliances, appurtenances, fixtures, equipment, and facilities (the "Pipeline").

2. This action is governed by the section 717f(h) of the Natural Gas Act, which provides, in pertinent part:

When any holder of a certificate of public convenience and necessity cannot acquire by contract, or is unable to agree with the owner of property to the compensation to be paid for, the necessary right-of-way to construct, operate, and maintain a pipe line or pipe lines for the transportation of natural gas, and the necessary land or other property, in addition to right-of-way... it may acquire the same by the exercise of the right of eminent domain in the district court of the United States for the district in which such property may be located, or in the State Courts.

15 U.S.C. S 717f(h).

3. This Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, because this action arises under the laws of the United States, and under 28 U.S.C. § 1337, because this action arises under an Act of Congress regulating interstate commerce. Jurisdiction is also proper in this Court pursuant to the Natural Gas Act, 15 U.S.C. § 717f(h). Venue is proper in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391.

CONFIRMATION OF THE PLAINTIFF'S RIGHT TO CONDEMN

4. Gulf South filed a Verified Complaint for Condemnation under the Act pursuant to Rule 71.1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, seeking to condemn a fifty (50) foot wide permanent and perpetual right of way and easement (the "Permanent Right of Way"), as approved and certificated by FERC, and a temporary right of way and easement for work space (the "Temporary Work Space"), as approved and certificated by FERC, under, upon, across and through land owned by the Defendants. The Temporary Work Space is a space parallel and contiguous to the permanent easement and right-of-way, as described on Exhibits A, B, C, D, & E for use by Gulf South and its employees, contractors or other agents during the construction of the Pipeline. In its Motion, Gulf South also requested the Court to enter an order confirming that Gulf South has the substantive right to condemn under the Natural Gas Act. This Court set the Motion for hearing on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 (the "Hearing"). Gulf South served each Defendant with proper and adequate notice of the February 19 Hearing.

5. The Court finds that the Defendants were duly and properly served with the Notice required by Rule 71.1, the Verified Complaint for Condemnation, the Notice of Hearing, the Motion and the Memorandum of Authorities in support thereof.

6. The Court, having considered the Motion, the affidavits presented at the hearing and arguments of counsel, finds that the Motion should be granted against the following defendants:

(a) 0.27 Acres in George County, Mississippi, Hope V. Wright, Lashonda R. Fairley, Alyssa Wells, a Minor, Yolanda Carter, Robert Miles, III, Donnis Ferrill, Ammie Ferrill, Emanuel Ferrill, Tommy L. Lewis, Sr., Unknown Heirs of Vinson Beard, and Unknown Persons Having Interest in Said Property;
(b) 2.78 Acres in Perry County, Mississippi, Glenn M. Shows, and Unknown Persons Having Interest in Said Property; and
(c) 1.54 Acres in Perry County, Mississippi, Leslie R. Benn, Cressie Allen, Mary Monroe, Luther Monroe, Lesia Ramsey, Belinda Ramsey Wood, Unknown Heirs of Jessie Joe Benn, Unknown Heirs of Jessie Lee Benn ...

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