United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
JEFFERY CHAD PALMER, et al. PLAINTIFFS
SUN COAST CONTRACTING SERVICES, INC., et al. DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT SHALE
SUPPORT SERVICES, LLC'S MOTION  FOR SUMMARY
SULEYMAN OZERDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
THE COURT is Defendant Shale Support Services, LLC's
Motion  for Summary Judgment. This Motion is fully
briefed. Having considered the Motion, Plaintiffs'
Response, related pleadings, the record, and relevant legal
authority, and because Plaintiffs have not carried their
summary judgment burden, the Court is of the opinion that
Defendant Shale Support Services, LLC's Motion 
should be granted. Plaintiffs' claims against Shale
Support Services, LLC, should be dismissed.
Facts and Procedural History
Jeffery Chad Palmer, Brenda and Mark Rody, Donald and
Jennifer Juan, David and Karen Taporco, Kimberly and Milton
J. Jacobs, Jr., Mary and Nicholas Sciambra, and Anthony
Pressley (“Plaintiffs”) are owners of houses in
the Ravenwood Subdivision (“Ravenwood”) located
in an “unincorporated section of Pearl River County,
Mississippi (“PRC”)[, ] just south of the city
limits of Picayune, Mississippi.” Am. Compl.  at 2,
6. Plaintiffs allege that at the time they purchased their
houses in Ravenwood, the land comprising Ravenwood together
with a larger parcel of land served as a watershed for the
Alligator Branch waterway and allowed the overflow of that
waterway to move “east and west away from”
Ravenwood. Id. at 6-7.
contend that beginning on February 23, 2012, their houses
began “vibrating violently” when Defendants began
driving pilings into the ground on a section of land
contained within the watershed. Id. at 8-9.
Plaintiffs complained to the Pearl River County Board of
Supervisors (the “Board”) and the contractors but
the construction/vibrations continued. Id.
Plaintiffs also questioned the Board about the dump trucks
that were coming and going from the property. Id.
Board allegedly did not respond to Plaintiffs' complaints
or inquiries until at a meeting held on March 5, 2012, when
the Board announced that Defendant Alliance Consulting Group,
LLC (“Alliance”), had previously been granted
permission to construct a “frac sand plant”
(“the Plant”) on a section of land contained
within the watershed that Alliance had leased from Defendant
AHG Solutions, LLC. Id. at 6, 8. Later in 2015,
“a multi-track railroad spur” was constructed at
the Plant. Linfield, Hunter & Junius, Inc., Mem. Summ. J.
 at 3.
February 5, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint  in this
Court against a number of Defendants, alleging they had
suffered damages to their houses and quality of life due to
the construction and operation of the Plant and the
associated rail spur. Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint
on February 4, 2016, naming as Defendants Sun Coast
Contracting Services, LLC; Integrated Pro Services, LLC;
Ranger Contracting, LLC; H&H Trucking, LLC; AHG
Solutions, LLC; Linfield, Hunter & Junius, Inc.; Shale
Support Services, LLC; Drying Facility Asset Holdings, LLC;
and ELOS Environmental, LLC. Am. Compl.  at 2-4.
allege that vibrations from pile-driving during construction
caused “obvious and visible cracks in the brick veneer
of their homes, cracks in the stucco, separations of the
walls in comers (sic) and around doors and windows, windows
that would no longer open, and cracks” in the
foundations of the houses; that development of the land
increased flooding in their subdivision; that the Plant
produces continuous loud noises as it runs throughout the
night; that the Plant emits a “nauseating foul
smell;” and that dust from the Plant's operations
settles over their property. Id. at 9-13. The
Amended Complaint asserts claims against Defendants in four
separate counts, specifically for: (1) Negligence; (2)
Trespass; (3) Private Nuisance; and (4) a Declaratory Ruling.
Id. at 11-13.
Alliance constructed the Plant in 2012. Drying Facility Asset
Holdings, LLC, Mem. in Opp'n  at 1-7. It is
undisputed that in January 2013, Alliance contracted with
Defendant Shale Support Services, LLC (“Shale”)
to operate the Plant. Decl. Kevin Bowen, Ex. “A”
[236-1] at 2. On October 3, 2013, Alliance was forced into
bankruptcy and the Plant became an asset of the bankruptcy
estate. Id. The Plant was shut down from October
2013 until December 2013, when the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Trustee retained Shale to operate it. Id. at 3.
August 22, 2014, the Bankruptcy Court entered its Order
confirming Alliance's Second Amended Chapter 11 Plan and
authorizing the sale of Alliance's assets, including the
Plant, free and clear of all liabilities to Defendant Drying
Facility Asset Holdings, LLC (“Drying Facility”).
Id. at 5-6; Bankruptcy Order, Ex. “S”
[234-19] at 82, 104 (confirming plan). Drying Facility closed
on its purchase of Alliance's assets, including the Plant
on October 6, 2014, and the Bankruptcy Court entered its
“Notice of Effective Date of the Second Amended Plan of
Reorganization, ” finding that the “Effective
Date of the Plan is October 6, 2014.” Drying Facility
Mem. in Opp'n  at 6; Bankruptcy Order, Ex.
“U” [234-21] at 1.
Shale's Motion for Summary Judgment 
March 20, 2017, Shale filed a Motion for Summary Judgment
. Shale contends that it never “owned, designed or
constructed any part of the Plant or rail spur” and
only operated the Plant between January 2013 and October 6,
2014, with the exception of the time period between October
and December 2013 during which the Plant was not operating.
Mem. in Opp'n  at 1-2; Dec. Kevin Bowen, Ex.
“A” [236-1] at 1-3. Shale asserts that it is
entitled to summary judgment on all of Plaintiffs' claims
because: (1) as a matter of law Shale cannot be liable for
Plaintiffs' claims for “damages relating to the
rail spur, or ownership design, or construction of the Plant,
” Mem. in Opp'n  at 1-3; and (2)
Plaintiffs' claims for ...