Pipeline carrier sues business, woman threatening a lawsuit

Annie Cosby Dec. 4, 2014, 2:23pm


An interstate pipeline common carrier is suing over claims its pipeline was constructed without knowledge of two entities with interest in the property, who are currently threatening suit.

EnLink NGL Pipeline filed a lawsuit Sept. 26 in Jefferson County District Court against McNeill and Melinda Gordon Paret.

According to the complaint, EnLink owns and operates a pipeline that runs from Mont Belvieu, Texas, to Louisiana and crosses a particular tract of land in Jefferson County. EnLink says it was unaware that a reserved 5-acre piece of this tract had been reserved to the defendants, and thought it had acquired all the necessary easements when it constructed the pipeline.

The complaint states EnLink was notified by McNeill of its outstanding undivided interests and intention to file for injunctive relief and damages. EnLink says it immediately contacted McNeill to negotiate an easement and hired a third-party appraiser to determine appropriate compensation for McNeill but while it was preparing an offer, McNeill sent a letter Sept. 19 stating it would sue for trespass, conversion, and theft if EnLink did not immediately pay $150,000 in damages and begin removal of the pipeline.

EnLink says it has acquired the parent tract co-tenants' easements, giving it more than 89 percent of the undivided interests in the reserved tract and thus the right to construct, repair and maintain its pipeline.

EnLink seeks declaratory judgment that the parent tract easements are valid, that it has the right to construct pipeline on the reserved tract and that the defendants alleging EnLink does not have the right to build pipeline on the reserved tract is invalid.

In the alternative, if it is found EnLink does not have the right to construct a pipeline on the reserved tract, EnLink is seeking condemnation of the property, as it has been determined public convenience and necessity requires the pipeline in this location.

EnLink NGL Pipeline seeks judgment removing that defendants' claims as encumbrances on EnLink's right and title to the easements, damages, interest, attorney fees and court costs.

It is represented by attorneys Thomas A. Zabel, James A. Freeman and Nancy H. Elliott of Zabel Freeman in Houston, and Morris C. Carrington of Mehaffy Webber in Beaumont.

Jefferson County District Court case number: E-196163.

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