Jefferson County man sues over pipeline easement

Kelly Holleran Mar. 9, 2010, 9:29am

A Jefferson County man has filed suit against the Delaware-based company that he says encroached on a pipeline easement and right-of-way agreement in Jefferson County by attempting to build its own pipeline through protected property.

Jim R. Wingate claims LaBelle Ridgecrest LP granted him a pipeline easement and right-of-way on Dec. 13, 2007. The LaBelle-Wingate Easement permitted him the exclusive right to construct, reconstruct, maintain, use and operate pipelines for the transportation of gases in the pipeline corridor.

Denbury Green Pipeline, however, has begun constructing a pipeline in the pipeline corridor, which is supposed to belong exclusively to Wingate, according to the complaint filed March 1 in Jefferson County District Court.

Before building the pipeline, Denbury failed to initiate eminent domain proceedings with Wingate as it should have, the suit states.

"On October 14, 2009, Wingate, through his attorney Keith Kebodeaux, informed Denbury in writing that it was about to install its Green Pipeline on real property for which it did not have the necessary real property interest, specifically advising that it appeared the pipeline would be installed within the Pipeline Corridor without Wingate's consent or joinder," the complaint says. "Denbury ignored the Notice and did not obtain from Wingate the necessary real property interest in the Pipeline Corridor before installing its Green Pipeline."

Wingate alleges trespass, inverse condemnation and nuisance against Denbury.

He is seeking actual and exemplary damages, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief to which he may be entitled. In addition, he seeks a permanent injunction preventing Denbury from using the pipeline corridor for the Green pipeline operation.

Keith Kebodeaux and Scott A. Shaver of the Law Office of Keith Kebodeaux in Beaumont will be representing him.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: B186-146.

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