Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Big Sandy Co. L.P. v. EQT Gathering, LLC

Supreme Court of Kentucky

April 26, 2018

BIG SANDY COMPANY, L.P. APPELLANT
v.
EQT GATHERING, LLC and EQT PRODUCTION COMPANY APPELLEES

          ON REVIEW FROM COURT OF APPEALS CASE NO. 2015-CA-000490 PIKE CIRCUIT COURT NO. 13-CI-00617

          COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT: Grahmn New Morgan Adrianne Strong Dinsmore & Shohl LLP David Baird Baird & Baird, PSC

          COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: John Kevin West Candace Smith Steptoe & Johnson PLLC

          OPINION

          KELLER, JUSTICE

         REVERSING

         The Pike Circuit Court entered a declaratory judgment in favor of Big Sandy Company, LP (Big Sandy), interpreting a pipeline easement agreement in Big Sandy's favor. EQT Gathering, LLC and EQT Production Company (collectively, EQT) appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed. Big Sandy petitioned this Court for discretionary review, which we granted. After careful review, we reverse the Court of Appeals.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The majority of the facts are undisputed. On August 1, 2003, Big Sandy entered into a Pipeline Easement Agreement (the Agreement) with Kentucky West Virginia Gas Company, LLC (KWVA). KWVA is EQT's predecessor in interest. In the Agreement, Big Sandy, granted KWVA an easement for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a pipeline. The parties refer to the pipeline covered by the Agreement as the "Myra Pipeline." The Agreement was negotiated by a representative for Big Sandy, Chauncey Curtz, and a representative of KWVA, Lester Zitkus. The parties negotiated the Agreement from 1999 until the Agreement was signed.

         The Agreement granted KWVA[1] and its successors-in-interest "a nonexclusive sixty foot wide temporary easement for initial construction, and a non-exclusive thirty foot wide right of way and easement" for:

A pipeline twelve inches or less in diameter, for( the transportation of natural gas (the Pipeline) over, through, and across certain surface tracts and mineral tracts of Big Sandy situated on the waters of the Elkhorn Creek in Pike County, Kentucky, the centerline of which is as shown on the color print attached hereto and made a part hereof and marked as Exhibit "A."

         Exhibit A is a map showing where the pipeline crosses Big Sandy's surface and mineral tracts. The map indicates which portions of the pipeline were already in the ground and also indicated the location of the proposed route for new pipe.

         The Agreement provides that if Big Sandy decides to mine in the vicinity of an area covered by the easement and the Agreement, EQT must either purchase the minerals underlying the pipeline or, if EQT does not want to ( purchase the minerals, it must remove and relocate the pipeline at its own expense.

         Big Sandy desires to mine on three tracts, tracts 1, 2, and 3 (subject tracts), on the map. On these subject tracts, Big Sandy holds only a mineral estate, not a surface estate. Also, on these subject tracts, the map shows that pipe was already located in the ground before the Agreement became effective. EQT argued the Agreement only applied to those tracts that referenced "proposed pipeline routes, " excluding the tracts where the pipe was already in the ground prior to the Agreement. If this interpretation was correct, it would mean that the Agreement does not apply to the subject tracts that Big Sandy intends to mine. If the Agreement is not applicable, Big Sandy would be liable for the cost of removing and relocating the pipeline if it did, in fact, commence mining in these locations. Big Sandy of course maintains that the Agreement applies to all tracts depicted on the map.

         EQT filed suit against Big Sandy requesting declaratory relief regarding ' the interpretation and scope of the Agreement. Big Sandy filed its answer and counterclaims for breach of contract, declaratory relief, and tortious interference with prospective advantage. EQT then filed an amended complaint adding a claim for reimbursement for costs incurred. The parties each then filed motions for ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.