United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
A. GIBNEY, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Coast Pipeline, LLC ("Atlantic"), seeks to exercise
its eminent domain powers pursuant to Section 7(h) of the
Natural Gas Act, 15 U.S.C. § 717f(h). On October 31,
2018, Atlantic filed its Complaint in Condemnation to acquire
certain easements in underlying case 2:18-cv-580. Atlantic
subsequently served the defendants named in the underlying
case. On November 14, 2019, the Clerk entered default against
the defendants who failed to respond in the underlying case
(the "Non-Responding Defendants"). Atlantic filed
its Motion for Default Judgment against the Non-Responding
Defendants on December 4, 2019.
natural gas company in possession of a certificate of public
convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission, Atlantic may condemn the property interests at
issue in this litigation and is thus entitled to have default
judgment granted in its favor against the Non-Responding
Atlantic Is a Natural Gas Company in Possession of a
Certificate of Public Convenience
and Necessity Issued by the FERC
is an interstate natural gas company as defined by Section
2(a) of the Natural Gas Act, 15 U.S.C. § 717, et
seq. Atlantic is subject to the jurisdiction of the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") and
is authorized to construct, own, operate, and maintain
pipelines for the transmission of natural gas in interstate
commerce. See 15 U.S.C. § 717; Dk. No. 668,
Memo, in Supp. of Atlantic's Mot. for Default J., Ex. 1,
Decl. of Jedidiah Spratt ("Spratt Decl.") ¶ 7.
is in the process of constructing an approximately 600-mile
underground pipeline and related facilities for the purpose
of transporting natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia
and North Carolina (the "ACP Project").
See Spratt Decl. ¶ 5. The ACP Project will
measure approximately 42 inches in diameter in West Virginia
and Virginia, and 36 inches in diameter in North Carolina.
Certain extensions of the ACP Project will measure 20 inches
in diameter from Northampton County, North Carolina, to the
City of Chesapeake, Virginia, and 16 inches in diameter in
Brunswick County, Virginia, and Greensville County, Virginia.
See Spratt Decl. ¶ 8. Natural gas transported
by the ACP Project will serve multiple public utilities.
See Spratt Decl. ¶ 9.
filed an application for a certificate of public convenience
and necessity with FERC on September 18, 2015, FERC Docket
No. CP15-554-000, in which it sought permission to construct
the ACP Project and attendant facilities. On October 13,
2017, FERC issued a certificate of public convenience and
necessity (the "FERC Certificate") authorizing
Atlantic to construct and operate the ACP Project. Compl. Ex.
2; see Spratt Decl. ¶ 10; see also
Spratt Decl., Ex. A, the October 13, 2017 Certificate of
Public Convenience and Necessity Issued by the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission to Atlantic.
Atlantic Seeks to Condemn Certain Property Rights from the
the Non-Responding Defendants in the underlying case owns a
property interest in the certain tracts of land sought to be
condemned by Atlantic. See Dk. No. 1, ¶ 5
(2:18-cv-580). Atlantic filed its Complaint in Condemnation
to acquire easements from the Non-Responding Defendants for
the underlying case. See Dk. No. 1, ¶ 2
Atlantic seeks to construct a portion of the ACP Project on
the Property described in detail below. The ACP Project
cannot be constructed until Atlantic acquires certain
permanent easements (the "Permanent Easement") and
temporary easements (the "Temporary Easement") on
the Property (collective, the "Easements"). The
Easements are necessary for constructing, maintaining,
operating, altering, testing, replacing, and repairing the
ACP Project. See Dk. No. 1, ¶ 16 (2:18-cv-580).
Permanent Easements to be taken on the Property include a
permanent and exclusive easement and right-of-way to
construct, operate, maintain, replace, repair, remove, or
abandon the ACP Project and appurtenant equipment and
facilities, as well as the right to change the location of
the installed pipeline within the area of the Permanent
Easements as may be necessary or advisable. See Dk.
No. 1, ¶ 18 (2:18-cv-580).
Temporary Easements will enable Atlantic to construct the ACP
Project and engage in restoration or clean-up activities. The
Temporary Easements are requested as of the date of
authorized entry onto the Property and their use is required
until all work, including restoration, is complete. The
Temporary Easements will be effective and condemned for a
period not to exceed five (5) years following Atlantic's
possession of the Easements. See Dk. No. 1, ¶
Non-Responding Defendants Nathan Jarvis, III; Johnnie A.
Griffin a/k/a Johnnie Augustus Griffin; Paulette Todd; and
Jonathan Griffin own a certain tract of land located in the
City of Chesapeake, Virginia, identified as Parcel
Identification No. 0330000002200, comprised of 12.00 acres,
more or less, as is more particularly described and depicted
as Lot 8 on that certain plat containing 13.500 acres, more
or less, recorded in Deed Book 94, Page 613, among the land
records of the City of Chesapeake, Virginia; less and except,
that certain tract containing 1.50 acres, more or less, as
described in Deed Book 1472, Page 439 recorded among the land
records of the City of Chesapeake, Virginia. See Dk.
No. 1, ¶ 5 (2:18-cv-580); Spratt Decl. ¶ 12.
attempted to negotiate with the named defendants to acquire
the Easements over the Property for the purpose of the
construction of an interstate natural gas pipeline, but was
unable to reach an agreement. See Spratt Decl.
¶¶ 13-15. The remaining, active defendants in this
case have a roughly 7.86 percent ownership interest in the
Property. See Spratt Decl. ¶ 12. Atlantic has
been unable to acquire by contract, or has been unable to
agree with the remaining named defendants as to the
compensation to be paid for, the ...