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Blue Group Resources, Inc v. Caiman Energy

November 10, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory L. Frost United States District Judge


Magistrate Judge Mark R. Abel


This matter is before the Court for consideration of Defendants' motion to dismiss (ECF No. 11), Plaintiff's memorandum in opposition (ECF No. 14), and Defendants' reply memorandum (ECF No. 15). For the reasons that follow, this Court finds the motion to dismiss not well taken.

I. Background

According to the July 21, 2011 amended complaint, Plaintiff, Blue Group Resources, Inc., has gas transmission lines in Belmont County, Ohio. Defendants, Caiman Energy, LLC, Caiman Eastern Midstream, LLC, and Caiman Ohio Midstream, LLC, are related entities that are installing a gas line that crosses one of Plaintiff's existing gas lines. During this installation, a "slip" has occurred in which the terrain relevant to Plaintiff's gas line moved, damaging Plaintiff's pipeline. After the parties were unable to agree on an appropriate repair strategy, Plaintiff filed suit in the Belmont County Court of Common Pleas.

Negotiations ensued and the parties reached an agreement over the most immediate concerns. This resulted in construction that allegedly caused various complications, all of which the amended complaint describes as follows:

Blue Group's pipeline has been by-passed by a temporary jumper line to allow for the safe passage of gas to Blue Group's customers. In the interim Caiman has filled in the slip area and covered the Blue Group's pipeline without performing a metallurgical evaluation of the condition of the pipe, ostensibly believing on faith that the old pipe line has not been damaged by stretching, scraping, lack of subjacent support, vibration, coating removal, or exposure. Blue Group Resources, Inc. believes it is without question that the subject damaged pipe sections must be replaced. Further, the area of the slip destroyed Blue Group's access to other portions of its pipeline system and has complicated maintenance efforts. (ECF No. 8 ¶ 6.) Plaintiff maintains that Defendants have failed to comply with "the full spirit and intent of the agreement" reached during the negotiations. Accordingly, following removal from the state court (ECF No. 1), Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief that would compel Defendants to repair Plaintiff's pipeline by in part replacing several sections, as well as compensatory damages related to the pipeline dispute (ECF No. 8 ¶¶ 9-15).

Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint. (ECF No. 11.) The parties have completed briefing on the motion, which is ripe for disposition.

II. Discussion

A. Standard Involved

Defendants move for dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), which requires an assessment of whether Plaintiff has set forth a claim upon which this Court may grant relief. The Court must construe the First Amended Complaint in favor of Plaintiff, accept the factual allegations contained in that pleading as true, and determine whether the factual allegations present plausible claims. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 570 (2007). The Supreme Court has explained, however, that "the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Thus, "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. Consequently, "[d]etermining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 1950.

To be considered plausible, a claim must be more than merely conceivable. Bell Atlantic Corp., 550 U.S. at 556; Ass'n of Cleveland Fire Fighters v. City of Cleveland, Ohio,502 F.3d 545, 548 (6th Cir. 2007). What this means is that "[a] claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. The factual allegations of a pleading "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the ...

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