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LLC v. CSX Transportation, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

September 5, 2017

CHEFS' WAREHOUSE MIDWEST, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER (Doc. 3)

          Timothy S. Black United States District Judge.

         This case is before the Court on Plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order (Doc. 3) and the parties' responsive memoranda (Docs. 9, 10, 13).

         I. FACTS AS ALLEGED BY PLAINTIFF

         A. Background.

         Plaintiff owns property at 619 Linn St., Cincinnati, OH, comprised of Hamilton County Parcel Identification Numbers 138-4-322, 138-5-138, 138-5-206, 138-5-240, 138-5-254, 138-5-262, 138-5-263, 138-5-264, and 138-5-266 (collectively, the “Chefs' Warehouse Site”). (Doc. 2 at ¶ 5).

         Plaintiff operates a food distribution business at the Chefs' Warehouse Site. (Doc. 2. at ¶ 8). Plaintiff and its predecessors-in-title have occupied and been title owners of the Chefs' Warehouse Site for at least forty years. (Id. at ¶ 13). Throughout this time, Plaintiff and its predecessors-in-title have utilized an exit to the stub end of West Sixth Street across property over which Defendant claims ownership. (Id. at ¶ 14).

         Defendant owns Hamilton County Parcel Identification Number 138-5-208 (the “CSX Parcel”). (Doc. 2 at ¶ 17).

         The Chefs' Warehouse Site has two access points to public streets: the first is on the northwest end of the Site on Dalton Avenue (“Dalton Avenue Exit”), and the second is on the southeast end of the Site just north of the stub of West Sixth Street (“West Sixth Street Exit”). (Id. at ¶ 18). The southeast vehicular access utilized by Plaintiff for egress extends from the Chefs' Warehouse Site, crosses a small but critical portion of the CSX Parcel, and proceeds on a portion of right of way that is a stub to West Sixth Street. (Id. at ¶ 19). The West Sixth Street Exit is approximately 767 square feet in area. (Id. at ¶ 22).

         Plaintiff (or its predecessors-in-title) has been in open, continuous, adverse, notorious and actual use of the West Sixth Street Exit to, among other things, provide daily egress access from the Chefs' Warehouse Site by its employees, customers, vendors, distributors, delivery trucks, and any other vehicles or individuals accessing the Chefs' Warehouse Site. (Doc. 2 at ¶ 23). Plaintiff's use of the West Sixth Street Exit has been adverse to any right, title and interest of Defendant. (Id. at ¶ 23). Hundreds of vehicles per day use the West Sixth Street Exit and have done so for at least the past forty years. (Doc. 2 at ¶ 25). Plaintiff's use has been “open and notorious” because the West Sixth Street Exit contains signage and asphalt markings. (Id. at ¶ 29; Id. at 30-31).

         B. Facts giving rise to this dispute.

         On July 14, 2017, Defendant wrote a letter to Plaintiff, claiming that a tractor trailer using the West Sixth Street Exit damaged Defendant's signal cable (“Signal Cable”).[1] (Doc. 2 at 33). Defendant demanded that Plaintiff immediately stop using the West Sixth Street Exit:

In connection with railroad property at or near 619 Linn St., CSXT has sited that several unauthorized tractor trailers are currently using CSXT property for ingress/egress to the property located at 619 Linn St. CSXT has never authorized the use of this property. CSXT has experienced issues with a cable being knocked down at this location due to the unauthorized use of CSXT property. Enclosed for reference is an aerial map detailing your unauthorized access to, and use of, the Property. CSXT hereby demands that you immediately stop use of the property. CSXT expressly reserves all legal, equitable, and statutory rights and remedies with respect to your trespass and unauthorized use of the Property and any harm resulting therefrom, including any and all applicable civil remedies and criminal penalties.

(Id.) (emphasis in original).

         On or about July 24, 2017, Defendant barricaded the West Sixth Street Exit, preventing vehicles attempting to access the Chefs' Warehouse Site from using the exit. (Doc. 2 at 33).

         C. Plaintiff's alleged harm.

         The building at the Chefs' Warehouse Site is “L-Shaped, ” a portion of which extends under the West Sixth Street overpass. (Doc. 2 at ¶ 35). There are loading docks accessing the structure at the Chefs' Warehouse Site on the west edge, across almost the entire length of the south end of the building, and on the east edge of the structure facing Linn Street, closest to the West Sixth Street Exit. (Id. at ¶ 36). The eastern end of the building houses the freezer portion of Plaintiff's operation. (Id. at ΒΆ ...


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