United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
OPINION & ORDER
ALGENON L. MARBLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Partial Dismissal of Defendant Sheehan Pipe Line Construction
Company. To date, no parties have indicated opposition to
this Motion. For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff's
Motion is GRANTED. All claims against
Defendant Sheehan are DISMISSED and
Defendant Sheehan is hereby TERMINATED as a
about December 11, 2013, Plaintiff granted an easement on the
premises to Defendant PVR Utica Gas Gathering
(“PVR”) for the purposes of installing one or
more below-ground gas pipelines. (EFC No. 2 at ¶ 12). On
or about April 13, 2015, Plaintiff and Defendant Ohio River
System entered into a Surface Use Agreement by which
Plaintiff granted Defendant Ohio River System additional
temporary workspace on the surface of the Premises.
(Id. at ¶ 14). On or about July 9, 2015,
Plaintiff and Defendant Regency Utica Gas Gathering
(“Regency”) and/or Defendant Ohio River System
entered into an Amendment and Ratification of Surface Use
Agreement in order to amend the area subject to the Surface
Use Agreement. (Id. at ¶ 15). During the
construction of the natural gas pipeline, the Defendants,
individually or collectively, caused or failed to prevent the
excavated soil from sliding down a slope to the east of the
Premises, resulting in the excavated soil covering
undisturbed soil outside of the Premises subject to the
initial easement. (Id. at ¶¶ 19, 21).
Plaintiff sought compensatory damages attributable to breach
of contract, attorney's fees and costs incurred, and all
other just and proper relief from Defendants, PVR, Regency,
and Ohio River System. (Id. at ¶ 31).
also sought relief from Defendant Sheehan Pipe Line
Construction Company (“Sheehan”), including
damages suffered due to Sheehan's negligence, costs and
attorney's fees, and other just and proper relief.
(Id. at ¶ 35). According to Plaintiff,
Defendant Sheehan owed a duty to exercise reasonable care to
design, construct, and install the natural gas pipeline on
the Premises properly and restore and grade Plaintiff's
Premises to its condition prior to the aforementioned
displacement of soil. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
Sheehan failed to do so properly and thus breached its duty
to Plaintiff. (Id. at ¶¶ 33, 34).
April 15, 2016, Sheehan filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the
United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of
Oklahoma. (EFC No. 14 at ¶ 3). On December 30, 2016, the
Sheehan Pipe Line Liquidating Trust (“the Trust”)
became the successor to Sheehan, with all of Sheehan's
assets transferred to the Trust. (Id. at ¶ 6).
On December 8, 2017, Plaintiff and the Trust entered into a
Settlement Agreement and Mutual Release, whereby Plaintiff
settled its claims against Sheehan, only, and reserved the
right to proceed against all other Defendants (Regency, PVR,
and Ohio River System) (“Regency Defendants”).
(Id. at ¶ 7).
December 20, 2017, Counsel for the Plaintiff contacted
Counsel for the Regency Defendants to determine whether
Regency Defendants were opposed to the relief requested in
this Motion. Plaintiff's Counsel has yet to receive a
response from the Regency Defendants' Counsel.
(Id. at ¶ 8).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule of Civil Procedure 21 allows the court “[o]n
motion or on its own” to “add or drop a
party” “at any time, on just terms.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 21. See also Philip Carey Mfg. Co. v.
Taylor, 286 F.2d 782, 785 (6th Cir. 1961) (“We
think that [Rule 21] is the [rule] under which any action to
eliminate . . . a party should be taken.”). Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 19(a)(1) provides, in relevant part,
that a person or entity must be joined as a party if:
(A) In that person's absence, the court cannot afford
complete relief among existing parties; or
(B) That person claims an interest relating to the subject of
the action and is so situated that disposing of the action in
the person's absence may:
(i) As a practical matter impair or impede the person's
ability to protect the interest; or
Leave an existing party subject to a substantial risk of
incurring double, multiple, or otherwise inconsistent
obligations because of the ...