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State ex rel. Yost v. Rover Pipeline, LLC

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Stark

December 9, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, EX REL., DAVE YOST, OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
ROVER PIPELINE, LLC; PRETEC DIRECTIONAL DRILLING, LLC; MEARS GROUP, INC.;LANEY DIRECTIONAL DRILLING CO.; ATLAS TRENCHLESS, LLC; AND B & T DIRECTIONAL DRILLING, INC. Defendants-Appellees

          Appeal from the Stark County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2017-CV- 02216

         JUDGMENT: Affirmed

          For Plaintiff-Appellant DAVE YOST Ohio Attorney General AARON S. FARMER JANEAN R. WEBER AMANDA M. FERGUSON Environmental Enforcement Section Assistant Attorney General

          For Defendant-Appellee Mears Group, Inc., LLC FREDERIC (“FRITZ”) X. SHADLEY DAVID A. MEYER

          For Defendant-Appellee Rover Pipeline, LLC STEPHEN H. DANIELS MICHAEL S. MCMAHON McMahon DeGulis LLP

          WILLIAM S. SCHERMAN (pro hac vice admitted) DAVID DEBOLD (pro hac vice admitted) JASON FLEISCHER (pro hac vice admitted) RUTH PORTER (pro hac vice admitted) Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

          For Defendant-Appellee B & T Directional Drilling Inc.

          GRANT J. KEATING Dworken & Bernstein Co., LPA For Amicus Curiae Sierra Club

          RICHARD C. SAHLI Richard Sahli Law Office, LLC NATHAN D. MATTHEWS

          For Defendant-Appellee Laney Directional Drilling Co. THOMAS A. KNOTH J. WRAY BLATTNER Thompson Hine LLP

          For Defendant-Appellee Pretec Directional Drilling, LLC JOSEPH P. KONCELIK ANTHONY R. PETRUZZI MELISSA Z. KELLY Tucker Ellis LLP

          For Defendant-Appellee Atlas Trenchless, LLC PHILIPS J. VALLAKALIL Atlas Trenchless, LLC

          KEVIN L. MURPHY J. JEFFREY LANDEN MICHAEL S. JONES MURPHY LANDEN JONES PLLC

          JUDGES: Hon. William B. Hoffman, P.J. Hon. John W. Wise, J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J.

          OPINION

          HOFFMAN, P.J.

         {¶1} Appellant State of Ohio, ex rel. Dave Yost, Ohio Attorney General, appeals the judgment of the Stark County Common Pleas Court dismissing its complaint against Appellees Rover Pipeline, LLC; Mears Group, Inc.; Pretec Directional Drilling, LLC; Laney Directional Drilling Co.; Atlas Trenchless, LLC; and B&T Directional Drilling, Inc.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE AND FACTS

         {¶2} On July 19, 2018, Appellant filed a third amended complaint, the dismissal of which is the entry appealed from in the instant action. The complaint alleged Appellees illegally discharged millions of gallons of drilling fluids into Ohio's waters, causing pollution and degrading water quality across the state during construction of the Rover Pipeline, a 713-mile interstate natural gas pipeline crossing 18 Ohio counties. Appellee Rover was the owner/operator of the drilling operation for construction of the pipeline. The remaining Appellees were subcontractors hired by Rover to perform horizontal-directional drilling related to construction of the pipeline. Appellant sought civil penalties and injunctive relief.

         {¶3} Specifically, Appellant's complaint alleged the following:

Count one: Appellees discharged pollutants (drilling fluids) into the waters of the state without point ...

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