LAKE CHARLES - Columbia Gulf Transmission LLC wants to have a lawsuit that claims one of its pipelines damaged a farm’s crops moved to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Lake Charles Division from a state court.
The request to move the case from the 14th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Calcasieu was filed June 27.
Columbia Gulf said in the motion that removal is proper “as it is an action between citizens of different states, and the matter in controversy exceeds $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs.”
The complaint was filed in May by Kelly Precht and Flavia Precht, claiming that Columbia Gulf had breached a lease and was guitly of trespassing because it built a natural gas pipeline on the land the Prechts lease "without regard for (the plaintiffs') crops, constructions and possessions."
Plaintiffs' Attorney Taylor Brett Adams and Reese LLP
The notice of removal said the Prechts “assert several theories of liability against Columbia in tort and, ostensibly as a third-party beneficiary to a right-of-way agreement between Columbia and the landowner, the Stone Family LLC."
The complaint seeks damages related to affected crop losses and infrastructure restoration costs.
In its request to move the case to federal court, Columbia Gulf said the amount of damages sought by the Prechts in their complaint likely exceeds $75,000, which fulfills the requirements for removal.
Columbia Gulf said the plaintiffs' attorney submitted a report on March 12, 2017 that estimates the amount of the alleged damages caused by the pipeline construction at $353,601.91.
"This report clearly establishes that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.00, exclusive of interest and costs," Columbia Gulf said in its removal request.
In addition, Columbia its partners are based in Delaware and Texas, while the Prechts are residents of Louisiana. As a result, the company said the case also meets the multi-state jurisdiction condition for moving the case to federal court from state court.