United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
TEXAS BRINE COMPANY, LLC, ET AL.
DOW CHEMICAL COMPANY, ET AL. Applies to all cases
D. ENGELHARDT JUDGE.
ORDER AND REASONS
VAN MEERVELD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is the Motion to Quash filed by non-party
Occidental Chemical Corporation (“Oxy”) (Rec.
Doc. 334) and the related Motion to Compel filed by
plaintiffs Texas Brine Company, LLC (“Texas
Brine”) and Louisiana Salt, LLC (Rec. Doc. 366). For
the following reasons, the Motion to Quash is GRANTED and the
Motion to Compel is DENIED.
lawsuit, Plaintiff Texas Brine Co. (“Texas
Brine”) alleges that solution mining cavern Well Serial
# 971667 located in Assumption Parish, Louisiana (“Dow
# 18”) has encroached onto or within one foot of
property owned by Texas Brine at the time of filing suit and
now owned by plaintiff Louisiana Salt, LLC (“Louisiana
Salt” and with Texas Brine, the
“Plaintiffs”). During the relevant time period,
Dow # 18 was operated by Dow, and owned by Clifton. Texas
Brine alleges that as a result of the encroachment,
Defendants have mined salt belonging to Texas Brine and they
have deprived Texas Brine of its ability to operate solution
mining operations as close to its property line as it
otherwise would have been able to do.
Brine filed this lawsuit on April 7, 2016 (Rec. Doc. 1), it
filed its First Amended Complaint (Rec. Doc. 5) on August 7,
2015, it filed its Second Amended Complaint (Rec. Doc. 55) on
July 1, 2016, and it filed its Third Amended Complaint on
February 9, 2017, joining Louisiana Salt as a plaintiff. The
Plaintiffs seek damages as well as injunctive relief
prohibiting Dow from further operation of Dow #18. Trial is
currently set to begin on March 26, 2018.
parties are before the Court regarding a subpoena issued by
Texas Brine to Oxy seeking documents related to a business
relationship between Oxy and Boardwalk Louisiana Midstream,
LLC (“Boardwalk”), a competitor of Texas Brine in
the salt brine industry. Oxy is a consumer of brine from
places like the Napoleonville Salt Dome (the
“Dome”) where the issues in this lawsuit arise.
For decades, Texas Brine has supplied Oxy with brine from the
Dome. In 2012, a sinkhole occurred in Bayou Corne, near the
Dome, and Oxy and Texas Brine were both parties to the
resulting litigation (“Sinkhole Litigation”).
Brine first reached out to Oxy regarding the present lawsuit
in November 2017, when it sought to produce certain
confidential transcripts and expert reports from the Sinkhole
Litigation to Dow. It appears the parties were able to reach
a compromise regarding both the transcripts, which were
produced with certain redactions, and the expert reports,
which were produced subject to an attorney's eyes only
provision that allowed Dow's counsel to review, but not
use, the reports.
issued the subpoena for documents to Oxy on January 10, 2018.
It provided a January 15, 2018, response date. The parties
agree that pursuant to the Sinkhole Litigation, Texas Brine
already obtained possession of a large portion of the
documents sought by the subpoena. But the documents are
subject to a protective order, which prohibits their
disclosure or use in this litigation (or elsewhere). As
summarized by Oxy, Texas Brine's subpoena seeks:
• Oxy's brine supply agreements with Boardwalk from
the last five years (Request No. 1)
• All negotiations of the Boardwalk agreements (Request
• All documents relating to royalties and payments under
the Boardwalk ...