United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
CHEVRON U.S.A., INC.
ATMOS PIPELINE AND STORAGE, LLC
L. HAYES, JUDGE
A. DOUGHTY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action was brought by Plaintiff Chevron U.S.A., Inc.
(“Chevron”) against Defendant Atmos Pipeline and
Storage, LLC (“Atmos”) regarding the conveyance
of certain property from Chevron to Atmos. The Court
previously granted in part and denied in part cross motions
for summary judgment. Now Atmos has filed a Motion for
Default Judgment against Third Party Defendant Salt Fault,
L.L.C. (“Salt Fault”) [Doc. No. 42].
following reasons, the Motion for Default Judgment is GRANTED
IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
2002, Chevron became the owner of two tracts of land located
on the Anse La Butte Salt Dome, which overlie a hydrocarbon
storage cavern (“the Cavern”), and contain a
storage well named the Chevron-Propane Storage Well No. 1 and
bearing serial number 971205 (“the Well”). The
Well was formerly used to inject propane into the Cavern. In
August 2004, Chevron plugged and abandoned the Well.
one year later, by Special Warranty Deed dated effective
August 1, 2005, Chevron conveyed to Atmos the two tracts,
totaling approximately 10.77 acres of “land and
property, together with all the buildings, facilities,
fixtures, equipment, improvements and appurtenances thereunto
belonging or in any wise appertaining and not reserved herein
to Grantor” located in Section 117, Township 9 South,
Range 5 East in St. Martin Parish (“the
the deed to Atmos, Chevron made “no representations or
warranties concerning the present condition of the Property,
including without limitation, the current fitness or
suitability of the subterranean cavern or void which
underlays the Property and of which in the past has been used
for the subsurface storage of hydrocarbons.” [Doc. No.
10-3');">3, p. 2]. Chevron further “advised” Atmos
“that the Property may have been used for the
exploration, production and/or transportation of oil, gas or
other minerals.” Id.
as grantee, likewise certified “that said Property has
been carefully inspected and that Grantee is familiar with
its condition, and the improvements . . . located on the
Property, inclusive of any . . . hydrocarbons . . .”
[Doc. No. 10-3');">3, p. 2]. Atmos “expressly assume[ed] all
risks and liabilities associated therewith” and
that the Property has been or may have been used in
connection with the support of oil, gas and other mineral
exploration, development and operations . . . and, as such,
equipment, appurtenances, processing and other facilities,
plants, buildings, structures, improvements, abandoned and
other tanks and piping (including above ground and
underground tanks and piping), storage facilities, gathering
and distribution lines, wells and other petroleum
production facilities and other appurtenances which have not
been excepted and excluded from this conveyance may be
[Doc. No. 10-3');">3, p. 2 (emphasis added)].
A to the Special Warranty Deed reserves from the sale only
the following expressly described property:
LESS AND EXCEPT and reserving unto
Grantor any and all unplatted or unrecorded pipelines which
may traverse across the above described land and of which are
currently in service or that may be used to transport oil,
gas, saltwater or refined products from points originating
and ending off of the above described premises; provided,
however, it is the intention of Grantor herein to
convey to Grantee any and all pipelines on the above
described land which may have been previously used in
connection with the operation of the now plugged and
abandoned Chevron-Propane Storage Well No. 1.
[Doc. No. 10-3');">3, Exhibit A to Special Warranty Deed (emphasis
of their agreement, the Grantee, Atmos, agreed to
fully defend, protect, indemnify, hold harmless, and render
whole Grantor from and against every claim, demand or cause
of action, and any liability, cost, expense (including, but
not limited to, reasonable attorneys3');">39; fees), damage or
loss in connection therewith, which may be made or asserted
by . . . any third party or parties (including, but not
limited to, governmental agencies) with respect to the
Property, including without limitation, . . . or any claims .
. . caused by, or arising out of, or incidental to the past,
present or future condition or state of repair of the
Property, or any claims resulting from or attributable to the
ownership and use thereof, or this conveyance of the
Property, howsoever occurring, including without limitation,
whether such claims, injuries, damages, losses and
liabilities, with or without fault, were caused by
Grantee3');">39;s sole negligence or contributory negligence,
Grantor3');">39;s contributory negligence, or imposed on said
parties or others under any theory of strict liability by
operation of law, or any other theory law prior to, at the
time of, or subsequent to effective date hereof.
[Doc. No. 10-3');">3, p. 3');">3].
limiting the generality” of the first indemnification
clause, Atmos ...