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Pontchartrain Natural Gas System v. Texas Brine Co., LLC

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

July 3, 2019

PONTCHARTRAIN NATURAL GAS SYSTEM, k/d/s Promix, L.L.C., and Acadian Gas Pipeline System
v.
TEXAS BRINE COMPANY, LLC

          Rehearing Denied August 7, 2019

Page 2

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 3

          On Appeal from the 23rd Judicial District Court, In and for the Parish of Assumption, State of Louisiana, Trial Court No. 34,265, Honorable Thomas J. Kliebert, Jr., Judge Presiding

         Leopold Z. Sher, James M. Gamer, Peter L. Hilbert, Jr., Jeffrey D. Kessler, New Orleans, LA, Travis J. Turner, Gonzales, LA, Robert Ryland Percy, III, Gonzales, LA, Eric J. Mayer, Houston, TX, Attorneys for Appellant/Defendant, Third-Party Plaintiff, Texas Brine Company, LLC

         Matthew J. Randazzo, III, Christopher B. Bailey, Will Montz, Lafayette, LA, Attorneys for Appellee/Third-Party Defendant, Browning Oil Company, Inc.

         BEFORE: GUIDRY, HIGGINBOTHAM, AND THERIOT, JJ.

         OPINION

         HIGGINBOTHAM, J.

          [2018-0631 La.App. 1 Cir. 2] This is an appeal from a district court judgment dismissing a third-party defendant on a motion for involuntary dismissal during a bench trial.

          FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The pertinent background in this complex litigation has been repeated multiple times in several appeals. This particular appeal relates to the Phase 1 liability trial in one of the numerous lawsuits surrounding the August 3, 2012 Bayou Come sinkhole that developed near the Napoleonville Salt Dome in Assumption Parish.[1] The plaintiffs, Pontchartrain Natural Gas System, K/D/S Promix, L.L.C., and Acadian Gas Pipeline (collectively "Pontchartrain"), own and operate natural gas pipelines and storage facilities in the vicinity of the property affected by the sinkhole. After the sinkhole emerged, Pontchartrain and other pipeline companies, Florida Gas Transmission Company, LLC ("Florida Gas"), and Crosstex Energy Services ("Crosstex"), brought separate lawsuits against Texas Brine. In each of the main demands, the pipeline companies sought recovery for damages to their respective inoperable pipelines due to the alleged negligence of Texas Brine Company, LLC’s ("Texas Brine") operation of a brine production well known as the Oxy Geismer #3 Well ("OG3").

          Texas Brine responded to each lawsuit by filing identical incidental demands asserting tort and contract claims against various parties, including Browning Oil Company, Inc., which was one of the operators of an adjacent oil and gas well known as the Adams-Hooker #1 Well ("AH1"). Texas Brine sought recovery for its own damages in the form of reimbursement expenses for environmental-response [2018-0631 La.App. 1 Cir. 3] costs that it paid out after the sinkhole ...


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