BLUEFIELD – A couple is suing TransCanada USA Services after they claim it and others damaged their property when constructing a pipeline near their property.
Columbia Pipeline Group Services Company; Columbia Gas Transmission; Charles E. Weikle; and Bruce S. Reynolds were also named as defendants in the suit.
In April 2014, Columbia Gas began constructing and installing a pipeline on and adjacent to the plaintiff’s property in Peterstown and, during the construction and installation of the pipeline, Columbia Gas utilized bulldozers, logging equipment and other heavy machinery to cut down trees and eliminate the woodland surrounding the plaintiffs’ property in order to expand the right-of-way for the pipeline, according to a complaint filed Aug. 16 in Monroe Circuit Court.
Columbia Gas expanded an already existing right-of-way from approximately 12-feet wide to a newly constructed right-of-way that was more than 80-feet, according to the suit.
Daniel Tickle and Cathy Tickle claim during the expansion, it removed all vegetation, eliminated the mature woodland and increased the slope of the land.
As a result, the plaintiffs’ land and adjacent lands became steeper and more angled toward the Tickles’ property and home, according to the suit.
The Tickles claim Columbia Gas did not install silt fences or water diversion barriers that would control or eliminate water and sediment runoff from the newly expanded right-of-way onto the plaintiffs’ property.
Instead, Columbia utilized bulldozers to move the stripped timber, brush, original topsoil and other debris from the downward-sloped portion of the right-of-way to the upward-sloped portion of the right-of-way, according to the suit.
The Tickles claim as a result, they experienced significant water and sediment runoff from the newly expanded right-of-way onto their property, which flowed into their backyard, through their retaining wall, onto their driveway and into their basement.
The plaintiffs made Columbia Gas aware of the runoff issues and, in response, Columbia sent representatives to install a silt fence at the top of the right-of-way. Columbia Gas also planted grass and added new topsoil in an attempt to control the flow onto the plaintiffs’ property when it rained, according to the suit.
The Tickles claim the remediation efforts were unsuccessful and Columbia again attempted to control the water and sediment runoff by creating and widening drainage ditches and adding more topsoil and more grass seed on the expanded right-of-way.
The second attempt was also unsuccessful and, in early 2015, Cathy Tickle informed Weikle from Columbia Gas about the ongoing issues with runoff water and sediment and Weikle assured her that it would be remedied immediately, according to the suit.
Columbia Gas soon again returned to the plaintiffs’ property, but no additional remediation efforts were performed and in Spring 2016, Mike Radford from Columbia visited the plaintiffs and promised that Columbia would fix the issues, according to the suit.
The Tickles claim on Aug. 16, 2016, Radford stated that Columbia hoped to being work on the property the next week. On Sept. 16, 2016, Reynolds e-mailed the plaintiffs and informed them that Columbia would not honor Radford’s promise and would no longer even attempt to solve the ongoing problems and property damage caused by the water and sediment runoff from the right-of-way.
The defendants actions were negligent; and were a negligent and intentional infliction of emotion distress, according to the suit.
The Tickles are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are being represented by Brian J. Headley and Jason S. Ballard of Headley Ballard.
The defendants are represented by Peter J. Raupp, John J. Meadows and Devon J. Stewart of Steptoe & Johnson.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 1:17-cv-03992