West Virginia Record

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Worldwide Machinery's lawsuit against Columbia Gas for unjust enrichment transferred to federal venues

Federal Court

By Kyla Asbury | Jul 18, 2019

Meadows and Zamosky

WHEELING — A lawsuit initially filed in Wetzel Circuit Court was removed to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of West Virginia and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.

On May 28, Worldwide Machinery filed a complaint in Wetzel Circuit Court against Columbia Gas Transmission, alleging it failed to pay for subcontractor work performed.

Columbia sought to have the case removed to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of West Virginia due to requirements under the Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure.

"In this case, federal jurisdiction is founded upon bankruptcy court jurisdiction, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1334(b), because this civil action arises in and/or is related to a pending case filed under Title 11, In re: Welded Construction, L.P., Case No. 18-12378 (KG) (Bankr. D. Del.) (Jointly Administered)," the notice of removal states. 

Welded Construction, known as the debtor, filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on Oct. 22, 2018 according to the notice of removal.

"This civil action seeks to enforce a mechanic’s lien against Defendant arising from unpaid obligations of the Debtor to Plaintiff," the notice states. "Furthermore, upon information and belief, plaintiff’s mechanic’s lien may attach to property of the debtor’s bankruptcy estate, including fixtures, appurtenances, and personal property of the debtor situate in Wetzel County."

The plaintiff filed a proof of claim in the bankruptcy case for the obligation of the debtor underpinning the mechanic’s lien asserted against the defendant.

"Upon information and belief, the amount of plaintiff’s claim is in dispute," the notice states. "Determination of the amount of plaintiff’s claim against the debtor — and the amount of the claim that will be allowed and paid from the debtor’s estate — is necessary to determine what amount, if any, plaintiff can seek to recover from defendant through enforcement of its purported mechanic’s lien."

Worldwide Machiner's complaint alleges that Welded Construction subcontracted furnishing of equipment necessary to complete pipeline installation work at a Wetzel County property to Worldwide through for a subcontract amount of $55,028.58. On Oct. 31, Worldwide last supplied equipment to Columbia for completion of the pipeline installation on the Wetzel County property and Worldwide has been paid only a portion of the invoices it submitted to Welded Construction, according to the suit.

Worldwide claims Columbia has been unjustly enriched by its receipt of the benefit of the equipment provided by Welded Construction. Despite its demands, Columbia has failed and refused to pay Worldwide for the benefit it received from Welded Construction.

Worldwide is seeking to enforce a mechanic's lien on the property in the amount of $55,028.58. It is represented by Arthur Zamosky of Bertstein-Burkley.

Columbia is represented by John Meadows and Devon Stewart of Steptoe & Johnson.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number 5:19-cv-00208

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