West Virginia Record

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Trio of suits filed involving Columbia Gas, Welded Construction

Federal Court

By Kyla Asbury | Oct 2, 2019


WHEELING —Three lawsuits were filed in federal court involving Columbia Gas and Welded Construction and a motion to remand was filed in one of them.

The three cases were filed in Wetzel Circuit Court in May before being removed to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia in September.

Schmid Pipeline entered into a construction subcontract with Welded Construction wherein Schmid would provide labor, material and equipment in connection with the construction of the Mountaineer Xpress Pipeline project owned by Columbia Gas, according to the first case in the group.

Between Aug. 10, 2018, and Oct. 19, 2018, Schmid Pipeline performed work for the project in the amount of $2,361,914, but Schmid has not been paid for its work to this day, according to the suit.

Welded Construction filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Oct. 22, 2018, and Schmid filed a motion for relief with the bankruptcy court and the bankruptcy court granted Schmid's motion in April.

Schmid is seeking judgment in the amount of $2,361,914 plus pre- and post-judgment interest. It is represented by Norman T. Daniels Jr. and Nicholas R. Stuchell of Daniels Law Firm; and Joseph G. Talbot of Perkins Thompson.

Third parties in the lawsuit include Earth Pipeline Services, HERC Services, CADD Enterprises, Sunbelt Tractor & Equipment Company, Ziegler Sunbelt Equipment Marketing, T&C Rentals, Newman Tractor and Ankura Consulting Group.

The second lawsuit involves Ziegler Inc. suing Welded Construction and Columbia Gas Transmission.  That lawsuit alleges that the defendants hired Ziegler to provide rental equipment and machinery for pipeline maintenance. 

Ziegler claims it provided the equipment between July 2018 and September 2018 and invoiced the defendants in the amount of $262,968.76. The defendants failed to submit the total amount due, according to the suit.

Ziegler is seeking judgment in the amount of $262,968.76. It is represented by Andrew R. Cutright and Roger L. Cutright with Cutright Law.

The third lawsuit was filed by Worldwide Machinery, alleging that it also supplied equipment to the defendants through Oct. 31, 2018, in a total amount of $55,028.58.

Worldwide only received payment for a portion of the invoices it submitted.

"Owner did not at any time instruct Claimant to cease providing equipment to the Project, but to the contrary, Owner was well aware of the nature and extent of Claimant's equipment being provided to the Owner's Project and permitted Claimant to continue its work," the complaint states.

Worldwide is seeking judgment in the amount of $55,028.58. It is represented by Arthur W. Zamosky of Bernstein-Burkley.

A motion to remand was filed in Schmid's lawsuit on Sept. 6. Schmid wants the lawsuit to be remanded to Wetzel Circuit Court, claiming that bankruptcy jurisdiction does not exist.

"Moreover, despite Columbia Gas’ contentions that the Action 'arises in' the Bankruptcy Case and is a 'core proceeding"...the fact that, by virtue of its Mechanic’s Lien claim, Schmid Pipeline does not claim a lien upon any property of the Debtor’s bankruptcy estate eviscerates these contentions," the motion states.

Schmid argues that the case is not related to the bankruptcy case and that, because of that, it should be remanded to state court. 

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia Case number: 5:19-cv-00257, 5:19-cv-00258, 5:19-cv-00259

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U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia Wheeling Division

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