NEXUS pipeline lawsuits wind through court

Landowner lawsuits against NEXUS Gas Transmission continue to work their way through Summit County Common Pleas Court, while similar cases in neighboring counties have been resolved or temporarily dismissed.

The two Summit cases are scheduled for mediation next month.

One case was filed by a Green couple that said pipeline construction damaged a pond on their property.

The other lawsuit was brought by a New Franklin couple that said their home, a creek and a bridge on their property were damaged by water runoff from the pipeline easement, which doesn’t cross their property.

NEXUS Gas Transmission has disputed the landowners claims. The company couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The lawsuits are among more than a dozen complaints filed by Jackson Township-based attorney Michael A. Thompson against NEXUS in Summit, Stark, Wayne and Columbiana counties in 2018.

The lawsuits were filed against NEXUS Gas Transmission and its construction contractors and listed claims including flooding, damaged farmland and lost crops. The landowners had worked with Central Land Consulting to monitor the pipeline’s construction.

Last month, landowners voluntarily dismissed five Stark County cases and two Columbiana County cases.

“Every single one of them will be refiled” within the yearlong window provided by state law, Thompson said.

He noted that civil jury trials have been on hold during the coronavirus pandemic and said the temporary dismissal would allow more time to prepare the case.

Four cases previously filed in Wayne County were resolved last year and dismissed, according to court records.

NEXUS Gas Transmission is a 36-inch diameter pipeline that carries natural gas produced by Utica and Marcellus shale wells to users in Ohio, Michigan and Canada. The pipeline runs 255 miles across northern Ohio from Columbiana County to the Michigan border.

Detroit-based DTE Energy and Enbridge, a Canadian company, backed the $2.1 billion project.

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By Shane Hoover

Akron Beacon Journal (TNS)