Firm Attorneys Successfully Reverse Decision in U.S. 5th Circuit

December 11, 2013

Firm attorneys, Robert G. Nida and Stephen A. LaFleur, recently persuaded a panel of the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a District Court judgment dismissing their client's claims for pipeline compensation.  On behalf of a landowner, the firm sued a major integrated oil company over its continued use of land on which it operated a pipeline pump station after the twenty-five year servitude originally permitting that operation had lapsed.  The District Court ruled that the pipeline company acquired the right to continue operating the pump station based on Louisiana's equitable "Saint Julian" doctrine.

On appeal, Steve LaFleur, arguing for the landowner, pointed out that an essential element of the Saint Julian doctrine - consent or acquiescence - was conspicuously lacking in view of the landowner's express denial of permission to continue operations.  In a published opinion the Fifth Circuit agreed, and reversed and vacated the District Court's ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings before the District Court.

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