Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC v. .589 Acres of Land in Hamilton County Florida et al
ORDER granting (74) Motion for Partial Summary Judgment in case 3:16-cv-00277-MMH-JBT; granting (78) Motion for Partial Summary Judgment in case 3:16-cv-00300-MMH-PDB; granting (70) Motion for Partial Summary Judgment in case 3:16-cv-00317-MMH-MC R. The date of value in these cases will be June 8, 2016. Consistent with the Order on the Measure of Compensation, entered on June 15, 2017, Florida law supplies the federal rule for measuring compensation in these cases. Signed by Judge Marcia Morales Howard on 2/26/2018. (JHC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
SABAL TRAIL TRANSMISSION, LLC,
0.589 ACRES OF LAND IN HAMILTON
COUNTY, FLORIDA, SAMUEL R.
PANILAG, TRUSTEE, et al.,
SABAL TRAIL TRANSMISSION, LLC,
0.7 ACRES OF LAND IN SUWANNEE
COUNTY, FLORIDA, MANUEL
DEGUZMAN, et al.,
SABAL TRAIL TRANSMISSION, LLC,
0.507 ACRES OF LAND IN SUWANNEE
COUNTY, FLORIDA, MARY R. FRIDMAN,
These cases are before the Court on Plaintiff Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC’s
motions for partial summary judgment regarding date of valuation. (Case No. 3:16-cv-277J-34JBT, Doc. 74; Case No. 3:16-cv-300-J-34PDB, Doc. 78; Case No. 3:16-cv-317-J34MCR, Doc. 70) (“Motion for Partial Summary Judgment”). The defendant-landowners
have responded. (Case No. 3:16-cv-277-J-34JBT, Doc. 89; Case No. 3:16-cv-300-J34PDB, Doc. 93; Case No. 3:16-cv-317-J-34MCR, Doc. 85) (“Response”). Sabal Trail
requests that the Court enter an order establishing that the date of value in these
condemnation cases is June 8, 2016, which is the date on which Sabal Trail obtained
possession of the properties at issue. Motion for Partial Summary Judgment at 2, 5. The
landowners “do not disagree that the date of value should be June 8, 2016.” Response at
2. However, the landowners wish to assert that the date of value is June 8, 2016, because
Florida law, rather than federal common law, supplies the rule for measuring
compensation. See id.
Because the parties agree that June 8, 2016, should be the date of value, the
motions for partial summary judgment are due to be granted. The Court also notes, so as
to correct any misunderstanding, that the Order of June 15, 2017 – which held that Florida
law supplies the rule for measuring compensation – applies to all cases captioned therein,
which includes these cases. (E.g., Case No. 3:16-cv-277-J-34JBT, Doc. 63 at 6, ¶ 1)
(“Order on the Measure of Compensation”). Consistent with the Order on the Measure of
Compensation, the Natural Gas Act adopts Florida’s substantive law of “full compensation”
“as the federal rule for measuring compensation in these cases.” Id.
Under Rule 56, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Rule(s)), “[t]he court shall grant
summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Rule 56(a). The record to
be considered on a motion for summary judgment may include “depositions, documents,
electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those
made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other
materials.” Rule 56(c)(1)(A). 1 An issue is genuine when the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict in favor of the non-movant. See Mize v. Jefferson
City Bd. of Educ., 93 F.3d 739, 742 (11th Cir. 1996) (quoting Hairston v. Gainesville Sun
Publ’g Co., 9 F.3d 913, 919 (11th Cir. 1993)). “[A] mere scintilla of evidence in support of
the non-moving party’s position is insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment.”
Kesinger ex rel. Estate of Kesinger v. Herrington, 381 F.3d 1243, 1247 (11th Cir. 2004)
(citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986)).
The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating to
the court, by reference to the record, that there are no genuine issues of material fact to
be determined at trial. See Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir. 1991).
Rule 56 was revised in 2010 “to improve the procedures for presenting and deciding
summary-judgment motions.” Rule 56 advisory committee’s note 2010 Amends.
The standard for granting summary judgment remains unchanged. The language of
subdivision (a) continues to require that there be no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and that the movant be entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The
amendments will not affect continuing development of the decisional law construing
and applying these phrases.
Campbell v. Shinseki, 546 F. App’x 874, 879 n. 3 (11th Cir. 2013). “[A]lthough the interpretations
in the advisory committee[‘s] notes are not binding, they are highly persuasive.” Id. Thus, case law
construing the former Rule 56 standard of review remains viable and applies here.
“When a moving party has discharged its burden, the non-moving party must then go
beyond the pleadings, and by its own affidavits, or by depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, designate specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.” Jeffery v. Sarasota White Sox, Inc., 64 F.3d 590, 593-94 (11th Cir.
1995) (citations and quotation marks omitted). Substantive law determines the materiality
of facts, and “[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 248. In determining whether summary judgment is appropriate, a court “must view all
evidence and make all reasonable inferences in favor of the party opposing summary
judgment.” Haves v. City of Miami, 52 F.3d 918, 921 (11th Cir. 1995) (citing Dibrell Bros.
Int’l, S.A. v. Banca Nazionale Del Lavoro, 38 F.3d 1571, 1578 (11th Cir. 1994)).
In these cases, the motions for partial summary judgment do not involve any factual
disputes. The only question is purely one of law: what date should be used to determine
the value of the properties Sabal Trail is condemning? Both parties agree that the date to
be used is June 8, 2016. Motion for Partial Summary Judgment at 2; Response at 2. The
only disagreement is whether the date of value derives from federal common law or Florida
substantive law. However, as this Court has already ruled, under Georgia Power Co. v.
Sanders, 617 F.2d 1112 (5th Cir. 1980) (en banc), the Natural Gas Act incorporates Florida
substantive law as the federal rule for measuring compensation. See generally Order on
the Measure of Compensation. Therefore, consistent with Florida law, the date of valuation
in these cases will be June 8, 2016. 2
Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED:
1. Plaintiff Sabal Trail’s motions for partial summary judgment regarding date of value
(Case No. 3:16-cv-277-J-34JBT, Doc. 74; Case No. 3:16-cv-300-J-34PDB, Doc. 78;
Case No. 3:16-cv-317-J-34MCR, Doc. 70) are GRANTED. The date of value in
these cases will be June 8, 2016.
2. Consistent with the prior Order on the Measure of Compensation, the Court clarifies
that Florida substantive law supplies the federal rule for measuring compensation
under the Natural Gas Act.
DONE AND ORDERED at Jacksonville, Florida this 26th day of February, 2018.
Counsel of record
Sabal Trail observes that the date of possession (which here is June 8, 2016) would appear
to serve as the date of valuation under either federal common law, see Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment at 3-4 (citations omitted), or Florida law, id. at 4-5 (citing Dep’t of Transp. v. Bd. of
Supervisors of St. John’s Water Control Dist., 981 So. 2d 605, 606 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008)).
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