Vintage Assets, Inc. v. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, LLC et al
ORDER AND REASONS denying 226 Motion for Certification of Interlocutory Appeal Under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) and to Stay Proceedings. Signed by Judge Jane Triche Milazzo on 8/31/2017. (ecm)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
VINTAGE ASSETS INC.
TENNESSEE GAS PIPELINE CO. ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
Before the Court is Defendants’ Motion for Certification of Interlocutory
Appeal Under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) and to Stay Proceedings (Doc 226). For the
following reasons, it is DENIED.
The background facts of this case have been detailed at length in the
Court’s previous orders. Familiarity with those orders is assumed. On August
22, 2017, this Court issued an Order and Reasons on several motions for
summary judgment, holding that Defendants had a contract duty to maintain
the pipeline servitude canals at issue and dismissing Plaintiffs’ claims for
trespass and negligence. On August 28, the Court issued an additional Order
and Reasons, denying Defendants’ motions for summary judgment seeking to
limit damages. Defendants now move for a certification for interlocutory
appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) as to some of the issues addressed in
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292, a court can allow for interlocutory appeal
of orders without directing entry of a final judgment on the order.
interlocutory order to be appealable pursuant § 1292(b), three conditions must
be satisfied. The trial judge must certify in writing that the order: (1) involves
a controlling question of law, (2) substantial ground for difference of opinion
on that question of law exists, and (3) immediate appeal from the order may
“materially advance the ultimate termination of [the] litigation.” 1 The moving
party carries the burden of showing the necessity of interlocutory appeal. 2
Interlocutory appeals are “exceptional” and should not be granted “simply to
determine the correctness of a judgment.” 3
LAW AND ANALYSIS
The Court finds that Defendants have not met their burden of showing
that interlocutory appeal is appropriate. First, “a question of law is controlling
if reversal would terminate the litigation.” 4 Here, even if the Court’s prior
rulings were reversed and Defendants were found to have no duty to maintain
28 U.S.C. § 1292.
Chauvin v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., Nos. 06-7145, 06-8769, 2007 WL
4365387, at *2 (E.D. La. Dec. 11, 2007).
3 Id. (quoting Clark-Dietz & Assocs.-Eng’rs, Inc. v. Basic Constr. Co., 702 F.2d 67, 68–
69 (5th Cir. 1983)).
4 Decena v. Am. Int’l Cos., No. 11-1754, 2012 WL 1640455, at *2 (citing Breeden v.
Transocean Offshore Ventures, No. 00-2561, 2001 WL 125343, at *1).
the canals, it would still be necessary to try Plaintiff’s claim regarding
Defendants’ breach of the duty to install dams or bulkheads pursuant to the
1970 rights-of-way. That claim remains pending before the Court.
Next, Defendants argue that there are substantial grounds for a
difference of opinion because the Court’s opinion conflicts with the Fifth
Circuit’s ruling in Ryan v. Southern Natural Gas Company. Defendants’
arguments are the same as those that were raised and rejected in their motions
for summary judgment. This Court does not see its opinion as contradictory to
Ryan, and rather, finds Ryan to be distinguishable for the reasons addressed
in this Court’s prior opinion. This Court therefore does not see this matter as
being one with substantial grounds for difference of opinion. “[T]he mere fact
that a party disagrees with the district court’s ruling is insufficient to establish
that there is a substantial ground for a difference of opinion.” 5 In addition,
simply being the first court to rule on a question does not qualify the issue as
one over which there is substantial disagreement. 6
Lastly, “in determining whether certification will materially advance the
ultimate termination of the litigation, the district court considers whether it
will eliminate the need for trial, eliminate complex issues, or streamline issues
to simplify discovery.” 7 As already addressed, even reversal will not eliminate
the need for a trial. In addition, the parties do not contend that the Fifth
Circuit’s affirmance of this Court’s decision will spawn settlement.
Southern U.S. Trade Ass’n v. Unidentified Parties, No. 10-1669, 2011 WL 2790182,
at *2 (E.D. La. 2011).
6 Ryan v. Flowserve Corp., 444 F. Supp. 2d 718, 723–24 (N.D. Tex. 2006).
7 In re Stewart, No. 09-3521, 2009 WL 2461672, at *2 (E.D. La. 2009) (citing In re
Babcock & Wilcox Co., No. 00-1154, 2000 WL 823473 at *2 (E.D. La. 2000)).
In conclusion, this Court finds that Defendants have not satisfied their
heavy burden of demonstrating that the requirements of § 1292(b) have been
met. Accordingly, their Motion for certification of an interlocutory appeal is
For the foregoing reasons, the Motion is DENIED.
New Orleans, Louisiana this 31st day of August, 2017.
JANE TRICHE MILAZZO
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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