Spencer et al v. Eversource Energy Service Company
///ORDER granting 21 Motion to Amend 1 Complaint; granting 9 Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(7). The clerk shall enter judgment accordingly and close the case. So Ordered by Chief Judge Joseph N. Laplante.(jb)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
Kevin Spencer, Mark Lagasse and
Lagaspence Realty, LLC
Civ. No. 16-cv-353-JL
Opinion No. 2017 DNH 212
Eversource Energy Service Co.
The question presented in this case is whether the owner
and lessee of an easement are required and indispensable parties
to a lawsuit challenging the use of that easement.
involves property owners’ efforts to prevent construction of
electric transmission lines over an easement burdening
plaintiffs’ property in Stark, New Hampshire, part of a 190-mile
project known locally as the Northern Pass.
The crux of
plaintiffs’ complaint is that the proposed use of the easement
is unreasonable and a breach of its express terms.
this court’s diversity jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1332, they seek
a declaratory judgment preventing the project, see 28 U.S.C. §
2201, and monetary damages.
Before the court are plaintiff’s motion to amend their
complaint1 and defendant’s motion to dismiss.2
proposed Amended Complaint updates developments within the state
utility regulatory process and information regarding their
The defendant’s motion to dismiss posits two
1) that the court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction,
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1), because the complaint fails to satisfy
the $75,000 amount-in-controversy threshold set forth in 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a); and 2) that the plaintiffs have failed to join
two necessary and indispensable parties -- the owner and lessee
of the easement, Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(7) and 19.
After reviewing the parties’ submissions and hearing oral
argument, the court first grants plaintiff’s motion to amend.
The court further finds that although the Amended Complaint
alleges sufficient facts (just barely) to satisfy the
jurisdictional amount, it must be dismissed because the owner
and lessee of the easement are both necessary and indispensable
parties, their joinder would defeat the court’s diversity
jurisdiction, and the case cannot “in equity and good
Doc. no. 21.
Doc. no. 9.
Counsel for both parties agreed at the motion hearing that the
proposed Amended Complaint effected no substantive change in the
conscience” proceed without them.
Civ. P. 19(b).
28 U.S.C. § 1332(c); Fed. R.
The court therefore grants defendant’s motion to
The individual plaintiffs, Kevin Spencer and Mark Lagasse,
are each owners of plaintiff Lagaspence Realty, LLC, which, in
turn, owns the Percy Lodge and Campground in Stark, NH.4
and Lagasse are rebuilding an old boarding house to create a
year-round lodge and convenience store.5
$600,000 on the project.6
They have spent over
The property was, at all relevant
times, encumbered by a power line easement granted to Public
Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH) by plaintiffs’
predecessor in title in 1946.
The easement measures
approximately 2950 feet by 150 feet and is presently occupied by
an electric transmission line.7
The Northern Pass lines will run
above and parallel to the existing lines and will be supported
by steel lattice structures anchored to concrete foundations.
Unlike the present power lines on the easement, the proposed
Amended Complaint, doc. no. 21-1, ¶¶ 1-3.
Id. ¶ 46.
Id. ¶ 47.
Id. ¶¶ 48, 55.
transmission lines will be visible from the plaintiffs’ planned
Five of these structures are to be built on the easement
The easement burdening plaintiffs’ land is still owned by
PSNH, a New Hampshire corporation and regulated public utility.10
In October 2015, PSNH leased the easement to Northern Pass
Transmission, LLC (NPT), a New Hampshire entity established in
2010 to construct and own the proposed transmission lines.11
is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eversource Energy Transmission
Ventures, Inc., which is, in turn, a wholly-owned subsidiary of
Eversource Energy, a Massachusetts holding company.12
Id. ¶ 75.
Id. ¶ 7; N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 362:2.
Id. ¶¶ 6, 18. Although PSNH and NPT have executed the lease,
counsel indicated at the motion hearing that the lease does not
take effect until approved by the New Hampshire Public Utilities
Bersak Affidavit, doc. no. 9-2 ¶ 3. The court, as it is
permitted to do, considers extrinsic evidence submitted by EESC,
specifically, the Bersak affidavit, attached as Exhibit 2 to
defendant’s motion. Doc. no. 9-2. See Scott v. First American
Title Ins. Co., 2007 DNH 062 (noting that consideration of
extrinsic evidence is permitted in Rule 19 context); TorresGonzalez v. HIMA San Pablo Caguas, 650 F. Supp. 2d 131, 134
(D.P.R. 2009) (“[T]he principle of conversion of a motion to
dismiss into a motion for summary judgment when extrinsic
materials are reviewed, does not apply in regards to a motion to
dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”) (citing
also a wholly owned Eversource Energy subsidiary.13
Eversource Energy Service Co. a Connecticut corporation, is also
a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eversource Energy.
It is a service
company performing non-power related tasks, including the
provision of administrative, accounting, engineering, financial
and legal services, to other wholly-owned Eversource Energy
subsidiaries,14 such as PSNH.15
The court, as is usually required, turns first to the
jurisdictional question raised by defendant’s motion.
Dynamic Image Tech., Inc. v. United States, 221 F.3d 34, 38 (1st
Cir. 2000) (“As a general matter, trial courts should give Rule
12(b)(1) motions precedence.”).
After resolving that question
-- in plaintiff’s favor -- the court will address the joinder
Dynamic Image Techs., Inc. v. United States, 221 F.3d 34, 37
(1st Cir. 2000).
Id. ¶ 21.
Id. ¶ 6.
Id. ¶ 17.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, federal “district courts
shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the
matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000,
exclusive of interest and costs,” and there is diversity of
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
The amount in controversy in
an action such as this seeking declaratory relief “is the value
of the right or the viability of the legal claim to be declared
. . . .”
CE Design Ltd. v. Am. Econ. Ins. Co., 755 F.3d 39, 43
(1st Cir. 2014).
Where, as here, there are multiple plaintiffs,
each must allege a claim that is in excess of $75,000.
v. Tupperware Corp., 356 F.3d 335, 337 (1st Cir. 2004).
plaintiff carries the burden to establish the jurisdictional
Id. at 338.
“[T]he sum claimed by the plaintiff controls if the claim
is apparently made in good faith.
It must appear to a legal
certainty that the claim is really for less than the
jurisdictional amount to justify dismissal.”
Id. (quoting St.
Paul Mercury Indem. Co. v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283, 288–89
A plaintiff’s “‘general allegation of damages that
meet the amount requirement suffices unless questioned by the
opposing party or the court.’” Id. (quoting Spielman v. Genzyme
Corp., 251 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2001)).
However, once the
opposing party has questioned the amount, “‘the party seeking to
invoke jurisdiction has the burden of alleging with sufficient
particularity facts indicating that it is not a legal certainty
that the claim involves less than the jurisdictional amount.’”
Id. (quoting Spielman, 251 F.3d at 5).
This burden may be met
by amending pleadings or submitting affidavits.
Recreation & Sports of P.R. v. World Boxing Ass’n, 942 F.2d 84,
88 (1st Cir. 1991).
Here, as previously noted, plaintiffs allege that they have
spent over $600,000 renovating their property.16
is supported by an affidavit detailing the expenditures,17 the
accuracy of which the defendants do not dispute.
further claim that the proposed transmission lines will cause
aesthetic damage to the property which will both harm their
prospective business and diminish the property’s value.18
seek damages “for their personal investment in money, equipment
use and labor.”19
While these allegations are sparse, the court, reading the
complaint liberally, Murphy v. United States, 45 F.3d 520, 522
Amended Complaint, doc. no. 21-1, at ¶ 47.
Affidavit, doc. no. 11-1.
Amended Complaint, doc. no. 21-1, at ¶ 78.
Id. ¶ 82.
(1st Cir. 1995), is satisfied that they are sufficient to
indicate “that it is not a legal certainty that the claim
involves less than the jurisdictional amount” of $75,000 to each
of the plaintiffs.
Stewart, 356 F.3d at 338.
could be fairly read as alleging that the bulk of plaintiffs’
$600,000 investment will be lost as a result of the aesthetic
damage to their property caused by the alleged misuse of the
Whatever difficulty the plaintiffs might ultimately
have in proving their damages “is largely irrelevant to the
court’s jurisdiction because the pertinent question is what is
in controversy in the case, not how much the plaintiffs are
ultimately likely to recover.”
Amoche v. Guarantee Trust Life
Ins. Co., 556 F.3d 41, 51 (1st Cir. 2009) (emphasis omitted).
The court therefore denies defendant’s motion as to Rule
Failure to join
As noted, plaintiffs have sued only EESC, but not PSNH, the
owner/lessor of the easement, or NPT, the lessee and project
Defendant argues that both PSNH and NPT are required
and indispensable parties, and because neither can be joined
without destroying diversity, the Complaint must be dismissed.
The court agrees.
Applicable legal standard
Whether dismissal under Rule 19 is warranted is a two-part
First, the court must determine whether the party is a
required party under Rule 19(a), and then whether it is an
indispensable party under Rule 19(b).
United States v. San Juan
Bay Marina, 239 F.3d 400, 405 (1st Cir. 2001).
If the party is
“required” but, as here, joinder is not feasible because it
would destroy diversity, Rule 19(b) then requires the court to
determine, “whether in equity and good conscience, the action
should proceed among the existing parties or should be
Fed. R. Civ. P. 19(b).
Failure to join a party under Rule 19 is a grounds for
dismissal under Rule 12(b)(7).
The Rule applies to
“circumstances in which a lawsuit is proceeding without
particular parties whose interests are central to the suit.”
Picciotto v. Cont'l Cas. Co., 512 F.3d 9, 15 (1st Cir. 2008).
It provides for the joinder of such “required”20 parties when
Fed. R. Civ. P. 19(a)(2).
The joinder of non-diverse
parties, for example, is not “feasible” under Rule 19 because
joinder would undermine the court’s diversity jurisdiction.
The rule formerly referred to a required party as a “necessary
party.” See Pujol v. Shearson/Am. Express, Inc., 877 F.2d 132,
134 (1st Cir. 1989). To be consistent with the term now used in
the rule, the court uses the phrase “required party” in its
analysis, instead of the long-familiar “necessary party.”
re Olympic Mills Corp., 477 F.3d 1, 8 (1st Cir. 2007).
ultimately provides for the dismissal of suits when the court
determines that the joinder of the “required” parties is not
feasible, but that they are, nonetheless, so “indispensable”
that the suit must not be litigated without them.
Fed. R. Civ.
Rule 19 “furthers several related policies, including the
public interest in preventing multiple and repetitive
litigation, the interest of the present parties in obtaining
complete and effective relief in a single action, and the
interest of absentees in avoiding the possible prejudicial
effect of deciding the case without them.”
Acton Co. of
Massachusetts v. Bachman Foods, Inc., 668 F.2d 76, 78 (1st Cir.
“Generally, ‘all interested parties should be joined in
a declaratory judgment action whenever possible,’ in keeping
with the purpose of the Declaratory Judgment Act to fully and
finally adjudicate the controversy at issue.”
P'ship, LP v. Link Dev., LLC, 849 F. Supp. 2d 131, 137 (D. Mass.
2012) (Gorton, J.) (quoting State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. v. Mid–
Continent Cas. Co., 518 F.2d 292, 296 (10th Cir. 1975)).
jurisdiction depends solely on diversity of citizenship, the
absence of a non-diverse, indispensable party is not a mere
Rather, it destroys the district court’s
original subject matter jurisdiction.”
Picciotto, 512 F.3d at
Under Rule 19(a), a party is “required” if:
(A) in that person’s absence, the court cannot accord
complete relief among existing parties; or
(B) that person claims an interest relating to the
subject of the action and is so situated that
disposing of the action in the person’s absence may:
(i) as a practical matter impair or impede the
person’s ability to protect the interest; or
(ii) leave an existing party subject to a
substantial risk of incurring double, multiple,
or otherwise inconsistent obligations because of
Fed. R. Civ. P. 19(a)(1).
At oral argument, plaintiffs’ counsel conceded that PSNH
and NPT are “required parties” under Rule 19(a).
appreciates counsel’s candor, as it is beyond reasonable dispute
that both PSNH and NPT are required parties.
PSNH owns the
easement burdening plaintiffs’ property and NPT is both the
lessee and the party seeking regulatory approval to construct
the Northern Pass.
Under the first criterion of Rule 19(a), a
party is “required” if complete relief cannot be accorded among
the existing parties.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 19(a)(1)(A).
if the court issues the declaration plaintiffs seek as to EESC,
it will not be binding on PSNH and NPT.
See Mass. Delivery
Ass'n v. Coakley, 671 F.3d 33, 48 n.12 (“The [Federal
Declaratory Judgment] Act does not contain any provisions
indicating that declaratory judgments are authoritative vis-àvis nonparties to the litigation.”).
Therefore, a decision in
this case will not accord complete relief among the parties,
including the plaintiffs, in the absence of NPT and PSNH.
Similarly, under Rule 19(a)(1)(B),21 a declaratory judgment
from this court could “impair or impede” the interests of NPT
and PSNH, Fed R. Civ. P. 19(a)(1)(B)(i), because each has “an
obvious interest that requires protection.”
Sch. Dist. Of City
of Pontiac v. Sec’y of U.S. Dep't. of Educ., 584 F.3d 253, 266
(6th Cir. 2009); cf. Schutten v. Shell Oil Co., 421 F.2d 869,
874 (5th Cir. 1970) (observing that even absent binding ruling,
a potential creation of a mere cloud on title is sufficient
prejudice to make a party’s joinder desirable).
In addition, a declaratory judgment from this court risks
both plaintiffs’ and defendant’s exposure to inconsistent
obligations should PSNH and NPT successfully litigate the scope
of the easement in another forum.
Fed. R. Civ. P.
Nor could plaintiffs enforce a declaratory
Given the disjunctive “or” after Rule 19(a)(1)(A),
consideration of the subsection (B) criteria would have been
unnecessary, even without plaintiffs’ concession. The court
sketches the analysis here for the sake of completeness.
judgment from this court without potentially running afoul of an
adverse judgment from a subsequent forum.
Cf. Delgado v. Plaza
Las Americas, Inc., 139 F.3d 1, 3 (1st Cir. 1998) (“Inconsistent
obligations occur when a party is unable to comply with one
court’s order without breaching another court’s order concerning
the same incident.”).
Having found that PSNH and NPT are both required parties
and that their joinder would destroy diversity jurisdiction,
i.e., it is “not feasible,” the court turns to Rule 19(b) to
determine whether the action should nevertheless proceed in
In making this decision, the court must
[F]irst, to what extent a judgment rendered in the
person’s absence might be prejudicial to the person or
those already parties; second, the extent to which, by
protective provisions in the judgment, by the shaping
of relief, or other measures, the prejudice can be
lessened or avoided; third, whether a judgment
rendered in the person’s absence will be adequate;
fourth, whether the plaintiff will have an adequate
remedy if the action is dismissed for nonjoinder.
Piccioto, 512 F.3d at 18 n.13.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 19(b)(1)-(4).
However, our Court of Appeals has stressed that “Rule 19(b)
determinations must be based on fact-specific considerations,”
and “must be steeped in ‘pragmatic considerations.’”
Indem. Co. v. Dingwell, 884 F.2d 629, 635 (1st Cir. 1989)
(quoting Advisory Committee Notes on the 1966 Amendments to Rule
Adopting this approach, the court declines to permit the
case to proceed in this forum without the absent defendants.
As to the first factor -- prejudice to either the existing
or non-joined parties -- the court has already noted that
neither NPT nor PSNH would be bound by any judgment in this
But, as the Supreme Court has observed:
This means, however, only that a judgment is not res
judicata as to, or legally enforceable against, a
nonparty. It obviously does not mean either (a) that
a court may never issue a judgment that, in practice,
affects a nonparty or (b) that (to the contrary) a
court may always proceed without considering the
potential effect on nonparties simply because they are
not ‘bound’ in the technical sense. Instead, as Rule
19(a) expresses it, the court must consider the extent
to which the judgment may ‘as a practical matter
impair or impede his ability to protect’ his interest
in the subject matter.
Provident Tradesmens Bank & Tr. Co. v. Patterson, 390 U.S. 102,
110 (1968) (internal footnotes omitted).
Here, a judgment for
the plaintiffs, even if not binding on the PSNH and NPT, may,
“as a practical matter,” id., create legal confusion which could
undermine or serve as an impediment to their respective easement
Next, under the second 19(b) factor, the plaintiffs have
offered no means or proposal as to how any prejudice to the
absent parties can be lessened.
Nor can the court conceive of
any means to reduce the prejudice ensuing from a declaration
that the proposed use of the easement is invalid, while neither
the owner nor prospective user of the easement are before the
As to the third factor, for the same reasons set forth
above in its discussion of complete relief under Fed. R. Civ. P.
19(a)(1)(A), the court also finds that any judgment entered in
this case would not be “adequate” because it would not fully
resolve the issue against all parties with an interest in the
Fed. R Civ. P. 19(b)(3).
Finally, as to the fourth factor, plaintiffs do not dispute
that if this case is dismissed it could be filed in state court
with all required parties present.
Instead, they assert that
they avoided state court to be “free from the influences of New
Hampshire politics and Eversource money.”22
The court finds that
this sort of veiled and unsubstantiated criticism of New
Hampshire’s state courts has little evidentiary value and adds
nothing to the court’s analysis.
At oral argument, plaintiffs
tried to support their position by referring to Mullen v. Pub.
Serv. Co. Of New Hampshire, No. 2014-0797, 2015 WL 11071989
(July 16, 2015), a case, like this one, involving landowners
contesting PSNH’s and NPT’s alleged misuse of an easement in
connection with the Northern Pass project.
Pltff. Obj., doc. no. 11, at 2.
The Court affirmed
the trial court’s grant of the defendants’ motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
At oral argument, plaintiff’s counsel characterized the
dismissal of the Mullen case without discovery as depriving
those plaintiffs of “their day in court,” and that he filed suit
in federal court (although not against PSNH and NPT) to “assure
[plaintiffs of] a fair shot.”
Plaintiffs, however, have cited
no authority to support their implicit assertion that a court’s
granting a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a
claim -- a procedural posture that almost by definition precedes
discovery -- is in any way indicative of a court incapable of,
or indisposed to, giving their case proper consideration.
all of the Rule 19(b) factors militate in favor of dismissal for
Plaintiffs’ objection does not directly address the Rule
19(b) factors set forth above.
It is instead grounded in the
contention that EESC controls NPT, PSNH, and “every aspect of
the Northern Pass project,”23 such that EESC can represent the
interests of the easement owner and lessee.24
This argument does
not withstand scrutiny when examined in light of the undisputed
EESC is not a parent of NPT or PSNH.
Pltff. Obj., doc. no. 11 at 3.
Id. at 7.
Nor is EESC the
owner of the easement, a party to the lease referred to in the
Complaint, or the proponent of record of the Northern Pass
As noted previously, supra, § I, EESC provides non-power
services to other wholly-owned subsidiaries of Eversource
All of EESC’s services are rendered pursuant to the
terms of, and limited by the scope of, contractual agreements.26
As such, EESC does not direct or control any of the affiliates
for which it provides services.27
Thus, contrary to the premise
of plaintiffs’ objection, the undisputed facts show that EESC is
not “responsible for all aspects of the [Eversource Energy]
transmission system including operations, maintenance,
engineering, planning, reliability compliance, project
management and construction.”28
EESC is not a public utility,
and as such it cannot own any plant or equipment used in the
generation, transmission or sale of electricity.29
The upshot of
the above corporate structure is that EESC’s presence in this
Bersak Affidavit, doc. 9-2 ¶ 14; Complaint, doc. no. 1 ¶¶ 6 –
Id. at ¶ 7.
Id. at ¶ 9.
Id. at ¶ 12.
Id. at ¶¶ 10 & 11.
litigation does not overcome the absence of PSNH and NPT in the
context of the court’s Rule 19 analysis.30
While not disputing the above corporate structure,
plaintiffs argue that EESC can represent the interests of PSNH
and NPT because various EESC executives and attorneys also serve
in similar capacities with PSNH and NPT, and that EESC
employees, executives or attorneys signed or submitted
regulatory filings made on behalf of NPT that were related to
the Northern Pass.31
But “‘the fact that one person controls two
corporations is not sufficient to make the two corporations . .
. the same person under the law.’”
Michnovez v. Blair, LLC, 795
F. Supp. 2d 177, 186 (D.N.H. 2011) (quoting Vill. Press, Inc. v.
Stephen Edward Co., 120 N.H. 469, 471 (1980)).
Moreover, while EESC does not dispute that it likely has a
commonality of interests with NPT and PSNH insofar as seeing the
Defendant argues that plaintiff is improperly trying to
“pierce the corporate veil.” Def. Mem. of Law, doc. no. 9-1, at
9. The plaintiffs do not make that argument in their objection,
and the court does not interpret the plaintiffs’ argument in
that light. Indeed, such “piercing” usually seeks to ignore
corporate formalities and hold an individual liable for
corporate acts. See, e.g., LaMontagne Builders, Inc. v. Bowman
Brook Purchase Group, 150 N.H. 270, 275 (noting that piercing
the corporate veil results in assessing individual liability).
Here, by contrast, plaintiffs seek to put the Eversource Energy
subsidiary in the shoes of two other subsidiaries, NPT and PSNH.
Id. at 6-9; Complaint, doc no. 1, at ¶¶ 4-20.
Northern Pass project proceed, plaintiffs have provided no
limiting principle for the proposition that such aligned
interests, standing alone, can satisfy Rule 19 by simply
allowing a plaintiff to sue any diverse subsidiary entity that
shares a parent with a non-diverse, required, subsidiary.
Although plaintiffs point to two cases from the First
Circuit Court of Appeals in support of their objection, both are
In Bacardi Int’l Ltd. v. V. Suarez & Co., Inc., 719
F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2013), the Court held that a plaintiff
petitioning for confirmation of an arbitration award could
protect the interests of an absent affiliated company, in part
because the two entities “would each wish to show the same
thing,” i.e., that the arbitration award should not be vacated.
Id. at 11 (citing Pujol, 877 F.2d at 135).
Although Bacardi was
addressing Rule 19(a), rather than 19(b), as here, it is
instructive, but it does not support plaintiffs’ position.
the first instance, the procedural posture of Bacardi was a
The Court of Appeals noted that it was not
addressing a “question of whether [the absent party] would have
been a required party if the contract dispute had been
adjudicated in the district court” rather than in the context of
the “limited nature of judicial review” of an arbitration award.
Id. at 9.
Here, the court views the current dispute as more
akin to the underlying contract dispute referred to -- but not
before the court -- in Bacardi, rather than the more limited
arbitral confirmation proceeding that was actually being
litigated in that case.
Equally as important, the plaintiff in
Bacardi, was trying to confirm an arbitration award over which
it clearly had an interest; it had successfully participated in
Here, EESC has no legal interest in the lease
or easement burdening plaintiffs’ property.
Instead, only the
legal interests of NPT and PSNH at stake.
The Bacardi court relied on Pujol, supra, in which the
Court of Appeals held that a defendant parent company could
adequately protect the interests of its (absent and non-diverse)
wholly-owned subsidiary, which, the court noted, the parties
agreed was a “corporate shell.”
877 F.2d at 135.
not a parent company of NPT or PSNH.
Here, EESC is
Nor is it a corporate
shell, existing separately from the absent companies “only on
The undisputed facts demonstrate that EESC is a
separately incorporated entity which maintains its own books and
accounts, separate and apart from other Eversource Energy
subsidiaries, including PSNH and NPT.32
Ultimately, the corporate relationship between and among
the three businesses is insufficient to overcome EESC’s wellfounded argument that PSNH and NPT are required, indispensable
Bersak Affidavit, doc. 9-2 ¶ 15.
parties, and that “in equity and good conscience, the action
[can not] proceed among the existing parties” and must be
Fed. R. Civ. P. 19(b).33
Plaintiffs’ motion to amend34 is GRANTED.
motion to dismiss35 is GRANTED.
The clerk shall enter judgment
accordingly and close the case.
Joseph N. Laplante
United States District Judge
September 28, 2017
Arthur B. Cunningham, Esq.
Bruce W. Felmly, Esq.
Adam M. Hamel, Esq.
At oral argument, plaintiff’s counsel argued that Hooper v.
Wolfe, 396 F.3d 744 (6th Cir. 2005), supported a finding that
NPT and PSNH are not indispensable under Rule 19(b). The court
disagrees. In Hooper, the court held that a limited partnership
is not an indispensable party in a dispute between its two
partners. Id. at 748-49. The court, relying on the decisions
of other courts of appeals, relied on “the commonsense notion
that so long as the constituent partners are before the court,
the partnership is not an indispensable party.” Id. at 749.
Here, where EESC has no legal connection to the easement at
issue -- or its proposed use -- the absence of the two parties
that do have such connections warrants the opposite conclusion.
Doc. no. 21.
Doc. no. 9.
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