Equitrans, L.P. v. 0.56 Acres More or Less of Permanent Easement Located in Marion County, West Virginia et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER REGARDING PARTIES' OBJECTIONS TO PROPOSED EXHIBITS: It is ORDERED that Defendants' 94 Objection is OVERRULED AS FRAMED, and Plaintiff's 96 Objection is OVERRULED. Signed by Senior Judge Frederick P. Stamp, Jr on 1/11/17. (cnd) Modified relationship on 1/11/2017 (cnd).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA
Civil Action No. 1:15CV106
0.56 ACRES MORE OR LESS OF
PERMANENT EASEMENT LOCATED IN
MARION COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA,
JEFFERY J. MOORE and
SANDRA J. MOORE,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
REGARDING PARTIES’ OBJECTIONS TO PROPOSED EXHIBITS
objections to certain of the defendants’ proposed exhibits, and the
defendants (“the Moores”) have filed objections to certain of the
plaintiff’s proposed exhibits.
The trial in this civil action is
scheduled to commence on January 18, 2017. This Court will address
the parties’ objections and set forth its findings, as discussed
Defendants’ Objection (ECF No. 94) - OVERRULED AS FRAMED
Equitrans proposes to introduce as evidence two appraisals of
the property to be condemned completed by Equitrans’s designated
expert witness Douglas Wise (“Wise”) and identified as Plaintiff’s
For a more thorough background of this civil action, see ECF
Nos. 15, and 77.
Exhibit Nos. 1 and 2.
See ECF No. 76.
The Moores object to these
exhibits as inadmissible hearsay under Federal Rule of Evidence
In response, Equitrans argues that the appraisals will be
labeled as exhibits only for identification and that they will be
used only to refresh Wise’s recollection if necessary during his
trial testimony, and may be admitted as a recorded recollection if
he is unable to recall the relevant facts.
photographs, maps, and information related to comparable sales,”
contained in the appraisals is admissible.
ECF No. 110 at 2.
An out-of-court statement that is offered “to prove the truth
of the matter asserted in the statement” is inadmissible.
litigation are inadmissible hearsay.
See N5 Techs. LLC v. Capital
One N.A., 56 F. Supp. 3d 755, 765 (E.D. Va. 2014).
Equitrans represents that it will not seek to introduce these
reports as evidence, but only as potential aids for their expert
witness under Rules 803(5) and 612.
Accordingly, to the extent
that Equitrans seeks to use these reports only to refresh Wise’s
recollection or as a recorded recollection if necessary, the
defendants’ objection is OVERRULED AS FRAMED.
Plaintiff’s Objection (ECF No. 96) - OVERRULED
The Moores propose to introduce several purchase and sale
agreements for pipeline rights-of-way, identified as Defendants’
Exhibit Nos. 2 through 6.
See ECF No. 82.
Equitrans objects to
these sales on the ground that they are irrelevant and inadmissable
under Rules 401, 402, and 403. Specifically, Equitrans argues that
these sales are irrelevant because they are not comparable to the
right-of-way being condemned in this civil action, as they cover
much more and different property than that of the Moores. Further,
Equitrans argues that portions of these sales prices included
“prepaid damages releases,” which they argue must be excluded to
avoid confusing or misleading the jury into believing the Moores
are entitled to monetary damages in this civil action.
West Virginia’s substantive law applies to determine the
Pipeline, LLC v. 102.84 Acres of Land, 560 F. App’x 690, 695-96
(10th Cir. 2013); Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. v. Exclusive
Natural Gas Storage Easement, 962 F.2d 1192, 1195-99 (6th Cir.
Under West Virginia law, “[a]rm’s length transactions in
appraisement, reasonably near the time of acquisition, are the best
evidence of market value, but not to the extent of exclusion of
other relevant evidence of value.”
W. Va. Dep’t of Transp., Div.
of Highways v. W. Pocahontas Props., L.P., 777 S.E.2d 619, 637 (W.
“[E]vidence of the price paid for property which is
comparable to the property being condemned is admissible, if the
following conditions are satisfied:” (1) the sale was “bona fide”;
(2) the sale was “voluntary, not forced”; (3) the same “occurred
relevantly in point of time”; and (4) the sale “cover[s] property
which is comparable to the property being condemned.”
Cnty. Bd. of Educ. v. Ten-A-Coal Co., 459 S.E.2d 349, 351 (W. Va.
Equitrans’s objection rests only on the comparability factor.
Although the sales involve easements through significantly more
land for pipes of a larger diameter than those at issue in this
civil action, these sales are otherwise substantially comparable to
the Moores’ property.
Just like the pipeline here, these sales
were for rights-of-way to place underground pipelines through rural
land in Marshall County, West Virginia. West Virginia law does not
require that the sales be a perfect match to the property being
sufficiently comparable to be relevant to a determination of just
Accordingly, Equitrans’s objection is OVERRULED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
The Clerk is DIRECTED to transmit a copy of this memorandum
opinion and order to counsel of record herein.
January 11, 2017
/s/ Frederick P. Stamp, Jr.
FREDERICK P. STAMP, JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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