Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

West v. Louisville Gas & Electric Co.

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division

January 8, 2018

STEPHEN R. WEST, Plaintiff,
v.
LOUISVILLE GAS & ELECTRIC COMPANY, CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC., INSIGHT KENTUCKY PARTNERS II, L.P. TIME WARNER CABLE, Defendants. LOUISVILLE GAS & ELECTRIC COMPANY, Cross Claimant,
v.
CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC., INSIGHT KENTUCKY PARTNERS II, L.P., TIME WARNER CABLE, Cross Defendants.

          ENTRY ON DEFENDANT CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC.'S, INSIGHT KENTUCKY PARTNERS II, L.P.'S, AND TIME WARNER CABLE'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          RICHARD L. YOUNG, JUDGE

         On July 11, 2016, Plaintiff, Stephen R. West, filed a complaint in state court against Defendant, Louisville Gas & Electric Company (“LGEC”), seeking a declaration that LGEC exceeded the scope of its easement by installing fiber optic cables on its preexisting utility infrastructure. (See Filing No. 1-1, State Court Record at 5-8). Plaintiff also sought damages through a variety of additional claims. (Id. at 9-12). After the case was removed to federal court, (Filing No. 1), Plaintiff amended his complaint and added Charter Communications, Inc., Insight Kentucky Partners II, L.P., and Time Warner Cable (collectively “Insight”) as defendants. (Filing No. 27). Insight now moves to dismiss all of Plaintiff's claims arguing that they are foreclosed by the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984.

         For the reasons set forth below, the court GRANTS Insight's Motion to Dismiss.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff owns a parcel of real estate (the “Property”) located at 51 Arctic Springs Road in Jeffersonville, Indiana. (Filing No. 33, Amended Complaint at ¶ 8). The Property sits adjacent to the Ohio River and contains a 248-foot tower that LGEC utilizes to run utility lines between Kentucky and Indiana. (Id. ¶ 9). LGEC's maintenance of this infrastructure is governed by an easement, the meaning of which the parties vehemently dispute. Accordingly, a careful look at its history is necessary.

         The easement originated in 1938, when the Interstate Public Service Realty Company (“IPSRC”) granted the Public Service Company of Indiana (“PSCI”) an easement across the Property (the “Easement”). (Id. ¶ 10). Specifically, the Easement provides that the IPSRC:

hereby grants and conveys unto Public Service Company of Indiana . . . and unto its successors and assigns, a right-of-way and perpetual easement to maintain, operate, renew, repair and remove a line or lines of poles and towers and all necessary equipment, wires, cables and appurtenances in connection therewith, for the transmission, distribution and delivery of electrical energy to the Grantee and other persons and concerns and to the public in general for light, heat, power, telephone and/or other purposes.

(Filing No. 33-1, Exhibit A).

         Through a series of transactions, Plaintiff's parents acquired the Property in the early 1970s. (Complaint ¶ 12). In 1976, PSCI assigned its rights to the Ohio Valley Transmission Corporation (“OVTC”), a company that merged into LGEC. (Id. ¶¶ 2, 13; Filing No. 33-1, Exhibit B). That same year, Plaintiff's parents and OVTC entered into a Supplemental Deed of Easement (the “1976 Supplemental Agreement”), which addressed the parties' rights under the Easement. (Id. ¶ 14). The recitals of the 1976 Supplemental Agreement explain that OVTC wishes “to replace the existing transmission lines and upgrade its facilities and wishes to update said easements so as to specifically define the rights of the parties and have of record the names of the present-day holders of title to the property over which it presently has a perpetual easement.” (Filing No. 33-3, Exhibit C at 1). The 1976 Supplemental Agreement then provides:

Grantors hereby convey and re-convey to the Company all rights heretofore acquired by the Company or its predecessors, including the perpetual right, privilege and easement to enter upon, construct, reconstruct, replace, upgrade, maintain, operate, and/or remove, one or more lines for the transmission of electrical energy, together with any and all towers, poles, guys, stubs, anchors, foundations, and other necessary equipment, fixtures and appurtenances over, across, and within the existing 100 feet wide easement, a part of or all of which crosses the property of Grantors . . . .

(Id. at 2).

         In 1990, LGEC approached Plaintiff's parents again. This time LGEC sought their consent to enter into a Second Supplemental Deed of Easement, which would have specifically permitted LGEC to “upgrade and remove communication and telephone systems . . . .” (Filing No. 33-4, Exhibit D at 1). Plaintiff's parents refused the invitation and the Second Supplemental Deed of Easement was never executed. (Complaint ¶ 16). Subsequently, Plaintiff acquired the Property from his parents. (Id. ¶ 8).

         Insight enters the picture ten years later. In 2000, LGEC contracted with Insight and granted it the right to run fiber optic cables across LGEC's existing infrastructure. (Id. ¶ 17; see also Filing No. 33-5, Exhibit E, Insight Agreement at 1). Plaintiff was none too pleased by this arrangement. He filed the present action against LGEC arguing that the installation (and continued use) of the fiber optic cables exceeds the scope of LGEC's Easement. Specifically, Plaintiff maintains that the Easement only permits LGEC to maintain electrical energy, not fiber optics. Plaintiff subsequently amended his complaint and added Insight as a defendant. (Filing No. 33, Amended Complaint).

         II. Discussion

         A. Legal Standard

         Insight moves to dismiss Plaintiff's claims under Rule 12(b)(6), which authorizes a court to dismiss a claim where the plaintiff fails “to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must allege ‘enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Forgue v. City of Chicago, 873 F.3d 962, 966 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Facial plausibility refers to the requirement that plaintiffs must “plead[] factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.