• Mining Company Likely Precluded from Litigating Gas Pipeline’s Negligence Claims Against It After Not Contesting Administrative Agency’s Allegations
  • June 23, 2014
  • Law Firm: Sutherland Asbill Brennan LLP - Washington Office
  • Following damage to a gas pipeline in Floyd County, Kentucky, the owner of the pipeline brought suit against a mining company alleging that its mining and reclamation activity caused the landslide that damaged the pipeline. While the case was ongoing in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, the Kentucky Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement issued the mining company a Notice of Proposed Assessment for $33,700 in penalties and the assessor’s report contained a finding that the damage to the pipeline resulted from the reckless conduct of the mining company. The mining company did not contest the administrative regulatory allegations, and a final order accordingly deemed them admitted. The pipeline owner then moved the court for partial summary judgment on the grounds that litigation over certain elements of its claims was precluded by the administrative findings. The court agreed that most elements of claim preclusion were met but decided to require additional briefing so that the parties could brief which specific issues and facts the administrative agency actually decided.