Issue: Road damage from pipeline trucks
Action: Court enforcement of town’s rights
Outcome: $1.6 million settlement
In the fall of 2007 and spring of 2008, a large pipeline company began hauling materials over the roads of two towns in connection with the construction of a stretch of pipeline through Rock County. Town residents and officials noticed extensive damage as a result of the unusually heavy loads being carried by the trucks. The towns approached municipal attorney Dave Moore, in search of a solution to safeguard their interests under the law which allows them to regulate use of municipal roads when necessary to prevent injury to such roads, while cooperating with the pipeline company’s efforts. Attorney Moore drafted agreements for the towns, under which the pipeline company agreed to pay the cost of all temporary repairs and a negotiated percentage of the cost for permanent repairs to the affected portions of the towns’ roads. The agreements also required the pipeline company to pay for the cost of enforcing the agreements, including the towns’ attorney’s fees.
As completion of the pipeline’s work approached, it became clear that the pipeline company had no intention of honoring the terms of the agreements.
Attorneys Dave Moore and Sara Gehrig took the pipeline company to court, and obtained immediate relief for the towns in the form of an order excluding the pipeline’s trucks and equipment from the towns’ roads pending further order of the court. Over the next several months, Attorneys Moore and Gehrig fought for the towns’ rights under the agreements, ultimately reaching a settlement for the towns of more than 1.6 million dollars for road repairs, in addition to reasonable costs of litigation.
The towns publicly and privately recognized the efforts of Nowlan’s attorneys in proactively anticipating the problems the towns would encounter in asserting and enforcing their rights against a large well-funded pipeline company, and in vindicating their rights in a settlement which fully compensated each of the towns for the pipeline company’s actions.