FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT RULES GAS COMPANY NOT ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION WHEN FORMER STREET UNDER WHICH ITS PIPELINE WAS LAID WAS CONDEMNED

THE UNITED STATES CONDEMNED A PARKING LOT, OWNED BY THE CITY OF PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE, AND UNDER WHICH THE ALLIED NEW HAMPSHIRE GAS COMPANY HAD A PIPELINE. THE COMPANY CLAIMED A PART OF THE COMPENSATION AWARDED FOR THE LAND AS DAMAGES SUSTAINED IN RELOCATING ITS PIPELINE. THE PIPELINE HAD BEEN INCLUDED IN THE FAIR VALUE OF THE PROPERTY. THE GOVERNMENT ASKED THE U. S. DISTRICT COURT WHETHER IT SHOULD PAY A PORTION OF THE COMPENSATION TO THE COMPANY. THE RECORD SHOWED THAT THE PIPELINE SITE HAD FORMERLY BEEN A STREET WHICH WAS PLATTED AND DEDICATED TO THE PUBLIC IN 1834. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE PIPELINE WAS LAID IN THAT STREET BY THE COMPANY'S PREDECESSOR UNDER AUTHORITY FROM THE STATE LEGISLATURE. THERE WERE NO RECORDED GRANTS OF EASEMENT RIGHTS FROM LANDOWNERS WHO ABUTTED THE STREET AT THAT TIME AND NO LEGAL ACTION BY THEM AGAINST THE PREDECESSOR. IN 1954, THE CITY TOOK THE PROPERTY ABUTTING THE STREET, DISCONTINUED THE STREET AND TURNED THE AREA INTO A PARKING LOT. THEY CLAIMED, AS OWNERS, THE ENTIRE COMPENSATION. THE COMPANY CLAIMED THAT MAINTENANCE OF THE PIPELINE WAS A 'VALUABLE RIGHT' DESERVING COMPENSATION. THEY ARGUED THAT SINCE ABUTTERS RETAINED THE FEE TITLE UNDERLYING THE STREET, IT HAD OBTAINED AN EASEMENT THROUGH ADVERSE USE AGAINST THE FEE HOLDERS. THE COURT RULED, THAT THE COMPANY'S USE WAS NOT ADVERSE BECAUSE THE ABUTTING OWNERS COULD NOT HAVE SUED THE COMPANY FOR TRESPASSING SINCE THE LAYING OF THE PIPELINE WAS A HIGHWAY USE. IT FURTHER STATED THAT THE PREDECESSOR'S FRANCHISE CONFERRED NO GREATER RIGHTS THAN WERE ORDINARILY GRANTED TO UTILITIES, AND UNDER THE COMMON LAW, A UTILITY RISKED THE EXPENSE OF REMOVING AND RELOCATING FACILITIES TO MAKE WAY FOR A PROPER GOVERNMENTAL USE. THE COURT, THEREFORE, CONCLUDED THAT THE COMPANY WAS NOT ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION. (UNITED STATES V. CERTAIN LAND IN THE CITY OF PORTSMOUTH, 247 F. SUPP. 932 MAY 1965)

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • No 21, pp 3-4
  • Publication Date: 1966-5

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  • Accession Number: 00238607
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 10 1994 12:00AM