Court of Appeals Decision: Engelking v. Enbridge (Pipeline Right of Way Grant)

The Court of Appeals District III held in Engelking v. Enbridge (2017AP2450) that property owners’ future damages claims against Enbridge for pipelines located on their property were barred by claim preclusion. The appeals court also upheld summary judgment in favor of Enbridge, allowing it to continue transporting natural gas liquids (NGLs) via the pipelines.

Property owners Barbara and Jeremy Engelking inherited a Right of Way Grant from their predecessor in title. The grant allowed Enbridge right of way to transport “crude petroleum, its products and derivatives” via the pipelines on the Engelking property.

The Engelkings had filed a previous action against Enbridge in 2010, seeking damages for trespass and unjust enrichment from the pipelines on their property. The Engelkings argued the instant case is distinct from their 2010 claims because they sought future damages, whereas the 2010 claims sought remedy for past damages. However, the court ruled that the 2010 claims precluded the instant case because the Engelkings did have the opportunity to pursue future economic damages claims in 2010.

The Engelkings also argued the grant did not allow Enbridge to transport NGLs via the pipelines on their property because NGLs are not a derivative of crude petroleum. However, the court ruled the grant’s language as unambiguously including NGLs as an eligible derivative of crude petroleum, citing an Enbridge chemical engineer’s affidavit. The court upheld summary judgment in favor of Enbridge accordingly.