Relying on a 2018 decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, a Pennsylvania district court reaffirmed that Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) claims against a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)-regulated pipeline must be made initially to FERC.  Adorers of the Blood of Christ v. Transco. Gas Pipe Line Co.
Continue Reading Religious Freedom Restoration Act claims against FERC-regulated pipeline must be presented initially to FERC, regardless of damages sought

2012 saw several major cases decided by Ohio courts that impact Ohio construction law and the way companies do business. Given the industry connection, oil and gas project owners, contractors, and suppliers could be affected by some of these rulings. Here are what we believe to be the Top 5 construction cases of 2012:

#1 Westfield Ins. Co. v. Custom Agri Sys., Inc., 133 Ohio St.3d 476
(Oct. 16, 2012).

Key Holding — Ohio construction companies may not be able to rely on their commercial general liability policies to cover claims for alleged defective work.

This case brought to the Ohio Supreme Court the much debated question of whether a standard commercial general liability insurance policy covers claims against a contractor for alleged defective and improper work. The court held that the policy does not cover such claims. The court based its ruling on its determination that the claims did not arise from an “occurrence,” which is defined in the policy to mean an “accident.” Because the work itself was not an “accident,” there was no coverage under the policy.

Takeaway: Meet with your insurance professionals to review your coverage and address this crucial issue. Do you have coverage for defective workmanship claims?
Continue Reading Top 5 Construction Cases of 2012

Anyone familiar with the construction industry is aware that contractors and suppliers can protect their right to obtain payment on the project by filing a mechanics’ lien on the property.  Those same protections are also available for companies working on the construction of oil and gas wells and pipelines.  However, oil and gas projects are treated differently than other construction projects under Ohio’s mechanics’ lien statute, and there are several traps for the unwary.  This post sets out the basic guidelines for preserving lien rights on oil and gas well and pipeline projects – with a particular emphasis on how the procedures differ from those on other construction projects.  This post also explains how an owner of an oil and gas project can protect itself from “hidden liens” and the risk of double payment.

 What is Covered?

Continue Reading Protecting (or Defeating) Mechanics’ Liens on Oil and Gas Projects

In Ohio, private pipeline companies regulated as common carriers or public utilities have the power of eminent domain to “condemn” or “appropriate” private property in certain situations. 

It is well known that the power of eminent domain is available to government authorities.  But, the reality of modern America is that carefully regulated private companies, not

Laws and regulations are adopted at all levels of government. The scope of coverage and the need for uniformity normally dictate the  jurisdictional level of regulation. But, when the objectives of federal, state, and local governments conflict, legal battles erupt under the rally cries of “federalism,” “states rights,” “home rule,” “preemption,” and “constitutional rights.”

Some issues, such as interstate pipelines and air quality, are clearly better regulated at a federal level, while others are more suited to the state or local level. For example, uniform federal Clean Air Act regulations prevent states from creating “pollution havens” to attract business.

Similar concerns exist between state and local regulation. The state, as a whole, may want to encourage development of some kind, but communities and local authorities may have a different perspective. Such is the case for oil and gas production, fracking and brine disposal.Continue Reading Who Should Regulate Oil and Gas Operations, National, State or Local Government?