Opposition to Bayou Bridge Pipeline's Eminent Domain Lawsuit

At a Glance

Date Filed: 

September 12, 2018

Current Status 

Landowners Theda Larson Wright and Peter and Katherine Aaslestad filed counterclaims and exceptions opposing Bayou Bridge Pipeline's eminent domain lawsuit on September 12, 2018. Following a trial in late November, on December 6, 2018, a Louisiana state court judge found that while BBP did trespass on the landowners' property,  the company will still be allowed take the property from the landowners.

Co-Counsel 

Bill Quigley (Loyola Law School) and Misha Mitchell (Atchafalaya Basinkeeper)

Client(s) 

Theda Larson Wright and Peter and Katherine Aaslestad

Case Description 

The Center for Constitutional Rights along with local co-counsel are representing landowners whose property interests span 38 acres across Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin who are challenging the Bayou Bridge Pipeline Company’s (BBP) eminent domain lawsuit. The landowners claim that BBP’s attempt to expropriate their land violates the landowners’ right to due process and right to property under the Constitution. The landowners have also countersued BBP for violating their property rights and trespassing, on the basis that the company began construction on their property without the legal right to do so, destroying trees and land in the process.

The challenge refutes the company’s claim that the pipeline is in the public interest—the underlying basis for their power to exercise eminent domain. The landowners’ filing details that the pipeline is actually contrary to the public interest—in light of the extensive spill and leak record of the companies involved, the role that pipelines have played in the coastal erosion crisis in Louisiana, and the ways in which reliance on fossil fuels has contributed to climate change. 

Case Timeline

December 6, 2018
Court issues ruling from trial
December 6, 2018
Court issues ruling from trial
Court finds BBP trespassed, but still allows company to take private property
December 2, 2018
Statement from landowners Peter and Katherine Aaslestad and Theda Larson Wright
December 2, 2018
Statement from landowners Peter and Katherine Aaslestad and Theda Larson Wright
Statement from landowners pledging any money damages potentially received from the Court will remain in Louisiana for the public good and to preserve the Atchafalaya Basin.
November 30, 2018
Landowners and BBP file post-trial memorandums
November 30, 2018
Landowners and BBP file post-trial memorandums
Post-trial memorandums filed by both parties after the November 27th trial.
November 20, 2018
Landowners and BBP file pre-trial memos for November 27, 2018 trial
November 20, 2018
Landowners and BBP file pre-trial memos for November 27, 2018 trial
Pre-trial memorandums from both the landowners and BBP filed.
November 16, 2018
Judge rules trial will proceed on November 27, 2018
November 16, 2018
Judge rules trial will proceed on November 27, 2018
November 9, 2018
BBP files pre-trial memorandum
November 9, 2018
BBP files pre-trial memorandum
BBP's pre-trial memo for November 16, 2018 hearing.
November 9, 2018
Landowners file pre-trial memorandum
November 9, 2018
Landowners file pre-trial memorandum
The brief is in regards to Landowners Theda Larson Wright and Peter and Katherine Aaslestad's affirmative defenses and exceptions.
September 12, 2018
Landowners file answers and counter-claims against BBP
September 12, 2018
Landowners file answers and counter-claims against BBP
Each of the landowners filed answers and counterclaims.