Midwestern Gas Transmission Company v. Linda Scott Webster
This appeal is one of twenty-seven similar appeals arising from a dispute between a natural gas company that has the power of eminent domain and the owners of twenty-seven properties who are resisting the company’s efforts to construct an extension of an existing pipeline. After these property owners refused to permit the company to conduct preliminary examinations and surveys on their properties, the company filed separate complaints against the owners of each tract in the Circuit Court for Sumner County seeking orders authorizing it to conduct the preliminary examinations and surveys necessary for the siting of the project pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-16-121 (2000). The trial court conducted an expedited joint hearing and entered an order dismissing the company’s complaints. The company appealed, and we consolidated the cases for oral argument. We have concluded that Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-16-121 is not preempted by the Natural Gas Act and that the company is entitled to the orders of preliminary entry it sought. Accordingly, we have determined that the trial court erred by dismissing the company’s complaints.