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Board of Commissioners of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority v. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20035
Nos. 13-5410, (E.D. La., 02/13/2015) (Brown, J.)

A district court dismissed a flood protection board's lawsuit against 88 oil and gas companies for damages stemming from coastal erosion along a "buffer zone" in southeast Louisiana. The companies do not owe a legal duty to the board, arising under either Louisiana law or the Rivers and Harbors Act, the CWA, or the CZMA, to protect the board from the results of coastal erosion allegedly caused by the companies' oil and gas activities in the buffer zone. The court therefore dismissed the board's negligence and strict liability counts for failure to state a claim. Nor can the board state a viable claim for "natural servitude of drain." The board argued that a natural servitude of drain may exist between non-adjacent estates with respect to coastal storm surge. However, neither the codal articles nor the case law supports such a finding. Similarly, the board failed to establish adjacency or ownership of property necessary to support its public and private nuisance claims. Last, the board failed to state a claim for breach of contract as a third-party beneficiary. Any benefit that might flow to the board via federal permitting schemes is merely incidental. The case was therefore dismissed.