Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Davilla v. Enable Midstream Partners L.P.

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20009
Nos. 17-6088, (10th Cir., 01/10/2019)

The Tenth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part a lower court's decision in a challenge to a natural gas pipeline company's expired easement on tribal land. The pipeline company appealed the district court's granting of summary judgment to tribal members on their trespass claims, arguing that it produced evidence of consent—written consent forms from five tribe members—sufficient to prove a legal right to maintain the pipeline despite the expiration. The appellate court determined that summary judgment was proper because Congress dictated the prerequisites of a right to enter by statute and the company had no legal right to keep its pipeline on the members' land unless it secured a right-of-way for that purpose from DOI. The company also challenged the lower court's permanent injunction, arguing that the court incorporated a simplified injunction rule from Oklahoma law when it should have adhered to federal equity jurisprudence. The appellate court agreed, finding that the lower court abused its equitable discretion by relying primarily on state law rather than applying the federal courts' traditional four-factor test when deciding to grant permanent injunctive relief. The appellate court therefore affirmed the lower court's summary judgment, but reversed its permanent injunction order and remanded for a full weighing of the equities.