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Nashville Airport Authority defense in breach of easement, negligence lawsuit

The Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority undertook a significant expansion project during which the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) punctured a petroleum pipeline traversing Airport property pursuant to an easement agreement between the Airport and Colonial Pipeline Company. Colonial asserted that the strike released approximately 14,000 gallons of gasoline on to the Airport’s property and into a nearby stream, McCrory Creek, and that clean-up costs could be in the range of $20 million dollars. Colonial filed suit against the Airport and its subcontractor, AECOM. The suit stated six causes of action: (1) breach of the easement agreement against the Airport, (2) negligence against both the Airport and AECOM, (3) trespass against AECOM, (4) wrongful interference with easement against AECOM, (5) contribution under the Oil Pollution Act against the Airport and AECOM, and (6) declaratory judgment against the Airport and AECOM.

Waller represented the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority in the case. After a lengthy discovery process, complex motion practice and a multiparty mediation, the case was successfully resolved. This case involved complex and novel issues of governmental immunity, and allocation of fault under the Oil Pollution Act as well as interaction with state and federal environmental agencies.

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