Town scores victories after driller drops lawsuit, Rule 37 case

Williams Energy affiliate Mockingbird Pipeline has agreed to drop its lawsuit against Flower Mound and pay the town $55,000 to offset legal costs, town officials said Thursday.

In January 2010 Mockingbird Pipeline, L.P., filed a condemnation lawsuit against Flower Mound for a 30-foot natural gas pipeline easement across Fire Station No. 2 property, located at FM 1171 and Shiloh Road. 

The town resisted and since that time, Flower Mound and Mockingbird Pipeline have been engaged in multiple jurisdictional battles in the court system. 

Williams also dropped its Rule 37 case against Flower Mound with the Texas Railroad Commission.  The case was filed by Williams in 2011 so it could drill closer to town property than permitted under the Railroad Commission’s rules.

“We are delighted these issues have been resolved in the town’s favor. Even though these matters have been out of the spotlight recently, the town’s defense of its positions has been strenuous,” said Flower Mound Mayor Melissa Northern.

“I believe both the Mockingbird lawsuit and Williams’ Rule 37 case before the Texas Railroad Commission reflect gas producers and pipeline companies are tenacious and continue to fight, no matter the cost.” 

Mayor Northern said the case was important because the town resisted allowing pipeline companies to condemn municipal property. 

“Had we not fought Mockingbird, the next step could have been to condemn easements on town park property, easements under major town thoroughfares, or even easements under Town Hall,” said Northern.

“Recent history has shown us that some pipeline companies in Denton County are not respectful of private or public property rights, and therefore efforts have been undertaken to require pipeline companies to use more restraint when it comes to their condemnation powers.  I hope those efforts are successful; but sometimes it is necessary to stand up and fight. The town did so, and we were victorious.  It was a long battle, but we won.”

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