Scherger v. Northern Natural Gas Co.
Minnesota Supreme Court
575 N.W.2d 578 (1998)
Northern Natural Gas Co. (Northern) (defendant) transports natural gas in interstate commerce through a pipeline system. In 1931, Northern obtained a blanket easement over a portion of a farm property together with the right to access the property to construct, inspect, repair, maintain, and replace a pipeline. Under the agreement, Northern was required to pay the property owner 50 cents per lineal rod of pipeline. In 1932, pursuant to this agreement, Northern constructed a natural gas pipeline on the farm property. The Schergers (plaintiffs) subsequently purchased the farm property. In 1995, Northern informed the Schergers that it intended to replace the pipeline running through the Schergers’ property and paid the Schergers $905 as compensation. The replacement pipeline would run close to the original pipeline, but would take up a new area of land. The Schergers responded that, pursuant to a Minnesota statute, Northern was required to provide a definite and specific description of the present gas-pipeline easement. The Schergers also demanded that a new easement agreement be negotiated. The Schergers contended that if negotiations were unsuccessful, then Northern should acquire a new easement by condemnation. Northern responded that it would provide a description of the present gas-pipeline easement after the replacement pipeline was completed. Northern further asserted that the original easement agreement gave it the right to put the replacement pipeline anywhere on the property within the boundaries of the original easement. The Schergers petitioned the court to require Northern to commence condemnation proceedings to replace the pipeline. The Schergers argued that, under the terms of the 1931 easement agreement, the location of the pipeline easement was where the original pipeline was installed. The trial court dismissed the Schergers’ claims. The court of appeals reversed holding: (1) that the original 1932 pipeline defined the boundaries of the easement and (2) the replacement pipeline must be within those original boundaries. Northern appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Page, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 174,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.