IMG_8930HARRISON COUNTY – After several weeks of nervous waiting in the Teter vs. Sunoco case where Carol Teter and her attorney, Nicholas Andersen were waiting on a decision by Common Pleas Judge, T. Shawn Hervey regarding Teter’s appeal to place a “stay” on Sunoco from commencing construction work across their property, the decision was another setback for Teter and partner, John Lovejoy.

The case, for which the decision went against Teter last month concerning her property off of Ohio 151, was over eminent domain and Sunoco attempting to lay pipeline across their property. Hervey ruled in favor of Sunoco last month stating in part that, “…propane and butane meet the statutory definition of petroleum under Ohio law,” where that was only one of the issues and concern was voiced by Andersen that now anything could be included in the definition of what is in petroleum, and felt that was dangerous.

Hervey’s recent decision handed down this week rejecting Teter’s appeal for a stay on Sunoco’s construction, was based on the following: “The court finds no evidence of a public interest served by granting the stay,” the judgment entry reads. It continued by stating: “After an equitable balance of the four factors, the Court finds no just reason for stay of execution of judgment and denies the same.”

Those four factors were listed as: 1) “A substantial likelihood that it will prevail on the merits of its appeal; 2) It will suffer irreparable harm if the stay is not granted; 3) There is a lack of substantial harm to the opposing party should a stay be granted; 4) The public interest will be served by granting the stay.”

Hervey listed detailed reasons under each of the four stipulations. Under the first stipulation, Hervey stated that he was not swayed by their argument enough for a “winning argument on appeal.”

The second one states that “irreparable harm is not imminent to defendant” and it continues by stating that any harm would not “curtail defendant’s enjoyment of their property.”

The third issue determined that substantial harm would be incurred by the plaintiff (Sunoco) considering timelines with “users and builders” if the stay ruled in Teter’s favor. The final issue is where Hervey decided that there was “no evidence of a public interest served by granting the stay.”

After losing their court decision last month, Teter and Lovejoy felt hopeful they would be granted the stay. But the decision on their appeal is now immediately being appealed once again. The appeal on the original decision is expected sometime early this summer.

The appeal on the negative decision for a stay was also filed this week and Lovejoy stated via email that it was basically the same as the original appeal for a stay “with a few additional lines added.”

Lovejoy felt confident that this appeal for a stay would be granted stating that the Appeals Court in Youngstown agreed to hear the case on an expedited basis. In the meantime, Teter and Lovejoy received a boost from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation since their court loss, as they have filed an amicus brief (friend of the court) on behalf of Teter.