Eighty Four couple sues Sunoco over damages to land

June 9, 2015

An Eighty Four couple is suing Sunoco Pipeline, Sunoco Logistics and several project managers for fraud, negligence and negligent misrepresentation after their 21-acre property along Lakeview Lane was damaged in the construction of the Mariner East project, which will transport liquid gas products to refineries throughout Pennsylvania.

Bradley and Amy Simon filed the lawsuit Monday in Washington County Court alleging the construction caused soil erosion and mud-laden runoff that polluted a lake on their property, Sunoco lied about having eminent domain authority, and Sunoco failed to inform them two pipelines would be constructed on their property, side by side.

The couple claim they received letters and phone calls beginning in February 2013 from Sunoco Logistics, offering them a one-time payment of $11,871 for an easement and any damage to their property for then-proposed pipelines. The couple refused to grant the easement and were later informed Sunoco would seize the property through eminent domain or take the couple to court, according to court documents.

The couple questioned Sunoco’s authority to take their property until they received a letter in April 2013 that stated Sunoco possessed the eminent domain authority for the pipeline.

“After the receipt of the April 1, 2013, letter and based on the continuing statements by Sunoco Pipeline’s representatives threatening to condemn and seize their property during the period of August to September 2013, (the Simons) came to the conclusion that if they did not settle with Sunoco, in addition to the cost of litigation, Sunoco would take their property … and they would not receive money anywhere near what their property was worth,” attorney Peter Marcoline Jr., who is representing the Simons, said in the suit.

In September 2013, the Simons accepted $89,500 from Sunoco for easement of their property and damages. The couple then learned that Sunoco had not been granted eminent domain authority until July.

Construction began in February 2014 and created soil erosion and muddy runoff, which damaged a 3-arce pond on the Simons’ property and prevented the enjoyment of their property.

The lawsuit claims Sunoco agreed to “return the land to the Simons’ satisfaction” following the completion of the work on their property, however that has not yet occurred. They are seeking damages of more than $50,000 and to have their leases with Sunoco voided.

Marcoline and the Simons did not return calls for comment. A representative from Sunoco also did not return calls for comment.

Francesca Sacco joined the Observer-Reporter as a staff writer in November 2013, and covers the Washington County Courthouse and education. Prior to working with the Observer-Reporter, Francesca was a staff writer with a Gannett paper in Ohio. She graduated from Point Park University with a dual bachelor’s degree in print and broadcast journalism.

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