HAMPTON – The Iowa Court of Appeals Thursday upheld a Franklin County District Court order to dismiss a suit filed against Franklin County Wind LLC by Hawkeye Land Co.
FCW, which was in the process of building a 60-turbine wind farm in Franklin County, buried conduits containing electrical wires and fiber optic cables across railroad right-of-way property in four locations.
In May 2012 Hawkeye, a corporation that owns the right to grant easements over certain railroad rights-of-way in Franklin County, sought to prevent FCW from construction at the crossing sites. The district court granted a temporary injunction.
FCW moved to dissolve the injunction, and the district court agreed to do so, ruling that Hawkeye did not set forth adequate evidence to show that FCW’s actions would result in damage to the railroad, destruction of property or injury to persons.
FCW then filed a motion to dismiss, saying the district court lacked authority to hear the case until Hawkeye exhausted its administrative remedies. Hawkeye resisted the motion, arguing FCW waived any objection by its actions in seeking to dissolve the temporary injunction.
The district court agreed with FCW that it lacked authority to hear the case. Hawkeye appealed the district court’s decision.
The Iowa Court of Appeals said because Hawkeye did not allow the Iowa Utilities Board the first opportunity to resolve its dispute with FCW, the district court was without authority to hear its complaint.
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