West v. Charter Communications, Inc., No. 18-1906 (7th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
West claimed that the addition of a fiber optic communications wire to a utilities transmission tower on his property exceeded the scope of the easement that authorized the tower. West sued both Charter Communications, whose subsidiary installed the wire, and Louisville Gas and Electric Company, which owns the tower and is a party to the easement. The district court dismissed the claims against Charter, concluding that the addition of Charter’s communications wire to the tower is compatible with the scope and purpose of the easement and consequently does not violate the terms of the easement agreement nor does it amount to an unconstitutional taking of West’s property. Wishing to appeal that ruling, West entered into an agreement providing that he would voluntarily dismiss his claims against Louisville while reserving the right to revive them if the Seventh Circuit reversed the dismissal of the claims against Charter. The Seventh Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The conditional dismissal of West’s claims against Louisville rendered the judgment non-final. West could have asked the court to enter a final judgment as to the claims against Charter under Rule 54(b) or could have sought permission to pursue an interlocutory appeal under 28 U.S.C. 1292(b).