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New Judge Requested in Dispute Over Railroad Access at Hennepin

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A judge will continue to allow Hennepin Industrial Development LLC the right to access, use and repair the railroad tracks owned by anyone with a claim to the land below the crossties until a reassigned judge can schedule the matter for a hearing at the earliest possible date.

Circuit Judge Thomas Keith on Thursday in Putnam County ordered that his previous order issued on July 25 will remain in effect until the reassigned judge can schedule the matter for a hearing.

The order, set to expire Aug. 4 (today), went into effect after Hennepin Industrial complained that someone from the neighboring Marquis ethanol plant property blocked the tracks by piling sand and gravel on them. Some track was cut, Hennepin Industrial Development said in its initial complaint against Marquis Energy.

On Wednesday, Marquis Inc. filed a motion for a substitution of judge. In the motion, it states that under Illinois law, substituting a judge in any civil action is allowed when a party timely exercises its rights. It also states each party is entitled to one substitute of a judge as a right.

The matter has been referred to Chief Judge Paul P. Gilfillan for reassignment.

Lawyers from Marquis Energy had argued that their client did not own the land where there’s a dispute over access to the tracks that lead to the Norfolk Southern line.

The blockage obstructs Hennepin Industrial’s ability to move large quantities of scrap metal, the complaint states. Hennepin Industrial intends to load approximately 100 rail cars per month over the next two to three months to ship out for recyclable metal.

Two additional defendants were added to the case. Now the three defendants are Marquis Inc., Marquis Energy and Marquis Management Services Inc.

During Thursday’s hearing, it was said that Marquis Inc. is the owner of the land being discussed.

Michael J. Scotti III is the attorney for Hennepin Industrial Development.

John Gekas is the attorney for Marquis Inc.

Hennepin Industrial Developent says it has priority rights under a railroad easement dating back to previous owners that allow it to traverse the adjoining piece of land northeast of the mill site.

Source: News Tribune