City of Carmel v. Martin Marietta Materials, 29A04-0506-CV-358.

Citation849 N.E.2d 1197
Decision Date05 July 2006
Docket NumberNo. 29A04-0506-CV-358.,29A04-0506-CV-358.
PartiesTHE CITY OF CARMEL, Indiana, Appellant-Defendant, v. MARTIN MARIETTA MATERIALS, INC., Appellee-Plaintiff.
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

Alan S. Townsend, Paul D. Vink, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, Indianapolis, IN, Attorneys for Appellant.

Thomas E. Mixdorf, Zeff A. Weiss, Abigail B. Cella, Ice Miller LLP, Indianapolis, IN, H. Wayne Phears, Phears & Moldovan, Norcross, GA, Attorneys for Appellee.

OPINION

ROBB, Judge.

Case Summary

The City of Carmel, Indiana, ("Carmel") appeals the trial court's grant of a preliminary injunction in favor of Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. ("Martin Marietta"), enjoining enforcement of Carmel's Ordinance No. D-1686-04 As Amended: An Ordinance of the Common Council of the City of Carmel, Indiana, to Regulate Mining Operations within the Corporate Boundaries of the City of Carmel ("Amended Ordinance"). Carmel disputes that Martin Marietta established the factors necessary for issuance of a temporary injunction by the trial court. As a matter of first impression, we decide that Carmel's governmental immunity from damages liability results in irreparable harm due to the lack of an adequate legal remedy. Furthermore Carmel may not invoke its general police power to circumvent the planning process as delineated by the legislature. Therefore, we conclude that the trial court did not err in granting the preliminary injunction, and we affirm.

Issue

Carmel raises two issues for review, which we consolidate and restate as whether the trial court properly issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting Carmel from enforcing the Amended Ordinance.

Facts and Procedural History1

For over two decades, Martin Marietta has engaged in mining, processing, and selling sand, gravel, and limestone within Carmel's corporate limits. It is Carmel's sole sand and gravel mining operation. These are conducted at surface level while its limestone operation is conducted on the surface and underground. Martin Marietta's two Carmel facilities are located in the vicinity of 106th Street and Hazel Dell Parkway as well as 96th Street and Hazel Dell Parkway. These include a quarry, an underground mine, and sand and gravel pits. The company has several other facilities within Indiana, and hundreds across the United States.

In the years prior to the pending litigation, Carmel increasingly received complaints about Martin Marietta largely due to an increase in residential properties near Martin Marietta's operations. On July 22, 2003, Carmel enacted an ordinance imposing regulations and reporting requirements on mining activity within the city's corporate limits. Martin Marietta challenged the ordinance in part because the Carmel Plan Commission did not provide recommendations prior to its enactment, as required by state statute. On October 20, 2003, the trial court enjoined enforcement of the ordinance. Carmel did not appeal the injunction, and repealed the original ordinance in February of 2004. Carmel then redrafted the ordinance, eventually enacting the Amended Ordinance on April 18, 2005. As with the original ordinance, the Carmel Plan Commission did not provide recommendations for the Amended Ordinance.

The Amended Ordinance's introductory clauses state:

WHEREAS, mining and the processing of mineral resources should give due regard to (1) the protection of the health, safety and general welfare of the people, (2) the prevention of erosion, stream pollution, water, air and land pollution; and (3) the prevention of negative impact to the City's water supply and other injurious effects to persons, property, wildlife and natural resources; and

WHEREAS, the Common Council of the City of Carmel finds that, for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Carmel, to mitigate the negative impacts of mining and processing of mineral resources on those citizens who reside adjacent to or near such operations, and to maintain an environmentally sound and stable mining and processing industry, it is reasonable and necessary to regulate mining operations as provided in this Ordinance.

Appendix to Brief of Appellant at 76 (emphasis in original). Provisions in the Amended Ordinance regulate many aspects of mining, including water and air quality, lateral support for underground tunnels, stockpiles, slope of excavation, fencing, hours of operation, erosion and dust control, the handling of explosives, and blasting practices. An administrator is given authority to enforce the provisions of the ordinance and to issue or renew mining permits.

After enactment of the Amended Ordinance, Martin Marietta filed an amended complaint seeking a preliminary injunction. The trial court held an expedited hearing, and on May 17, 2005, entered a temporary restraining order preventing enforcement of the Amended Ordinance pending a decision on the preliminary injunction. The trial court subsequently issued its findings of fact and conclusions of law on May 26, 2005, lifting the temporary restraining order and granting Martin Marietta's request for a preliminary injunction against Carmel. Carmel timely appealed the grant of a preliminary injunction, and further proceedings were stayed pending this appeal.

Discussion and Decision
I. Standard of Review

The grant or denial of a preliminary injunction is within the trial court's discretion, and the scope of our review is limited to whether the trial court has clearly abused its discretion. Aberdeen Apartments v. Cary Campbell Realty Alliance, Inc., 820 N.E.2d 158, 163 (Ind.Ct. App.2005), trans. denied. If the trial court's decision is clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances before it, or if the trial court misinterprets the law, an abuse of discretion has occurred. Id. The trial court is required by Indiana Trial Rule 52(A) to make special findings of fact and conclusions of law when determining whether to grant a preliminary injunction. Id. These findings and conclusions are reviewed to ascertain if they support the trial court's judgment, which we will reverse only when clearly erroneous. Id. We will consider the evidence only in the light most favorable to the judgment and construe findings together liberally in favor of the judgment. Id.

II. Preliminary Injunction

Preliminary injunctions are generally used to preserve the status quo as it existed before a controversy, pending a full determination on the merits of the controversy. U.S. Land Servs., Inc. v. U.S. Surveyor, Inc., 826 N.E.2d 49, 67 (Ind.Ct.App. 2005). It is well settled that a trial court's use of discretion when granting a preliminary injunction is measured by several factors, including:

(1) whether the plaintiff's remedies at law are inadequate, thus causing irreparable harm pending the resolution of the substantive action if the injunction does not issue; (2) whether the plaintiff has demonstrated at least a reasonable likelihood of success at trial by establishing a prima facie case; (3) whether the threatened injury to the plaintiff outweighs the threatened harm the grant of the injunction may inflict on the defendant; and (4) whether, by the grant of the preliminary injunction, the public interest would be disserved.

Id. It is the moving party's burden to show entitlement to injunctive relief by establishing each of these factors by a preponderance of the evidence. Id. We note that the "power to issue a preliminary injunction should be used sparingly, and such relief should not be granted except in rare instances where the law and facts are clearly in the moving party's favor." Id. To this end, "[i]f the movant fails to prove even one of these requirements, the trial court's grant of an injunction is an abuse of discretion." Titus v. Rheitone, 758 N.E.2d 85, 91 (Ind.Ct.App.2001), trans. denied. Carmel asserts that Martin Marietta failed to meet its burden on all four required elements.

A. Inadequacy of Remedies at Law and Irreparable Harm

To be adequate, a legal remedy must be "plain and complete and adequate — or, in other words, as practical and efficient to the ends of justice and its prompt administration—as the remedy in equity." McKain v. Rigsby, 250 Ind. 438, 444, 237 N.E.2d 99, 103 (1968). The ability to obtain damages in the form of a money judgment for economic injury generally represents an adequate remedy at law. Indiana Family & Soc. Servs. Admin., Div. of Family and Children, Lake County Office v. Ace Foster Care and Pediatric Home Nursing Agency Corp., 823 N.E.2d 1199, 1204 (Ind.Ct.App.2005). "A party suffering mere economic injury is not entitled to injunctive relief because damages are sufficient to make the party whole." Family & Social Servs. Admin. v. Walgreen Co., 769 N.E.2d 158, 162 (Ind.2002). While this is generally true, where a specific dollar amount for losses cannot be ascertained, therefore making any money damages purely speculative, a preliminary injunction is the most efficient way to lift the burden of harm. Norlund v. Faust, 675 N.E.2d 1142, 1150 (Ind.Ct.App.1997), clarified on denial of reh'g, 678 N.E.2d 421 (Ind.Ct.App.1997), trans. denied.

When issuing the preliminary injunction, the trial court made its determination with an eye toward the specificity and certainty of the potential injury facing Martin Marietta through the costs of compliance, or a failure to fully comply, with the Amended Ordinance's provisions. The trial court performed "this additional analysis because 'a party which suffers economic injury that cannot be remedied by post-trial damages is entitled to injunctive relief.'" App. to Br. of Appellant at 12-13 (quoting Jay County Rural Elec. Membership Corp. v. Wabash Valley Power Assn., Inc., 692 N.E.2d 905, 909 (Ind.Ct.App.1998), trans. denied). The trial court concluded that the immediate expense to Martin Marietta was significant and indefinite, probably exceeding $1 million. The trial court...

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2 cases
  • City of Carmel v. Martin Marietta Materials, 29S04-0611-CV-469.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Indiana
    • April 3, 2008
    ...and subsequently granted Martin Marietta's request for a preliminary injunction to the same effect. City of Carmel v. Martin Marietta Materials, Inc., 849 N.E.2d 1197, 1202 (Ind.Ct.App.2006). The Court of Appeals affirmed. Id. at 1212. Carmel petitioned for, and we granted transfer, 860 N.E......
  • City of Carmel v. Martin Marietta Materials, Inc.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Indiana
    • November 14, 2006
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