Jury selected in stray voltage civil trial

This graphic shows the Northern Natural Gas pipeline in relationship to the Vagts Dairy farm. (From court documents)

A jury of nine people has been selected for the Vagts Dairy stray voltage trial.

Civil trials call eight jurors and one alternative juror.

On Tuesday, eight men and one woman were selected. Four of the jurors are retirees. One is listed as a laborer and another as a farmer. The others work in the medical and transportation fields.

The trial didn’t return to session on Thursday because of the winter storm.

Mark, Joan and Andrew Vagts and Vagts Dairy LLC filed suit in March 2021 in Fayette County District Court against Northern Natural Gas claiming it created a nuisance with its natural gas pipeline that traverses the West Union-area farm.

The Vagts claim stray voltage from anti-corrosion system that sends electricity into the ground to protect the pipeline has injured their herd and caused the dairy to lose about $3 million in profits over five years.

Northern Natural Gas says the stray voltage claims made by the Vagts are based on unsupported theories and its testing detected no safety problems caused by the cathodic protection system mitigating corrosion of the pipeline. The system is required by federal law, it notes.