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Winner man reaches out-of-court deal with TransCanada

WINNER -- A Winner man has reached a confidential out-of-court settlement with a Canadian company to install a portion of the Keystone XL pipeline across his land.

John Harter has been fighting TransCanada, a Canadian company that also has operations in the United States, since May 2011.

A judge ruled in favor of TransCanada in July to use eminent domain on Harter's land.

The term "eminent domain" describes the power to take private property for public use, in exchange for just compensation to landowners. "Most cases like this are settled out of court. It just seemed like the best thing for us to do," said Matt McGovern, Harter's attorney.

The case would have gone to a jury trial Thursday in Winner.

McGovern said Harter had been fighting TransCanada because he didn't feel a private company has the right to use eminent domain. He argued that right should be reserved for a public entity, like a county or city.

McGovern would not disclose the amount Harter received as compensation or whether the amount was fair, citing a confidentially agreement signed as part of the settlement.

The pipeline will cross approximately 10 acres of Harter's land, McGovern said.