BISMARCK - A lawsuit filed by almost two dozen Morton County landowners who alleged Dakota Access made “numerous misrepresentations” when negotiating easements along the oil pipeline’s route was dismissed by a federal judge this week.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland's order, filed Tuesday, Oct. 10, said the plaintiffs weren't specific in their claims of fraud, such as when the fraudulent statements were made and the names of people who made them.

"The lack of specificity makes responding to the allegation nothing more than a guessing game for the defendants and does not allow them to answer in an intelligent fashion," Hovland wrote.

The lawsuit was filed against Dakota Access in early January. Contract Land Staff, a firm hired by Dakota Access to negotiate easements, was added as a defendant a few weeks later.

The $3.8 billion pipeline running from western North Dakota to Illinois began service this summer.