The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court's ruling against the Mohave Valley Irrigation & Drainage District in a water rights battle against the Interior Department. At dispute was an allegedly ambiguous contract regarding the western Arizona district's Colorado River water rights.
According to a 1968 contract between the two agencies, the district is entitled to 41,000 acre-feet of water annually from the Colorado River system. But the Interior Department reduced the district's water allotment, saying that landowners within the district who hold present perfected rights (PPRs) were also receiving Colorado River water. Rights to water from the Colorado River system that have existed since June 25, 1929 are considered PPRs by the Supreme Court. Arizona v. California, 376 U.S. 340 (1964).
The water district contends the 1968 contract is ambiguous because it does not address PPRs. However, Interior argued that PPRs were recognized by the Supreme Court in Arizona v California, before the district and Interior entered into the contract. And Interior maintained it can fulfill its contractual obligation if it calculates the district's allotment by subtracting water provided to holders of PPRs located in the District from the amount stated in the contract.
In mid-April, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the contract between the district and Interior was not ambiguous because the contract defines "water delivered" as "all water pumped by the District or by any other person, firm, or Corporation, from wells located within or outside the District for use within the District or from wells located within the District for use outside the District." The contract does not make an exception for water delivered to PPR holders, the court held.
The case is Mohave Valley Irrigation & Drainage District v. Gale A. Norton, No. 99-16927, 2001 Daily Journal D.A.R. 3578.
An advertising company should have challenged Caltrans' mid-1970s cancellation of billboard permits many years ago, the First District Court of Appeal ruled in March. The court rejected the company's attempt to revive the permits on grounds that the permits were not properly canceled in the first place.
The California Supreme Court has dropped its review of a business tax case from San Diego after deciding the court should not hear the case after all. The action means that the Fourth District Court of Appeal decision that exempted a tax on residential rentals from Proposition 218 remains in effect. However, the opinion will go unpublished.
The City of West Hollywood had the authority under the Vehicle Code to turn a through road into a cul-de-sac to accommodate a development, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled. The court rejected project opponents' contention that the city had to prove that the street was no longer needed for vehicular traffic.
A Santa Monica law limiting occupancy of second units to relatives and domestic employees has been thrown out by the Second District Court of Appeal. The unanimous three-judge panel ruled that the city's second-unit ordinance violated privacy and equal protection rights.
A billboard company jumped the gun when it claimed two of its proposed signs were "deemed approved" because of delays by the City of Los Angeles, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled. The unanimous three-judge panel upheld a trial court's dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Eller Media Company.
A city resolution restricting parking on certain residential streets to residents with parking permits was categorically exempt from environmental review, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled.
An exemption to the California Environmental Quality Act for construction of a sea wall below two houses has been upheld by the Fourth District Court of Appeal. The court ruled that the potential collapse of a bluff could threaten public safety and qualified for an emergency exemption under CEQA.
In a case that touched on redevelopment law, the California Environmental Quality Act and general plan compatibility, an appellate court has upheld San Francisco's handling of a project on the site of the historic Emporium department store.
The City of Los Angeles was correct to treat as one project a builder's various proposals for 21 new houses on existing parcels on two streets, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled. The court rejected the builder's contention that the city could not demand an environmental impact report on the 21 houses, five of which have already been built.
Opponents of a proposed recycling center were too late in filing a lawsuit regarding a city's failure to prepare an environmental study on the city's sale of land to the recycling company, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled.