Legal Analysis Reports Following Groundwater Pumping Decision
Daily Journal and Law360 Go In-Depth on BB&K Antelope Valley Groundwater Adjudication Success
Following an unprecedented water rights opinion in a 20-year-long groundwater rights case, two prestigious legal publications interviewed Best Best & Krieger LLP Managing Partner Eric Garner and Partner Jeffrey Dunn to discuss the decision.
In Law360’s “How They Won It” column, published March 26, Eric and Jeff said the stakes were high in the Antelope Valley Groundwater Adjudication and finding a comprehensive solution was difficult.
The Fifth District Court of Appeal, for the first time, addressed the issue of limiting the right to pump groundwater by a landowner who has never pumped from a particular basin. Pumping and non-pumping landowners, in certain situations, can be treated differently, the court said in a decision that was certified for publication this week and that upheld a lower court ruling.
Eric and Jeff represent County of Los Angeles Waterworks District No. 40 in this complex case that began in 1999 and involves nearly 20,000 landowners. The goal is to manage the basin’s water supply for long-term sustainability to ensure the surrounding community and local farmers have long-term access to water and limit the amount of land subsidence in the area.
“It’s not an overstatement to say that the whole economy in that part of Los Angeles County was at issue,” Jeff told Law360. “And yet there was no one [willing to address it] until our client stepped up and said, ‘We’re going to take a leadership role here. We’re going to protect the basin for everyone.’”
“What the appellate court unanimously upheld is that, in certain conditions, and in this situation, where you have brazen overdraft, and this historic pumping, the court has the authority to condition the future pumping of those who have never pumped,” Eric told the Daily Journal in an analysis of the decision published April 9.
- “How BB&K Successfully Steered a 20-Year Water Rights Case,” Law360 (subscription required)
- “Novel Water Rights Opinion Says Use It or Lose It,” Daily Journal (subscription required)
- “BB&K Secures Key Groundwater Pumping Rights Ruling," Client Success
- “Appellate Decisions Limiting Groundwater Pumping in an Overdrafted Basin," Legal Alert