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Appellate court grants filing of amicus briefs in Abatti v. IID case
The Fourth Appellate District Court of Appeal, in the Michael Abatti, et al. v. Imperial Irrigation District case, has issued an order granting the applications for the filing of several “friend of the court” briefs.
According to the order, any party to the appeal has 20 days to file an answer to the amicus curiae briefs.
Amicus curiae briefs are filed by third parties who have a strong interest in the court’s ruling and offer additional information, expertise or insight into the subject matter. The decision on whether to allow an amicus curiae brief to be considered in the case lies within the discretion of the court.
In its order of October 28, the court received briefs from: the Imperial County Farm Bureau, Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association and Imperial Valley Water (jointly), San Joaquin Tributaries Authority, Association of California Water Agencies, State Water Resources Control Board and the Imperial Valley Coalition for the Fair Sharing of Water.
“The outcome of this case will dictate the future of the Imperial Valley’s water rights and who controls them,” said IID Board President Erik Ortega. “I am pleased to learn of the court’s recent action and it is my hope that very soon, a ruling will be issued.”
In September 2017, IID filed its appeal of the August 2017 decision by an Imperial County Superior Court judge. The decision ruled against the district invalidating IID’s method of apportioning water, known as the Equitable Distribution Plan, based on the conclusion that agricultural landowners owned the water rights held by the district.
That judgment contained several findings, conclusions and rulings of great concern to IID, including a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the water rights held by IID and other legal errors that could jeopardize the Imperial Valley’s historic water rights and restrict the district’s ability to provide reliable water supplies to all of its customers in the future.
Throughout the case, the district has argued that IID “legally acquired and owns the water rights to the Colorado River water that it diverts and delivers to the Imperial Valley,” and that those rights are held by IID “in trust for its uses and purposes” under irrigation district law.
IID was therefore, “well within” its powers when it adopted the EDP to apportion water to all its water users.
More information about the suit can be found at: