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San Luis Unit Food Producers v. United States

February 3, 2010

SAN LUIS UNIT FOOD PRODUCERS; EL DORADO FARMS; LAGUNA EXCELSIOR FARMS LLC; JLK; RYAN FAMILY FARMS; BRAD GLEASON; ROSS ALLEN; FARMS LP; MARLU FARMS; SIMCOT CALIFORNIA PISTACHIO LLC; DOUBLE TURK STATION LLC; C.S. STEFANOPOULOS; ELENA STEFANOPOULOS; D.D. B. FARMS; BUSTER ALLEN, INC.; STEFANOPOULOS; PAGONA STEFANOPOULOS; UNIVERSAL LAND CO.; CORT BLACKBURN; LAURA BLACKBURN; MC FARMS LLC; MARTY ACQUISTAPACE; CURTIS STUBBLEFIELD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Oliver W. Wanger United States District Judge

SCHEDULING CONFERENCE ORDER Cross-Dispositive Motions Filing Deadline: 2/22/10 Oppositions Filing Deadline: 3/22/10 Replies Filing Deadline: 4/5/10 Cross-Dispositive Motions Hearing Date: 4/26/10 11:00 Ctrm. 3 (extended time reserved)

I. Date of Scheduling Conference. February 3, 2010.

III. Summary of Pleadings

1. This action arises out of the San Luis Unit (the "Unit") of the Central Valley Project ("CVP"). The Plaintiffs are 22 landowners and water users in the Unit and an unincorporated association; the Defendants are the United States, the Department of the Interior ("Interior"), and the Bureau of Reclamation (the "Bureau"). Plaintiffs assert in their complaint 15 claims for relief under the Administrative Procedure Act. Each such claim alleges that Defendants have a mandatory statutory duty under the Reclamation Act of 1902 (the "1902 Act"), as amended, the CVP Authorization Act of 1937 (the "1937 Act"), as amended, or the San Luis Unit Authorization Act of 1960 (the "1960 Act"). Each claim charges that Defendants are violating such duty. Each claim seeks declaratory relief that Defendants possess such a duty and are violating it. It also seeks mandatory injunctive relief. Five of the claims for relief allege mandatory statutory duties to operate the CVP and Unit irrigation facilities; four claims allege duties to exercise the project water rights; six claims allege duties to sell the water to recoup project costs.

2. Defendants deny that they owe Plaintiffs, or have breached, any of the duties Plaintiffs allege are mandatory duties imposed on Defendants. To the extent that Plaintiffs' allegations are construed to state more than legal conclusions, Defendants have either admitted, denied, or pled insufficient knowledge as to each such allegation. Defendants deny that Plaintiffs are entitled to declaratory relief or injunctive relief. Defendants plead six defenses in response to some or all of Plaintiffs' claims: lack of jurisdiction; sovereign immunity; failure to state a claim for relief; statute of limitations; laches; failure to exhaust administration remedies.

IV. Orders Re Amendments To Pleadings

1. The parties do not presently intend to amend the pleadings.

V. Factual Summary

A. Admitted Facts Which Are Deemed Proven Without Further Proceedings

1. Plaintiffs are farming entities that claim rights under the Reclamation laws of the United States.

2. Defendants, United States of America and its Department of the Interior and Bureau of Reclamation, are claimed to have statutory duties regarding the delivery and administration of water claimed by Plaintiffs.

B. Contested Facts

1. Defendants contest that they owe Plaintiffs, or have violated, the duties that Plaintiffs allege. At this point, Defendants do not know what the factual predicates of Plaintiffs' claims are.

2. Plaintiffs contest the factual predicates of Defendants' defenses, including laches and failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

3. All remaining legal issues are contested.

VI. Legal Issues

A. Uncontested

1. The issue of jurisdiction is disputed, although if jurisdiction exists, it is invoked under the Reclamation laws of the United States and the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 702 et seq.

2. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391.

3. There are no supplemental claims under State law.

4. Plaintiffs seek dispositive relief and ...


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