Monday, March 29, 2010

Rio Grande Silvery Minnow v. Bureau of Reclamation

Mar 6: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, Case No. 05-2293. The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) challenges a final judgment entered on its cross-claims brought pursuant to the Federal Quiet Title Act of 1972 (QTA), 28 U.S.C. § 2409a, in favor of the Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, et al (collectively federal appellees).
    Specifically, following a bench trial, the district court held that MRGCD's claims were time-barred. The court ruled in the alternative that, even if its claims were not time-barred, MRGCD was judicially estopped from claiming that it owned the properties in question, and, furthermore, the Federal appellees were entitled to judgment on the merits. As to the limitations issue, the Appeals Court agreed with the district court that MRGCD's quiet-title action is time-barred. The Appeals Court said, however, "that the district court did not have jurisdiction to decide the merits of that action. Therefore, we remand to the district court with instructions to vacate the portion of its judgment that resolves the merits of MRGCD's quiet-title action and to enter judgment on its jurisdictional dismissal of the claim."
    Access the complete opinion (click here).