Tuesday, July 23, 2013

U.S. v. Truckee-Carson Irrigation District

Jul 22: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 12-15474, 12-15476, 12-15595, & 12-15599. Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. The Appeals Court explains that in this case it deals with "what essentially amounts to a footnote to the long-running litigation over how much water from the Truckee and Carson Rivers should be diverted to irrigation and how much should flow into Pyramid Lake for the benefit of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe." The Federal government and the Tribe are now requesting the Appeals Court to reconsider one aspect of its most recent opinion.
    The Appeals Court indicates that, "The district court had rejected claims of excess diversions in the other years between 1973 and 1988. In our concluding paragraph, we remanded for recalculation of the
effect of gauge error in the four specific years in which the district court had found excess diversions. . . On remand, the government asked the court to recalculate gauge error for those and additional years, but the district court limited its recalculation to the four years specified in the conclusion of the Bell opinion. It now appears that our understanding of the scope of the gauge error claim was mistaken and that the government was claiming the gauge error calculation had affected the flow measurement in other years as well."
    The Appeals Court indicates, "We do not ordinarily disturb a judgment of the court after the mandate has issued. See Calderon v. Thompson, 523 U.S. 538, 550 (1998). . . The government has candidly acknowledged that it should have moved for reconsideration of our prior opinion, but that it did not recognize the mistake until the matter was before the district court on remand. . .
    "We cannot fault the district court in any way, for it correctly followed our 2010 mandate. It was the mandate that was in error, and that only we can correct. . . We accordingly withdraw our earlier mandate and clarify it by changing the final paragraph of our previous opinion . . Our previous mandate in Bell is withdrawn and amended as provided in this opinion. The judgment of the district court on remand is vacated. The matter is remanded for proceedings in accordance with the Bell mandate as amended."
    Access the complete opinion (click here). [#Water, #CA9]

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