United States District Court, D. Arizona
Honorable John J. Tuchi United States District Judge
issue are the following Motions: (1) Defendants and
Counterclaimants Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement
and Power District (“the District”) and Salt
River Valley Water Users' Association's (“the
for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 312, SRP MSJ), to which
Plaintiff and Counterdefendant Roosevelt Irrigation District
(“RID”) filed a Response (Doc. 324, RID Resp.),
and SRP filed a Reply (Doc. 334, SRP Reply); and (2)
RID's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 314, RID
MSJ), to which SRP filed a Response (Doc. 323, SRP Resp.),
and RID filed a Reply (Doc. 332, RID Reply). The Court
additionally will resolve SRP's Motion to Exclude the
Testimony of Scott Snyder (Doc. 268).
the parties requested oral argument on the Motions for
Summary Judgment, the Court finds the matters appropriate for
resolution without such argument. See LRCiv 7.2(f).
For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant in part and
deny in part each Motion.
the Court is tasked with determining the rights and
obligations of RID and SRP under the parties' 1921
Contract, as amended in 1927 and 1950 (collectively, the
“Contract”), and as ratified by Congress. The
parties each previously moved for partial summary judgment on
portions of RID's Complaint and SRP's Counterclaim.
(See Docs. 108, 170.) On September 30, 2017, the
Court issued a ruling on those Motions, denying SRP's
Motion for Summary Judgment and granting in part RID's
Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 293, Sept. 30, 2017
Order.) In that Order, the Court granted RID summary judgment
on Count I of SRP's Counterclaim, determining that the
Contracts, as a matter of law, are not contracts entered into
pursuant to the Warren Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 523-25.
(Sept. 30, 2017 Order at 14-19.)
time, the Court detailed the history of the Salt River
Project, the contracts between the Association and the United
States, and those circumstances that led the Association to
enter into its original 1920 Agreement with Carrick and
Mangham (“C&M”)-RID's predecessor in
interest. (Sept. 30, 2017 Order at 4-6.) The Court further
discussed at length the terms of the 1921 Contract, the 1927
Amendments, the 1950 Amendments, and the passage of the Salt
River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Water Rights Settlement
Act. (Sept. 30, 2017 Order at 6-8.) The Court finds no
further occasion to recount the facts here, and will discuss
only additional facts as necessary.
the pendency of the parties' earlier Motions, each party
requested leave of the Court to file an additional motion for
summary judgment, (Docs. 269, 273), and the Court granted
those requests, (Doc. 311). Now, RID moves for partial
summary judgment on its Complaint, in addition to Counts III,
IV, V, and VI of SRP's Counterclaim. Similarly, SRP moves
for partial summary judgment on RID's Complaint, in
addition to Counts IV and VI of its Counterclaim.
Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary
judgment is appropriate when: (1) the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact; and (2) after
viewing the evidence most favorably to the non-moving party,
the movant is entitled to prevail as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322-23 (1986); Eisenberg v. Ins. Co. of N. Am.,
815 F.2d 1285, 1288-89 (9th Cir. 1987). Under this standard,
“[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the
outcome of the suit under governing [substantive] law will
properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). A “genuine issue” of material fact arises
only “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury
could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must
regard as true the non-moving party's evidence, if it is
supported by affidavits or other evidentiary material.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Eisenberg, 815
F.2d at 1289. However, the non-moving party may not merely
rest on its pleadings; it must produce some significant
probative evidence tending to contradict the moving
party's allegations, thereby creating a material question
of fact. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256-57 (holding that
the plaintiff must present affirmative evidence in order to
defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment);
First Nat'l Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Serv. Co.,
391 U.S. 253, 289 (1968).
summary judgment motion cannot be defeated by relying solely
on conclusory allegations unsupported by factual data.”
Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989).
“Summary judgment must be entered ‘against a
party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's case,
and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial.'” United States v. Carter, 906 F.2d
1375, 1376 (9th Cir. 1990) (quoting Celotex, 477
U.S. at 322).
SRP and RID move for partial summary judgment as to RID's
Complaint and as to Counts IV and VI of SRP's
Counterclaim. Additionally, RID moves for partial summary
judgment as to Count III of SRP's Counterclaim and for
summary judgment as to Count V. The Court will address the
Motions as they pertain to RID's Complaint first, before
moving to those arguments pertaining to SRP's
Complaint, RID requests a declaratory judgment “that
pursuant to A.R.S. § 45-494, RID's right to pump
groundwater from its East Side Wells and to transport that
water for use within the District is not terminated on or
after October 26, 2020.” (Compl. at 14.) Both RID and
SRP now move for summary judgment on this aspect of RID's
Complaint. (SRP MSJ at 3-15; RID MSJ at 1-3.)
Groundwater Management Act of 1980 (“the Act”),
as codified at Arizona State Revised Statute Section 45-401
et seq., provides in relevant part that:
in an initial active management area established pursuant to
§ 45-411 . . . [a]n irrigation district existing and
engaged in the withdrawal, delivery and distribution of
ground water as of January 1, 1977 shall have the right,
subject to § 45-496 and § 45-493, subsection D: . .
. [i]f legally withdrawing and transporting groundwater from
outside its service area for use within its service area as
of January 1, 1977, to continue to withdraw and transport the
amount of groundwater legally being withdrawn as of January
A.R.S. § 45-494(1)(b).
Court has previously interpreted this particular statutory
provision of the Act, presenting an issue of first impression
for this Court. Under Arizona law, a court's
“primary goal in interpreting statutes is to effectuate
the legislature's intent.” Rasor v. Nw. Hosp.,
LLC, 403 P.3d 572, 576 (Ariz. 2017). “If the
statute is subject to only one reasonable interpretation,
” a court should apply that interpretation
“without further analysis.” Glazer v.
State, 347 P.3d 1141, 1143 (Ariz. 2015). Courts do not
read statutes in isolation, but rather analyze each portion
of a statute “in context [to determine] their
meaning.” Stambaugh v. Killian, 398 P.3d 574,
575 (Ariz. 2017). Thus, a court should “look to the
statute as a whole and . . . may also consider statutes that
are in pari materia-of the same subject or general
purpose-for guidance and to give effect to all of the
provisions involved.” Id.
argument, in both its Motion and its Response to SRP's
own Motion, can be distilled simply to one point:
“right means right.” (See RID MSJ at
2-3; RID Resp. at 7- 10.) RID argues that because Section
45-494(1)(b) uses the term “right, ” the Act
bestows upon RID a perpetual and inalienable entitlement to
withdraw water, without regard to any other limitation or
obligation that RID may have bargained for prior to its
enactment., RID would have the Court ...