Second Big Springs Irrigation v. Granite Peak Properties
Second Big Springs Irrigation v. Granite Peak Properties, 2023 UT App 22 (Appleby, S.J.)
Second Big Springs Irrigation Company alleged that Granite Peak Properties LC had interfered with its already established water rights in a groundwater basin straddling the Utah-Nevada border. After twenty-five additional defendants joined Granite Peak, Granite Peak claimed that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, because the action was an adjudication of water rights under Utah’s water law statutes, not a claim of interference. The district court ultimately classified the action as a general adjudication of water rights and, at a later point, dismissed the case on the basis that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction under Utah’s water law statutes, suggesting that the parties consolidate their claims with claims already being litigated in the Third District Court. On appeal, the Utah Court of Appeals reversed, holding:
- The district court abused its discretion when it converted the action into a statutory suit. This case involves claims of interreference, which is a tort claim against property rights. As such, it cannot be resolved by a general adjudication of water rights.