In the aftermath of the January 2008 flood after the Truckee-Carson Canal break, many lawsuits have been filed.Â These suits have been filed in both state and federal courts in Nevada and present many questions as to which Court holds jurisdiction to hear these issues.Â Proper jurisdiction depends on the parties to the lawsuit as well as the subject matter of the action.
Recently, an action for an injunction to stop certain amounts of water from flowing down the Truckee-Carson Canal was filed for fear that the higher water levels and amounts of water would cause additional damages to them and potentially cause another ditch break.Â While this action was limited to the parties involved and served in the pending lawsuit, this caused an uproar by Newlands Project water users.Â Many users have contemplated intervening in this action as the reduced amount of water going over to the project has and will directly affect project water deliveries to the users on the Canal itself, and downstream in the project.
The action for an injunction has questionable subject matter jurisdiction because it was not filed with the Decree Court that administers the water deliveries affected. How can a Court that does not have subject matter jurisdiction of the waters affected make any affective order?
The Alpine and Orr Ditch were Decreed in Federal Court and that court retains jurisdiction to administer the Decree that defines exactly how much water each user is entitled to receive and where that water is to be delivered.Â Thus, presumably an action to limit the amount of water delivered down the Canal should be brought in the Decree Court.Â The problem is that those seeking the injunction may not have standing in the Decree Court because they have no water rights issued by the Decree Court.
An interesting question still to be decided.