Frenchman Cambridge Irrigation Dist. v. Department Natural Resources

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Frenchman Cambridge Irrigation Dist. v. Department Natural Resources

Case Number
Call Date
September 1, 2017
Case Time
9:00 AM
Court Number
Case Location
Case Summary

S-16-1121 Frenchmen Cambridge Irrigation District, by its Board of Directors, a Nebraska Political Subdivision (Appellant) v. Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, Gorden W. Fassett, in his official capacity as Director, Middle Republican Natural Resources District, Upper Republican Natural Resources District, Lower Republican Natural Resources District, and Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General of the State of Nebraska (Appellees/Cross-Appellants)

Furnas County, Judge James E. Doyle IV

Attorneys: Justin D. Lavene, Joshua Dethlefsen, Kathleen A. Miller (Attorney General’s Office)--- Donald G. Blankenau, Thomas R. Wilmoth (Blankenau Wilmoth Jarecke LLP for Upper Republican NRD) ---Daniel L. Lindstrom (Jacobsen Orr Linsdstrom & Holbrook PCLLO for Middle Republican NRD) --- Blake E. Johnson (Bruning Law Group for Lower Republican NRD) --- David Domina, Christian T. Williams (DominaLaw Group pcllo for Appellant)

Civil: Administrative Review under the Administrative Procedures Act, declaratory judgment for Integrated Management Plans; Nebraska Ground Water Management and Protection Act; Neb. Rev. Stat.§ 46-701 et seq.

Proceedings below: FCID filed a petition for review under the Administrative Procedures Act challenging the adopted Integrated Management Plans for the collective NRDs. The case was transferred from Lancaster County to Furnas County without objection. The district court granted the Appellees’ motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, with prejudice and without leave to amend. Appellants filed a Petition to Bypass the Court of Appeals which was granted by the Nebraska Supreme Court.

Issues: 1. The district court correctly found it had subject matter jurisdiction but the basis upon which it found jurisdiction was not completely correct. 2. The district court erred in dismissing FCID’s Petition for Review on the grounds that it failed to state a claim and could not do so as required by law under Neb. Ct. R. Pldg. § 6-1112(b)(6) or other provisions of law. 3. The district court erred when it incorrectly used an analysis under § 6-1112(b)(6) and judicial decisions related thereto to test the sufficiency of FCID’s APA Petition for Review. 4. The district court erred when it failed to recognize that the altered groundwater pumping standards of the challenged administrative orders (IMPs) are invalid on constitutional and statutory grounds.

Cross-Appeal: The district court erred in (1) holding that FCID had standing; (2) failing to dismiss the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction after finding FCID had not presented a “contested case” under the APA; (3) categorizing the IMPs as “rules and regulations” as defined by the APA and failing to dismiss the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction; (4) reviewing the IMPs because it lacked subject matter jurisdiction. 

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