Justia Government Contracts Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Antitrust
Salt Lake City Corp. v. Big Ditch Irrigation Co.
In a 1905 water exchange agreement, Big Ditch Irrigation Company conveyed its Big Cottonwood Creek water right to the Salt Lake City Corporation in exchange for the City's commitment to supply Big Ditch with a specified quantity of irrigation-quality water from City sources. Concerned that Big Ditch was infringing upon the City's water rights, the City initiated this case against Big Ditch and four Big Ditch shareholders in district court. The City sought declaratory judgment on several issues. Big Ditch and the shareholders counterclaimed. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the City on most major issues. On appeal, the Supreme Court held that the district court properly dismissed the defendants' counterclaims and correctly concluded that the City holds title to the water rights conveyed in the agreement. The Court held, however, that the district court erred in (1) determining that Big Ditch did not have a right to file change applications; (2) determining that the parties had modified the agreement or, alternatively, that Big Ditch was estopped from enforcing its right to the amount of water specified in the agreement; and (3) refusing to dismiss the City's claims against the shareholders.View "Salt Lake City Corp. v. Big Ditch Irrigation Co." on Justia Law