Yuba County Water Agency prevails in lawsuit
A Sacramento Superior Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the Yuba County Water Agency by a water supplier, finding no fault with how the YCWA has carried out a contract.
In the ruling issued last week, the court found no justification for Western Water Co. claiming the agency improperly took more water than was stipulated in a 1991 agreement from the goldfields on the Yuba River.
Western Water also claimed in its suit, filed in 2009, that YCWA didn't pay the company a conveyance fee for using canals and ponds in the goldfields to supply water to south county farmers.
"In essence, plaintiff alleges that the agency had superior knowledge regarding the amount of water that was moving through the disturbed gravel level of the Goldfields from the Yuba River and into the water delivery system, that plaintiff lacked such knowledge, and that the agency was required to disclose it to plaintiff," Judge Raymond Cadei wrote in his statement of decision. "The evidence does not support this theory of recovery."
In the suit, Western Water sought damages of up to $100 million, or other remedies, but the ruling awards them nothing.
"The judge said there's no validity to these claims," said YCWA General Manager Curt Aikens. "You can't stop a frivolous lawsuit, but you can beat it."
Aikens said the ruling also gives his agency latitude to file a motion to recover attorney fees incurred during the case, which YCWA plans to do.
The agreement is still in effect, he said. A message left at Western Water's office on Hammonton-Smartsville Road was not returned Tuesday.
Peter Prow, a San Francisco attorney who had represented Western Water, said he couldn't comment on the case because it was still active litigation.
Western Water has appealed the judge's ruling to the 3rd District Court of Appeals.