SAVE THE DRAGON
LITIGATION UPDATE January 2022
NRWMAC vs Monterey County
2021 represented NRWMAC’s third year of litigation against Monterey County and the agencies which manage, or mismanage, Lake Nacimiento. In 2022, the effort continues, and NRWMAC will not give up or give in until our constituents’ recreation rights are honored and the water in the lake is properly managed.
During 2021, NRWMAC’s court action involved pleading, discovery, and pretrial motions:
- In February, Monterey County’s (Defendant) demurrer objection was heard and sustained in part and overruled in part.
- On March 29, 2021, NRWMAC filed a Second Amended Complaint and added new parties to the inverse condemnation cause of action as well as addressed the issues raised in Defendants previous demurrer as to the remaining causes of action.
- Defendants demurred to the Second Amended Complaint. The Court sustained the demurrer for the Inverse Condemnation cause of action without leave to amend but overruled the remainder of the demurrer.
- Defendants filed an answer in October, after which discovery commenced with both sides propounding Requests for Production, Form Interrogatories and Special Interrogatories.
- In November, Defendants moved the court to refer the cause of action for permit violation to the California State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board), and to stay the remaining causes of action pending resolution of the permit violation by the Water Board. (The violation-of-permit cause of action alleges that the Monterey County Water Resource Agency, which operates Lake Nacimiento Reservoir under a permit issued by the Water Board, exceeded its permitted release of water by as much as 9,000-acre feet in 2019.)
- In December, after hearing arguments from both sides, the Court ordered the violation of permit be brought before the Water Board and concurrently ordered the remainder of the case to be stayed – temporarily suspending it while the Water Board decides whether Defendants violated their permit. The court will lift the stay and the litigation will resume once the Water Board rules on its portion of the case.
It is impossible to predict 1) how the Water Board will rule on the cause of action referred to it (for Monterey County’s violation-of-permit); or 2) how long the Water Board will take to decide the issue. Relying on the experience of its attorneys, NRWMAC believes that it may take as long as 18 to 24 months for the Water Board to reach a decision. During that time, NRWMAC will remain receptive to any overtures the Defendants may make in terms of resuming settlement talks between the two sides, providing they proceed in good faith.
While the referral to the state water board will possibly add between 18 to 24 months to the court process, NRWMAC believes that this is a VERY good thing, and places the determination of the violation-of-permit in front of the proper people to handle it – The Water Board!
We have weathered the storm in court so far, we’ve made good headway in pursuing our case, and we believe we are at the tipping point of success. Through your continued donations and help we can make this success a reality.
We Need Your Support
Shortly, we will be back in court fighting the major battle with Monterey. It’s very costly to fund our hardworking legal team. Now more than ever, we need you to support NRWMAC’s efforts on your behalf. We urgently need an influx of dollar donations at this time.
The links below will take you directly to GoFundMe or PayPal Private Donation sites to conveniently make a donation. If you prefer to write a check, please make it out to NRWMAC and mail to: NRWMAC, PO BOX 398, Paso Robles, CA 93447
2A NRWMAC representative attends all the Monterey County Reservoir Operations Committee meetings (“RESOPS”) to ensure that its constituents’ voices are heard. (NRWMAC has a seat on the RESOPS board as a result of a prior lawsuit against Monterey County.) Members of the NRWMAC Board of Directors conduct outreach meetings and have participated in media interviews in order to apprise the public of developments concerning the lake. And it has filed lawsuits and complaints with state regulatory agencies to protect the lake and its constituents.]
Thank you for your continued support.
– Links to more documents and the NRWMAC Legal Actions can be found here : NRWMAC Knowledge Base