July 18, 2019

Archives for February 26, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Unenforceable 1909 Water Decree Fails to Set Forth Indicia of Enforceability, Including Appropriation Date, Priority Number, and Quantification Information

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Dill v. Yamasaki Ring, LLC on Monday, February 25, 2019.

Water Law—Adjudicated Water Rights—Indicia of Enforceability. 

The supreme court considered whether a 1909 water decree adjudicates a water right in certain springs. Because the decree failed to set forth required indicia of enforceability—including an appropriation date, a priority number, and quantification information—with respect to the springs, the court answered the question in the negative. A decree must measure, limit, and define both the nature and extent of a water right. The priority, the location of diversion at the supply’s source, and the amount of water for application to a beneficial use are all essential elements of the appropriative water right. Of these, priority is the most important stick in the water rights bundle because priority is a function of appropriation and adjudication; indeed, the purpose of adjudication is to fix the priority of a water right. 

As the water court concluded, the 1909 decree clearly and unambiguously sets forth an unenforceable entitlement to receive and conduct water from the springs. Without indicia of enforceability, and in particular a priority number, the 1909 decree cannot be deemed to adjudicate a water right in the springs that can be enforced and administered. Therefore, the court affirmed the water court’s judgment.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 2/25/2019

On Monday, February 25, 2019, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and one unpublished opinion.

Milner v. Mares

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, some published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.