Casitas Municipal Water District v. United States

543 F.3d 1276 (2008)

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Casitas Municipal Water District v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
543 F.3d 1276 (2008)

  • Written by Robert Cane, JD

Facts

The Casitas Municipal Water District (Casitas) (plaintiff) operated the infrastructure to supply water to users in Ventura County, California. Casitas had a contractual right to divert and use a certain amount of water from a nearby river. In 1997, the National Marine Fisheries Service (the service) listed the steelhead trout as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. The United States Bureau of Reclamation received a biological opinion from the service as required by the Endangered Species Act to ensure that the operations of Casitas did not illegally take any trout. The biological opinion indicated that Casitas must construct a fish-ladder facility and divert water from its operations to the fish ladder to avoid taking trout. The Bureau of Reclamation directed Casitas to comply with the biological opinion. Casitas complied under protest and filed suit against the United States (defendant), arguing that the obligation to build a fish ladder and to divert water to it was a compensable taking under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The lower court granted partial summary judgment in favor of the government, finding that the regulatory-takings standard, not the physical-takings standard, applied to the claim by Casitas. Casitas appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Moore, J.)

Dissent (Mayer, J.)

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