Diamond Bar Cattle Company v. United States

168 F.3d 1209 (1999)

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Diamond Bar Cattle Company v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
168 F.3d 1209 (1999)

Facts

Diamond Bar Cattle Company and Laney Cattle Company (the cattle companies) (defendants) grazed their cattle on 170,000 acres of federal national-forest lands located in New Mexico. For many years, they did so pursuant to a federal grazing permit that needed to be renewed every 10 years. In 1995, however, the cattle companies refused to renew their grazing permits. They claimed that they could continue to graze their cattle on this land without a permit because they possessed state water rights that included grazing rights and those state rights were protected under federal law as “valid existing rights.” The United States Forest Service (Forest Service) (plaintiff) disagreed, and when the cattle companies’ permits expired, the Forest Service sued them for trespass. The district court ruled for the Forest Service, and the cattle companies appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Briscoe, J.)

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