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Kansas v. Nebraska

United States Supreme Court
135 S. Ct. 1042 (2015)


Facts

Kansas (plaintiff) and Nebraska (defendant) signed a contract agreeing to allocate water resources from the Republican River Basin. The water was more valuable on Nebraska farmland than it was on Kansas farmland. Nebraska over-consumed water from the basin by 17 percent. Kansas brought suit, seeking monetary damages and an injunction. A special master found that, although Nebraska did not set out with a goal of over-consumption, the over-consumption was knowing and resulted from the state’s failure to implement a system to stay under its consumption limit. Nebraska had more than three years of fair warning prior to the limit taking effect. The special master recommended ruling in favor of Kansas and awarding $3.7 million for its losses and $1.8 million in disgorgement of Nebraska’s profits that resulted from its overuse of the water. The special master found that $1.8 million was only a part of the profits Nebraska received due to its over-consumption. Both parties filed exceptions to the special master’s decision in the United States Supreme Court. Nebraska agreed to compensate Kansas for its losses but challenged the recommended disgorgement.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kagan, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Thomas, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Scalia, J.)

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