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Klamath Water Users Protective Association v. Patterson

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
204 F.3d 1206 (9th Cir. 1999)


The United States Bureau of Reclamation (Bureau) (defendant) entered into, and renewed in 1956, a contract with the California Oregon Power Company (Copco) (defendant). The contract gave Copco the right to operate the Link River Dam (Dam), which the United States government owned. The Bureau and Copco were the only two parties to the contract. The Klamath Water Users Protective Association, et al. (plaintiffs) were irrigators that used the Dam. In 1997, the Bureau began the process of changing the operating plan for the Dam. The plaintiffs brought suit claiming that they were intended third party beneficiaries of the Bureau-Copco contract. Specifically, the plaintiffs relied on Article 2, which mentioned irrigation requirements of the Dam, and Article 6, which stated that Copco was not to use any water “when it may be needed or required by the United States or any irrigation or drainage district, person, or association obtaining water from the United States for use for . . . irrigation purposes.” Article 15 stated that the contract “binds and inures to the benefit of the parties hereto,” as well as their successors and assigns. The district court granted Copco’s motion for summary judgment. The plaintiffs appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Tashima, J.)

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