National Audubon Society v. Superior Court
Supreme Court of California
658 P.2d 709 (1983)
Mono Lake is a saltwater lake that supports a large population of shrimp and has two islands that serve as resting and nesting areas for several bird species. The lake is fed by snowmelt from the Sierra Nevada via five streams. In 1940, the Department of Water and Power of the City of Los Angeles (DWP) was granted a permit to divert freshwater from four of these streams. As a result, the water level of the lake dropped, a third of its surface area dried completely, and one of the islands became a peninsula. This gave land predators access to the birds’ nests, forcing the nesting birds to abandon the island. The National Audubon Society (Audubon) (plaintiff) sued to enjoin DWP from further diverting the flow into Mono Lake, arguing that the lake, island, and shores were protected by a public trust. The Superior Court of Alpine County granted summary judgment for DWP, holding that the public trust doctrine provided no independent basis for enjoining the diversion of water. Audubon petitioned the California Supreme Court for a writ of mandate.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Broussard, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 173,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.