UPDATE - OCTOBER 22, 2020:
- On October 21, 2020, the Court granted the City of Ventura’s request that all Cross-Defendants and those who received a notice packet have an extension until January 29, 2021 to file and serve a response to the Third Amended Cross-Complaint.
- On September 15, 2020, the City of Ventura, Ventura River Water District, Meiners Oaks Water District, the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation (Taylor Ranch), and Rancho Matilija Mutual Water Company released a Proposed Physical Solution to protect the Ventura River Watershed.
- Experts will be available to discuss the Physical Solution and its components every Thursday morning from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for the next six weeks, starting Thursday, September 24th, and ending on Thursday, October 29th. Those who want to participate in this meet and confer process with the experts must sign a confidentiality agreement. Please contact Elizabeth Balloue at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about participating. If you have general questions, please contact Patrick Skahan at email@example.com.
- The Court scheduled the next Status Conference for November 16, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. Los Angeles County Superior Court, Complex Civil Litigation Division, Department No. 010, 312 North Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. For information on making a telephonic appearance, please visit https://courtcall.com/?c=CCHOME, or call (888) 882-6878.
- The Court has approved two Form Answers for use in this case: (1) Court-Approved Form Answer for Named Cross-Defendants who Received Summons, and (2) Court-Approved Form Answer for those who Received Notice of Adjudication. These form answers are located under the Important Documents tab.
- The Court has ruled that those who file a disclaimer of interest, instead of an answer, do not have to file a $435 appearance fee and instead must pay a $20 filing fee. Please contact Cross-Complainant’s Counsel if you are interested in filing a disclaimer of interest in this lawsuit. Contact information is available under the Contact Us tab.
PLEASE READ THE NOTICE CAREFULLY. ANY RIGHTS YOU CLAIM TO PUMP OR STORE GROUNDWATER FROM THE BASINS IDENTIFIED IN THE NOTICE MAY BE AFFECTED BY A LAWSUIT INITIATED BY THE THIRD AMENDED CROSS-COMPLAINT SUMMARIZED BELOW.
What is this lawsuit about?
The Third Amended Cross-Complaint initiating this action for a comprehensive adjudication of the Ventura River Watershed including the Ventura River Watershed Groundwater Basins alleges nine claims for relief: (1) preliminary and permanent injunction reducing Cross-Defendants’ use of surface and/or subsurface water and groundwater affecting the surface and/or subsurface flow of the Ventura River to a level of reasonable and beneficial use under California Constitution Article X, Section 2; (2) preliminary and permanent injunction reducing Cross-Defendants’ use of surface and/or subsurface water and groundwater affecting the surface and/or subsurface flow of the Ventura River to a level of reasonable and beneficial use and a level that protects public trust resources under the public trust doctrine; (3) declaratory relief for pueblo and/or treaty water rights; (4) declaratory relief for prescriptive water rights; (5) declaratory relief for appropriative water rights; (6) comprehensive adjudication and physical solution; (7) declaratory relief for municipal priority; (8) declaratory relief for the human right to water; and (9) declaratory relief regarding the Cross-Complainant’s use of surface and/or subsurface water and groundwater affecting the Ventura River Watershed and declaratory relief that Cross-Defendants’ water uses are not reasonable or beneficial and violate the public trust doctrine. This Third Amended Cross-Complaint includes claims regarding the groundwater uses in the Ventura River Watershed Groundwater Basins. The Third Amended Cross-Complaint also includes claims regarding surface water uses from the Ventura River and its tributaries, which may be governed by future court orders.
How may I participate?
If you claim rights to pump or store groundwater within the basins identified below, either now or in the future, you may become a party to this lawsuit by filing an answer to the lawsuit on or before the deadline specified in the notice. You may file an answer by completing the form answer, filing it with the court indicated in the notice, and sending a copy of the form answer to the Cross-Complainant’s attorney. You may locate the attorney's contact information here.
Failing to participate in this lawsuit could have a significant adverse effect on any right to pump or store groundwater that you may have. You may seek the advice of an attorney in relation to this lawsuit. Such attorney should be consulted promptly. A case management conference (“CMC”) in this groundwater basin adjudication proceeding is currently scheduled to occur on the date specified on the cover page of the notice. If you intend to participate in the groundwater adjudication proceeding to which the notice applies, you are advised to attend the next case management conference in person or have an attorney represent you at the next case management conference.
Participation requires the production of all information regarding your groundwater use. You must provide this information within six months of appearing in the comprehensive adjudication, unless otherwise stipulated by the parties or ordered by the Court pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 842.
Names of Basins
- Upper Ventura River Groundwater Basin (Department of Water Resources’ (“DWR”) Bulletin 118 Groundwater Basin Number 4-3.01);
- Ojai Valley Groundwater Basin (DWR’s Bulletin 118 Groundwater Basin Number 4-2);
- Lower Ventura River Groundwater Basin (DWR’s Bulletin 118 Groundwater Basin Number 4-3.02); and
- Upper Ojai Valley Groundwater Basin (DWR’s Bulletin 118 Groundwater Basin Number 4-1)
(collectively “Ventura River Watershed Groundwater Basins”).