UPDATE - November 23, 2021:
- MANDATORY E-FILING took effect on September 20, 2021 – please see the Important Documents page for important information and orders from the Court.
- The Judge set the Phase 1 trial for February 14, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. with a Pretrial Conference to be held on February 2, 2022 in Department No. 010, 312 North Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. The court-ordered Pre-Trial schedule for Phase 1 can be found under Key Dates.
- On July 12, 2021, the City of Ventura, Ventura River Water District, Meiners Oaks Water District, the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation (Taylor Ranch), and Rancho Matilija Mutual Water Company lodged a revised Public Draft of the Proposed Physical Solution to protect the Ventura River Watershed.
- The Court ordered that Code of Civil Procedure section 842 Initial Disclosures for de minimis parties and parties who have stipulated to the proposed physical solution need not serve or work on drafting Initial disclosures until after March 1, 2022, when the Court will reconsider this.
- The Court will hold monthly Status Conferences on the third Monday of each month at 1:30 p.m. Reports, joint and/or unilateral, are to be filed and served five (5) court days in advance of the Status Conference.
- 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.
- The Court has ruled that those who elect to file a stipulation for entry of physical solution, 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 stipulation for entry of physical solution. 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”).