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Jacobs v. People.

2020 CO 50. No. 19SA106. Summary Judgment Certification—Summary Judgment Orders—Water Storage—Civil Penalties.

June 8, 2020

In this appeal from a number of water court orders, defendants contended that the water court erred in (1) granting summary judgment for plaintiffs and partial summary judgment for the third-party defendant; (2) imposing civil penalties for defendants’ violations of an administrative order requiring them to cease and desist unlawfully storing state waters in two ponds on their properties; and (3) certifying its summary judgment rulings as final pursuant to CRCP 54(b).

The Supreme Court concluded that the water court properly exercised its discretion in certifying its summary judgment orders pursuant to CRCP 54(b) and thus this appeal was properly before the Court. The Court next concluded that the water court properly granted both plaintiffs’ summary judgment motion and the third-party defendant’s motion for partial summary judgment because the summary judgment record established, as a matter of law, that (1) defendants did not comply with the administrative order requiring them to cease and desist the unlawful storage of water in the ponds on their properties, and (2) the third-party defendant did not breach an agreement between it and defendants that defendants claimed satisfied their obligations under the administrative order. Finally, the Court concluded that the water court properly imposed civil penalties under CRS § 37-92-503(6)(a)(II).

Accordingly, the Court affirmed the water court’s judgment, concluded that both plaintiffs and the third-party defendant are entitled to an award of the reasonable attorney fees that they incurred in this appeal, and remanded this case to the water court to allow that court to determine the amount of fees to be awarded.

Official Colorado Supreme Court proceedings can be found at the Colorado Supreme Court website.

Related Topics

Summary Judgment Certification, Summary Judgment Orders, Water Storage, Civil Penalties

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