AREAS OF PRACTICE Water Law by sparkunder22


									                          AREAS OF PRACTICE: Water Law
                               Smiland & Chester represents businesses, property owners, water users and entrepreneurs in
                          private and public legal matters, with a particular emphasis on disputes relating to water rights,
                          environmental affairs and land use matters. The firm’s practice includes counseling clients in local,
LAW OFFICES OF            state and federal government relations, including state and federal regulatory and legislative
SMILAND                   arenas. Its water practice is extensive and its transactions and cases have been substantial in scope.
                               The firm’s lawyers have represented landowners in acquisitions and dispositions of more than
CHESTER                   150,000 irrigated acres in California’s San Joaquin Valley. In every transaction, water rights were cen-
                          tral elements of the negotiations. The firm’s lawyers conceived unique solutions to water disputes
                          and to business opportunities, among them being one which resulted in a favorable multi-million-
                          dollar settlement, another which elicited a $50,000,000 conditional offer of capitalization and
                          another which generated $1,000,000 for a three month surface storage right.
                               The firm served successfully as co-counsel for a water district in a major one-person-one-vote
                          case and in a case relating to the applicability of reclamation law’s 160-acre limit to the U.S. Army
                          COE water projects, respectively, Salyer Land Co. v. TLBWSD, 410 U.S. 719 (1973) and U. S. v. Tulare
                          Lake Land Co., 340 F. Supp 1185 (1972), reversed 535 F.2d 1903 (1976), vacated as moot 459 U. S.
                          1095 (1983). Members of the firm also served as appellate counsel to another water district in a
                          state court action regarding the district’s water supply.
                               The firm handled important litigation against the federal government and Westlands Water
                          District, the nations largest federal irrigation water contractor. At issue were water quantity rights,
                          water rate rights and drainage service rights. Two threshold aspects of the case resulted in favorable
                          published decisions: Barcellos and Wolfsen, Inc. v. Westlands Water District, 491 F. Supp 263 (1980)
                          and Westlands Water District v. U. S., 700 F.2d 561 (1983). A 56-page stipulated judgment governing
                          the rights and duties of the parties terminated the case and the firm’s clients received in excess of
                          $40,000,000. In the late 1980s, the firm’s lawyers enabled a unique land ownership structure that
                          allowed a client sell 23,000 acres of land for more than $20,000,000, and after the sale, to manage
                          the property and generate substantial fees that otherwise the client would not have been able to
                          do. The transaction survived numerous politically motivated attacks, including two General
                          Accounting Office reviews.
                               Over approximately three years, the firm’s lawyers successfully defended misdirected congres-
                          sional assaults on a client’s ownership of a large landholding. The firm also enjoyed successes in
                          Sumner Peck et al. v. Bureau of Reclamation 823 F. Supp 715 (E.D. Cal 1993), Firebaugh Canal Co. v.
                          United States 203 F.3d 568 (9th Cir. 2000), and U. S. v. Westlands Water District, Memorandum
                          Decision, CV-F-89-172-OWW (E.D. Cal, 2001) each case being related to water rights affecting
                          approximately 40,000 acres of land. In Sumner Peck, the court held that the U.S. Government is sub-
                          ject to money judgment for breach of contract in the same manner as a private individual.
                          Firebaugh Canal affirmed the substantive rulings of Sumner Peck, holding that the government was
                          required to construct water facilities it had contracted to build and that by not doing so, the gov-
                          ernment had acted unlawfully. U.S. v. Westlands vacated the courts own, earlier ruling and found the
                          firm’s clients indeed enjoyed an enforceable right to water at a specified price for a specified period.
                               The firm lawyers have advised clients about water marketing strategies, groundwater rights,
                          water transfer legislation and laws governing general and special water-related districts. They have
                          also counseled clients regarding interstate water transfers, groundwater litigation and prescriptive
                          rights. One member has served on three water district boards. Several members of the firm have
                          participated extensively in administrative and legislative advocacy programs and succeeded in
                          advancing and defeating initiatives and legislation and, in one case, obtaining a contested eight-fig-
                          ure disaster relief payment from the federal government.
                               Smiland & Chester is best known for providing efficient, creative and aggressive solutions to
                          clients’ problems. In regard to its water practice, the firm tends to be much more conflict free than
                          other water law firms in California.

                          Alliance of Small Emitters/Metals Industry, Allied Local and Regional Manufacturers, Boston Ranch Company, Cadillac
                          Fairview Corporation, Casmalia De Minimis Group, Dunn-Edwards Corporation, Environmental Legislative &
                          Regulatory Advocacy Program of the California Paint & Coatings Industry Alliance ("ELRAP"), Harbor Gateway
                          Commercial Property Owners Association ("HGCPOA"), Henry Company, International Rectifier, J.G. Boswell Company,
                          Nissan North America, Inc., Pacifica Capital Group LLC, Pilibos Bros., Prentiss Copley Investment Group, Prentiss
                          Properties Limited, SBC Communications, Inc., Shultz Steel Company, Smiland Paint Company, State Chemical
                          Manufacturing Company, Sumner Peck Ranch, Inc., SunPacific Corporation, Triangle Coatings, and U.S. Trust Company
                          of California
601 West Fifth Street
7th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071     For more information e-mail us at:
Tel: 213-891-1010
Fax: 213-891-1414

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