U.S. Water News Online
MCALESTER, Okla. -- A federal appeals court has ruled that
a water supply company did not encroach upon the territory of a rural
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver decided that
Rural Water District No. 11 in Pittsburg County lost its statutory
protection when it granted the Indian Nation Water Resources Corp.
the exclusive right to serve commercial customers in the rural water
Rural Water District No. 11 had been formed as a nonprofit rural
water district to provide water to residential and commercial
customers in a defined service area in Oklahoma, including rural
portions of the Kiowa area.
In the lawsuit, the water district argued that it had protection
under federal law from encroachment on its service by a municipal
corporation, other public body, or private franchise.
When KPP Supply was formed to provide cooling water to the
electric power generating plant within the water district's service
area, the rural water district sought a declaratory judgment in
district court that it had sole right to furnish commercial water in
the service area.
KPP Supply, Kiowa Power Partners, Juniper Water Co. and three
others were named as defendants in the lawsuit, which KPP
successfully had moved to federal court.
The federal court ultimately issued a summary judgment against
Rural Water District No. 11.
The water district also argued that the federal court erred by not
allowing it sufficient time to respond to KPP Supply's motion for a
summary judgment before granting the judgment.
The appeals court noted that the federal court had converted an
earlier motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment and
provided Rural Water District No. 11 a "reasonable opportunity to
present all materials made pertinent to such a motion."
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