Malaga County Water District v. State Water Resources Control BoardAnnotate this Case
This is one of several cases involving disputes between Malaga and the agencies involved in issuing and enforcing the permits necessary for Malaga to operate its waste treatment facility. In this case, the Water Quality Board imposed penalties totaling $78,000 on Malaga for violating the water discharge requirements of its permit. Malaga contends that these penalties were inappropriately imposed for several reasons.
The Court of Appeal agreed with Malaga that laches is a proper defense in administrative sanctions proceedings, and that the Water Quality Board utilized a void underground regulation when it issued the "Hearing Procedure for Administrative Civil Liability Complaint R5-2013-0527" (Hearing Procedure). The court explained that the first issue may only affect some of the penalties imposed by the Water Quality Board while the second may require a full rehearing. Therefore, the court reversed the trial court's order and remanded the matter to the trial court to determine whether a writ should issue based on one or both of Malaga's right to present a laches defense and the Water Quality Board's use of a void underground regulation via the Hearing Procedure. The court affirmed in all other respects.