Oroville Dam CasesAnnotate this Case
This case arose from the California Department of Water Resources’s (DWR) release of water from Lake Oroville down the Oroville Dam’s gated flood control spillway and emergency spillway in February 2017. The Butte County District Attorney filed suit under Fish and Game Code section 5650.11 on behalf of the State seeking civil penalties and injunctive relief against DWR. The statute authorized civil penalties against any “person” who deposited harmful materials into the waters of the state. The statute also authorized injunctive relief. The trial court granted summary judgment for DWR, finding DWR was not a “person” under section 5650.1. On appeal, the State contended the trial court erred in granting DWR’s motion because DWR was a “person” under section 5650.1. Alternatively, the State argued that, even if DWR was not a “person” under this provision, DWR did not negate the State's cause of action with respect to injunctive relief. The Court of Appeal disagreed and affirmed the judgment.