In re State Engineer Ruling No. 5823

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Justia Opinion Summary

This case concerned State Engineer Ruling 5823, which allocated groundwater rights in the Dayton Valley Hydrographic Basin, which lay wholly within Lyon County. Appellants Churchill County and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe protested the applications, maintaining that the Basin was severely over-appropriated. The State Engineer rejected both Appellant's protests and granted all pending applications. Appellants filed a petition for judicial review pursuant to Nev. Rev. Stat. 533.540(1), which affords judicial review in the nature of an appeal to any person feeling aggrieved by an order or decision of the State Water Engineer affecting the person's interests. The appeal "must be initiated in the proper court of the county in which the matters affected or a portion thereof are situated." The district court dismissed the petition because the Petitioners filed their appeals in Churchill County, where their rights or interests allegedly would be affected, as opposed to Lyon County, where the applicants' groundwater appropriations lay. By then, section 533.450(1)'s thirty-day limit on seeking judicial review had passed. The Supreme Court vacated the jurisdictional dismissal, holding that the district court read the statute too restrictively. Remanded.