San Diego County Water Authority Files Lawsuit Against Metropolitan Water District: Derek Hoffman and Michael Duane Davis Author California Water Law & Policy Article

July 5, 2016

The San Diego County Water Authority filed a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Metropolitan) attempting to invalidate Metropolitan’s water rates and charges for 2017 and 2018. This lawsuit is the Water Authority’s fourth case against Metropolitan in six years. In an article for a recent edition of the California Water Law & Policy Reporter, Derek Hoffman and Michael Duane Davis discuss the background and implications of this lawsuit.

In 2010, the Water Authority filed its first of a series of lawsuits challenging Metropolitan’s water rates and alleging various contract and other violations. The San Francisco Superior Court ruled in favor of the Water Authority in the 2010 case and awarded the Water Authority hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, which remain unpaid as appeals and subsequent lawsuits are pending.

In the article, Hoffman and Davis discuss how these lawsuits highlight a few of the challenges that entities must overcome when establishing water rates and charges according to California’s complex cost-of-service requirements. The body of case law that has developed is dense, confusing and sometimes inconsistent, which makes compliance with these requirements increasingly difficult.