Litigation update: case against a decision made by the State Engineer

As many of you know, FOA and Salt Lake City (SLC) are challenging (since February 2014) whether it was proper and legal for the Utah State Engineer to allow a transfer of a point of diversion from Sandy up-canyon to Albion Basin. This decision would set a devastating precedent that could result in large scale development by linking dry lots in the canyons with water rights downstream. FOA has alleged that the State Engineer erred in granting the change of diversion points of the purported water right, and was improperly influenced in his decision.

On September 6, 2016 we received the final order, signed by Judge Stone dismissing the First and Third Causes of Action in our lawsuit against the State Engineer.  This is a significant development for two reasons.  First, SLC, was able to purchase the water interest from Kevin Tolton and Judith Maack.  Both Tolton and Maack were named defendants in our case against the State Engineer.  Once Salt Lake City obtained these water rights they requested the State Engineer to cancel them.  As a result, there are now two remaining defendants in the lawsuit, Mark Haik and the Pearl Raty Trust.  SLC, Sandy City, and FOA have filed for summary disposition of the remaining Second Cause of Action.  It is being briefed and will be scheduled for a hearing by Judge Stone sometime this Fall.

Also of note, Albion Basin landowner Evan Johnson recently purchased the Tolton and Maack lots to add to his acreage and has filed a new water claim in Albion Basin.  SLC filed a protest and FOA will be filing a protest as well should anything unforeseen happen.

While not over, there is light at the end of the tunnel on this particular dispute.  We believe we have a strong case for a summary judgment motion on Count II and appreciate your support in helping us get this far. Unfortunately, given Haik’s proclivity to protract by appeal there will undoubtedly be an appeal.