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Eldorado Coop Canal Co. v. Hoge

Eldorado Coop Canal Co. v. Hoge, 2016 MT 145 (June 14, 2016) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in denying Eldorado’s dissatisfied water user complaint.

Short Answer: No.


Facts: Basin 41O, the Teton River Basin, is currently being adjudicated by the Water Court, which has issued a temporary preliminary decree. Eldorado is a water supply entity that distributes water to shareholders.  Eldorado owns four water rights decreed in Perry, which have historically been administered by a water commissioner appointed by the district court.…

Curry v. Pondera County Canal & Reservoir Co.

Curry v. Pondera County Canal & Reservoir Co., 2016 MT 77 (March 29, 2016) (Wheat, J.; Baker, J. concurring; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (6-1, aff’d & rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the water court erred in holding that the water rights of an entity developed under the Carey Land Act for the purpose of sale or rental are not limited by the stockholders’ actual historic water use; (2) whether the water court erred in granting Pondera a “service area” rather than a place of use based on historically irrigated land; (3) whether the water court erred by ruling Pondera’s storage rights were beneficially used on the Birch Creek Flats before 1973; (4) whether the water court improperly increased the flow rate for the Gray right and improperly reversed the water master’s dismissal of a claim it found was duplicative; and (5) whether the water court’s tabulation for the Curry claim and the Pondera claim without volume measurements was an abuse of discretion.…

Fellows v. Saylor

Fellows v. Saylor, 2016 MT 45 (March 1, 2016) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the water right claims in controversy were properly determined under Fellows I, 2012 MT 169; and (2) whether the district court erred in granting Fellows’ motion for substitution.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, and (2) the appeal of this issue is untimely.


Facts: Fellows owns several water rights in Spring Creek near Choteau. His rights were decreed in Sands Cattle & Land Co. v. Jackson (Mont. 10th Jud. Dist. Ct. 1892). Fellows claims that Spring Creek and the Teton Rover are hydrologically connected, and that maintaining the flow in Spring Creek requires maintaining water in the Springhill Reach, a subsurface aquifer from the Teton River.…