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Round Hill Gen. Imp. Dist. v. Newman

Supreme Court of Nevada
Dec 18, 1981
97 Nev. 601 (Nev. 1981)

Summary

holding that a writ of mandamus is generally available to compel the performance of an act that the law enjoins as a duty, or to control a manifest abuse of discretion

Summary of this case from Barnum v. Psychological Review Panel

Opinion

No. 12449

December 18, 1981

General improvement district and village general improvement district sought writs of mandamus to compel the State Engineer to act on their applications for permits to appropriate water from lake. The Supreme Court, ZENOFF, Sr. J., held that general improvement district and village general improvement district were not entitled to writs of mandamus in Supreme Court to compel State Engineer to act on their applications for permits to appropriate water from lake where State Engineer had discretion to withhold action on their applications because of pending court action over water rights to river which emptied into lake and where factual issues were presented.

Petitions denied.

Rahbeck, McMorris, Susich Kolvet, Stateline, for Petitioner Round Hill General Improvement District.

Lester H. Berkson, Zephyr Cove, for Intervening Petitioner Incline Village General Improvement District.

Richard H. Bryan, Attorney General, and George Campbell, Deputy Attorney General, Carson City, for Respondents.

Woodburn, Wedge, Blakey Jeppson, Reno, for Sierra Pacific Power Company, as Amicus Curiae.

Johnson, Belaustegui Robison, Reno; and Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann Girard, Sacramento, California, for Truckee-Carson Irrigation District, as Amicus Curiae.


OPINION


Petitioner Round Hill General Improvement District (Round Hill), and intervening petitioner Incline Village General Improvement District (IVGID), seek writs of mandamus to compel the State Engineer to act on their applications for permits to appropriate water from Lake Tahoe. NRS 533.325 et seq. The State Engineer has declined to act on the applications on the ground that a pending court action in the area is not final.

NRS 533.370(3) provides:

The state engineer shall either approve or reject each application within 1 year from the final date for filing protest; but:

. . .

(b) In areas where . . . court actions are pending the state engineer may withhold action until such time as it is determined there is unappropriated water or the court action becomes final.

The court action to which the State Engineer refers is litigation between the United States, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Indians, and the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District, over water rights to the Truckee River. It is not subject to dispute that this action is not final within the meaning of the statute, as a result of the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in United States v. Truckee-Carson, etc., 649 F.2d 1286 (9th Cir. 1981). Nor is it reasonably subject to dispute, see NRS 47.130, that the federal litigation in question involves the same area as Lake Tahoe: the Truckee River rises out of Lake Tahoe. See United States v. Nevada, 412 U.S. 534 (1973). Petitioners Round Hill and IVGID were both named defendants in the federal action. Under the plain meaning of NRS 533.370(3)(b), the State Engineer therefore has discretion to withhold action on petitioners' applications.

A writ of mandamus will issue when the respondent has a clear, present legal duty to act. NRS 34.160; Gill v. St. ex rel. Booher, 75 Nev. 448, 345 P.2d 421 (1959). Mandamus will not lie to control discretionary action, Gragson v. Toco, 90 Nev. 131, 520 P.2d 616 (1974), unless discretion is manifestly abused or is exercised arbitrarily or capriciously. Henderson v. Henderson Auto, 77 Nev. 118, 359 P.2d 743 (1961). Petitioners contend that the State Engineer has manifestly abused the discretion granted by NRS 533.370(3)(b), because he has granted permits for water appropriation from Lake Tahoe pursuant to applications which were filed after petitioners' applications. The State Engineer concedes that some applications junior to petitioners' have been acted upon. There is no similar concession regarding how much water has been appropriated under such subsequent permits, or why the State Engineer has chosen to act upon them.

E.g., Sheriff v. Provenza, 97 Nev. 346, 630 P.2d 265 (1981); Buchanan v. Buchanan, 90 Nev. 209, 523 P.2d 1 (1974). When disputed factual issues are critical in demonstrating the propriety of a writ of mandamus, the writ should be sought in the district court, with appeal from an adverse judgment to this court. NRS 34.160; 34.220; 34.310. The discretion of this court to entertain a petition for a writ of mandamus when important public interests are involved, State ex rel. List v. County of Douglas, 90 Nev. 272, 524 P.2d 1271 (1974), will not be exercised unless legal, rather than factual, issues are presented.

Accordingly, these petitions for writs of mandamus are denied.

GUNDERSON, C.J., and SPRINGER and MOWBRAY, JJ., and GABRIELLI, D.J., concur.

The Governor commissioned the Honorable John E. Gabrielli, Judge of the Second Judicial District Court, to sit in this case in place of THE HONORABLE NOEL E. MANOUKIAN, Justice, who voluntarily disqualified himself. Nev. Const. art. 6, § 4.


Summaries of

Round Hill Gen. Imp. Dist. v. Newman

Supreme Court of Nevada
Dec 18, 1981
97 Nev. 601 (Nev. 1981)

holding that a writ of mandamus is generally available to compel the performance of an act that the law enjoins as a duty, or to control a manifest abuse of discretion

Summary of this case from Barnum v. Psychological Review Panel

concluding that "an appellate court is not an appropriate forum in which to resolve disputed questions of fact"

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concluding that "an appellate court is not an appropriate forum in which to resolve disputed questions of fact"

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recognizing that "an appellate court is not an appropriate forum in which to resolve disputed questions of fact" and determining that when there are factual issues presented, this court will not exercise its discretion to entertain a petition for extraordinary relief even though "important public interests are involved"

Summary of this case from Brock v. State

recognizing that "an appellate court is not an appropriate forum in which to resolve disputed questions of fact" and determining that when there are factual issues presented, this court will not exercise its discretion to entertain a petition for extraordinary relief even though "important public interests are involved"

Summary of this case from Coenen v. State

recognizing that a writ of mandamus is available to compel the performance of an act which the law requires as a duty resulting from an office, trust or station, or to control an arbitrary or capricious exercise of discretion

Summary of this case from Panicaro v. Second Judicial Dist. Court

recognizing that "an appellate court is not an appropriate forum in which to resolve disputed questions of fact" and determining that when there are factual issues presented, this court will not exercise its discretion to entertain a petition for extraordinary relief even though "important public interests are involved"

Summary of this case from Paige v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court

recognizing an exception to the general rule that mandamus may not be used to control a discretionary action for when "discretion is manifestly abused or is exercised arbitrarily or capriciously"

Summary of this case from Kerkorian v. Sisolak

recognizing that the respondent must have "a clear, present legal duty to act"

Summary of this case from Kerkorian v. Sisolak

recognizing that mandamus relief may be warranted where district court’s ruling was a manifest abuse or arbitrary or capricious exercise of discretion

Summary of this case from Black v. First Judicial Dist. Court

recognizing that a writ of mandamus is available to control an arbitrary or capricious exercise of discretion

Summary of this case from Goodlett v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court

recognizing that a writ of mandamus is available to control an arbitrary or capricious exercise of discretion

Summary of this case from Felder v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court

recognizing that a writ of mandamus is available to control an arbitrary or capricious exercise of discretion

Summary of this case from Middleton v. Second Judicial Dist. Court

recognizing that a writ of mandamus is available to control an arbitrary or capricious exercise of discretion

Summary of this case from Reed v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court

recognizing that a petition for mandamus will not be granted to control a district court's exercise of discretion, unless the court has manifestly abused its discretion or exercised it arbitrarily or capriciously

Summary of this case from McGrath v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court of State

explaining that "an appellate court is not an appropriate forum in which to resolve disputed questions of fact"

Summary of this case from Raggio v. Second Judicial Dist. Court (In re Raggio Family Tr.)

explaining that this court’s discretion "to entertain a petition for a writ of mandamus when important public interests are involved will not be exercised unless legal, rather than factual, issues are presented"

Summary of this case from State v. Second Judicial Dist. Court

explaining that " writ of mandamus will issue when the respondent has a clear, present legal duty to act" or when "discretion is manifestly abused or is exercised arbitrarily or capriciously"

Summary of this case from Leibowitz v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court

providing that mandamus is available to remedy a manifest abuse or arbitrary and capricious exercise of discretion

Summary of this case from Johnson v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court

explaining that mandamus may issue when respondent has "clear, present legal duty to act" or has manifestly abused its discretion or exercised its discretion arbitrarily or capriciously

Summary of this case from Cavill v. Fifth Judicial Dist. Court of State

explaining when mandamus relief is available and that "an appellate court is not an appropriate forum in which to resolve disputed questions of fact"

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explaining when mandamus relief is warranted

Summary of this case from Gutierrez-Piceno v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court of State

explaining when mandamus will issue

Summary of this case from Brown v. Second Judicial Dist. Court of State

explaining when writ of mandamus will issue

Summary of this case from Moreno v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court of State

explaining that appellate court is not the appropriate forum in which to address factual issues critical to a writ of mandamus

Summary of this case from Arenas v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court of State
Case details for

Round Hill Gen. Imp. Dist. v. Newman

Case Details

Full title:ROUND HILL GENERAL IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT, A QUASI-MUNICIPAL CORPORATION…

Court:Supreme Court of Nevada

Date published: Dec 18, 1981

Citations

97 Nev. 601 (Nev. 1981)
637 P.2d 534

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