TOAV asks judge to rule on water rights before trial (August 6, 2010)

APPLE VALLEY • The town is hoping to bring a pricey, 21-month lawsuit over water rights tied to Apple Valley Country Club to a rapid close, asking a judge to weigh in two months before the case goes to trial in December.

Apple Valley’s attorneys filed a motion for summary adjudication with the court on July 26, submitting a stack of evidence they hope will sway the judge against High Desert Community Foundation’s deed to the water rights.

I see no reason why it shouldn’t be granted, Apple Valley Mayor Peter Allan, an attorney himself, said of the motion.

Jeff Caufield, attorney for HDCF, responded via e-mail: We have received the motion and have reviewed it and do not believe it will be granted.

In fact, Caufield said the foundation plans to file one or more motions of its own for summary adjudication in the next couple of weeks.

A day after the town’s Nov. 18, 2008, announcement that it intended to buy the struggling country club, Apple Valley filed suit against HDCF over the water rights. HDCF then filed a counter-suit, claiming its right to pump the 709 acre-feet of water.

The two parties met in mediation a year ago, Allan said, with the town making a significant offer — more than $100,000, he would only say — and the foundation countering with a request for more than $1 million. The water rights are valued at $3.8 million.

So far, Victorville Superior Court Judge Gilbert Ochoa has denied HDCF’s request to transfer the case to the Riverside court, denied Apple Valley’s request to throw the whole case out and then denied the foundation’s request to stop the town from drilling a new well on the golf course.

Source: Daily Press