BB&K obtains water rights worth $3.5 million for TOAV (November 23, 2010)

Town of Apple Valley v. High Desert Community Foundation, et al.

BB&K attorneys obtained water rights worth $3.5 million for the town of Apple Valley while settling a lawsuit, allowing the town to irrigate its only golf course and preventing that water from being sold to a third party. In 2008, the town opened escrow and took over daily operations of the financially struggling Apple Valley Country Club, hoping to turn the 160-acre private club into a municipal golf course. Escrow remained open until the rights to the groundwater were resolved. Without the water, the cost of operating the golf course would have been prohibitive.

BB&K attorneys Piero Dallarda and John Brown, who serves as town attorney to Apple Valley, filed a lawsuit in November 2008 to resolve the issue. The High Desert Community Foundation, a nonprofit, claimed it was granted a deed to the water rights from a company seeking a tax deduction. That same company maintained the reversionary rights to the land, meaning it could take possession of the country club if the town decided to use the land for something other than a golf course. The foundation also sought to sell the water to third parties.

Dallarda argued that the country club owned the right because it actively participated in an adjudication of the Mojave Basin, as did the predecessors to the foundation, and had been using the water for the past 60 years. During settlement talks, all parties agreed to the town offering $750,000 for both the water and reversionary rights, and the insurance companies for the county club and the foundation kicking in another $435,000.

Source: BB&K