Jennifer Meeker Comments on Win in Fees Fight

11.25.2020
Law360

Jennifer Meeker offered comment on behalf of a Nossaman client, the Imperial Irrigation District ("IID"), to Law360 for its story, “Calif. Judge DQ'd From Atty Fees Fight In Water Plan Dispute” (subscription required). The article focuses on a writ of mandate granted by Justices Judith McConnell, Patricia D. Benke and Patricia Guerrero for the Fourth Appellate District, Division One, commanding a superior court judge, the Honorable L. Brooks Anderholt, to grant IID’s peremptory challenge and transfer the case to another judge. The decision follows IID’s resounding win in the Court of Appeal that reversed almost all of the superior court’s prior rulings in a years-long court battle between IID and farmer Michael Abatti over a water distribution plan and water rights in the Imperial Valley.

After an initial victory for Abatti that invalidated the water distribution plan and awarded him fees—which was presided over by Judge Anderholt—the judgment and attorney’s fees order was then reversed and the case remanded by California's Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One for a new decision on fees and costs.

Commenting on the order, Jennifer said, "It is imperative that a future decision on whether [the district] owes Mr. Abatti any attorney's fees after [the district's] resounding success in the Court of Appeal be made by a judge free from any bias. We are very pleased that the Court of Appeal agreed and issued the writ of mandate commanding Judge Anderholt to recuse himself from this case.”

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