Jennifer Meeker’s Victory for Imperial Irrigation District Highlighted
Jennifer Meeker’s representation of the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) was highlighted by the Calexico Chronicle in the article “Federal Court Hears I.V. Farmers’ Claims to Colorado River Water.” The article highlights Jennifer’s successful effort to have a lawsuit against IID dismissed at the pleadings stage in the United States District Court, Southern District of California.
The lawsuit was brought by farmer Michael Abatti “and 23 of his relatives and friends” alleging that IID’s new Equitable Distribution Plan violated their rights to water, deprived them of due process and caused them economic harm. Jennifer, on behalf of IID and its Board of Directors, asked the Judge to dismiss the case on the grounds that Mr. Abatti’s allegations had already been decided in 2020 when the California Fourth Court of Appeals had ruled that Mr. Abatti and other Imperial Valley farmers don’t own the water, but instead have a right to continued water service. Jennifer successfully represented IID in that matter as well.
The article notes that the judge in the matter (Judge Michael Anello) issued a tentative ruling dismissing the lawsuit (the dismissal became final on September 13) and noted that he did so based on “res judicata, a legal term meaning that the matter had already been judged.”
It further noted that this action meant the judge “agreed with the IID." "But his ruling being tentative, with oral arguments, Mr. Abatti’s attorney had one chance to change the judge’s mind.” The article closed by lauding Jennifer for adeptly “parrying [opposing counsel’s] assertions one by one” and predicted that the case would be dismissed. A week later, Judge Anello adopted his tentative ruling and dismissed the case.