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Teton Coop Canal Co. v. Teton Coop Reservoir Co.

Teton Coop Canal Co. v. Teton Coop Reservoir Co., 2018 MT 20 (Feb. 13, 2018) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the water court erred by (1) apportioning volume limits for Teton Canal’s 1890 water right claims and the junior 1936 Eureka Reservoir claims; (2) removing Eureka Reservoir as storage under the 1890 Notice but allowing Glendora Reservoir’s storage capacity to be added; (3) permitting Teton Canal to store its 1890 direct flow water in the Eureka Reservoir during irrigation season; and (4) allowing Teton Canal a year-round period of diversion for the 1890 Notice.

Short Answer: (1) No, (2) no, (3) no, and (4) no.


Facts: In Teton Canal I, the Court held that (1) the 1890 Notice was specific to the Glendora Canal and Glendora Reservoir; (2) Teton Canal could not claim the Eureka Reservoir under the 1890 Notice; and (3) the Eureka Reservoir could not relate back to the 1921 Notice.…

City of Helena v. Community of Rimini

City of Helena v. Community of Rimini, 2017 MT 145 (June 13, 2017) (Wheat, J.; Rice, J., dissenting) (4-3, aff’d & rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether § 85-2-227(4), MCA, is impermissibly retroactive as applied to Helena’s water rights claim; (2) whether the Water Court erred in reinstating 7.35 cfs of Helena’s Tenmile Creek water rights; (3) whether the Water Court erred in finding Helena had abandoned .6 cfs of its Tenmile Creek water rights; and (4) whether the Water Court erred in imposing specific place of use restrictions on Helena’s decreed Tenmile Creek water rights.

Short Answer: (1) No; (2) no; (3) yes; and (4)

Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded

Facts: This case is on appeal for the second time, and involves two water rights claims filed by the city of Helena for waters of Tenmile Creek.…

Kelly v. Teton Prairie, LLC

Kelly v. Teton Prairie, LLC, 2016 MT 179 (July 26, 2016) (Wheat, J.; Rice, J., concurring) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court correctly applied the prior appropriation doctrine; (2) whether the district court correctly found that Teton Prairie failed to establish the elements of the futile call doctrine; and (3) whether the district court erred in issuing an injunction.

Short Answer: (1) Yes; (2) yes; and (3) no.


Facts: Each of the Kelly appellees (“Kelly”) owns property in Choteau County, where they have farms and ranches. Teton Prairie owns property in Teton County, upstream of Kelly on the Teton River. Kelly’s water rights are primarily for stockwater, with some for domestic use. Teton Prairie’s water rights are for irrigation, and are junior to all of Kelly’s rights.…