160K acres covered in Klamath 'Takings' class
by Holly Dillemuth, Herald and
May 19, 1,151 Notice of Appearance forms covering 3,523
parcels and more than 160,000 acres on Klamath Project land
are now under review by the United States as part of the
class action lawsuit surrounding the “Takings” case.
case stems from the shutoff of irrigation water to Klamath
Project property owners or lessees by the Bureau of
Reclamation in 2001. The trial’s closing arguments adjourned
May 9 – roughly three months following a trial that lasted
more than a week at the Federal Court of Claims in
last week, we had a lot of people coming into the office,
asking for help or wanting to make sure they had it (Notice
of Appearance form) filled out right,” said local water
attorney Bill Ganong, special counsel to the case.
turnout demonstrates that a lot of people were hurt and that
a lot of land did not get irrigated. If we prevail and if
the United States has to pay on a per acre basis, it’s going
to be a significant amount of money.”
said while technically the claims submitted represent some
178,958 acres of land, that number represents some
duplicated claims. For example, duplication could be that of
two individuals – a land owner and a new lessee – claiming
the same parcel of land.
individuals in such a scenario will be considered for
reimbursement from the United States in the event the
plaintiff prevails, Ganong said, though the outcome is in
the court’s jurisdiction.
next step is the United States is now reviewing the Notices
of Appearances that were filed,” Ganong said.
said the United States can object to claims, for example, if
an individual or partnership that owned land in the project
in 2001 that is now owned by another party.
U.S. will want an explanation of why you think you’re
entitled to make that claim,” Ganong said.
will be a process during June to identify questions that the
United States may have from some of the people, and to try
and resolve those. The United States isn’t saying they’re
not entitled,” Ganong said. “They’re just saying, ‘We need
some documentation or evidence to demonstrate they’re
process to resolve any and all issues the U.S. may have with
claims could be completed by June 28, Ganong said.
who joined the class action lawsuit are couples,
partnerships, corporations and farming entities affected by
the water shutoffs, Ganong said.
“Nearly all of the commercial farms joined,” Ganong added.
who joined the lawsuit are relatives of those who owned or
leased land in the Klamath Project at the time of the water
shutoffs and who are now deceased.
estimated that if the case prevails, the return could be
between $140 to $175 per acre, reaching at least the
anticipated $28 million mark or more.
decision is anticipated sometime this year, Ganong said.
case, which is consolidated, is Lonny E. Baley, et al v.
United States and Pacific Federation of Fisherman’s
Association, and includes John Anderson Farms v. United
By the Numbers
1,151 – Number of Notice of Appearances filed
3,523 – Number of parcels included in law suit
More than160,000 – Acreage accounted for through claims
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