'In the judge's hands now'
Attorneys deliver closing arguments in 'Takings' case
Third-generation rancher Luther Horsley listened from the
courtroom gallery Tuesday as Federal Judge Marian Blank Horn
heard closing arguments from the plaintiff and the defendant
in U.S. Federal Court of Claims in Washington, D.C., marking
the official end of the “Takings” case trial.
plaintiff includes those who irrigated or leased land to
irrigate with Klamath Reclamation Project water in 2001,
represented by Washington, D.C.-based Marzulla Law. The
defendant is represented by Kristine S. Tardiff, of the U.S.
Department of Justice Environmental & Natural Resources.
Both counsels shared their final statements, giving Judge
Horn the opportunity to ask questions about the case that
stems from Bureau of Reclamation shutoffs to irrigation
water in 2001 in protection of threatened coho salmon and
endangered Lost River and shortnose sucker.
Horsley was the sole irrigator to make the trip for closing
arguments, and expressed relief via phone at the trial’s
end, just outside the courthouse. Horsley, whose family
settled in Langell Valley in 1920, couldn’t venture a guess
at how many times he’s traveled to the nation’s capital for
the purpose of the “Takings” case.
case has been going on since Oct. 11, 2001,” Horsley said.
“It was a relief. We were relieved to finally be there at
the end. It’s in the judge’s hands now.”
case, consolidated as Lonny E. Baley, et al, v. United
States and Pacific Federation of Fisherman’s Association
also includes John Anderson Farms Inc., et al, v. United
plaintiff and the defendant submitted written closing
arguments in addition to the in-person courtroom proceeding,
according to Klamath Falls water attorney Bill Ganong, who
served as special counsel on the case.
going to take some time to sort out the issues and write the
opinion, so it’ll be a while,” Ganong told the Herald and
News by phone.
who updated Judge Horn on water adjudication and rights
during closing arguments, also shared broadly about the
let everybody – both sides – say what they wanted to say,”
Ganong said. “She asked a ton of questions. It was a good
oral argument. It’s kind of fun when you get to go back and
forth with the judge.
was worthwhile coming back,” Ganong added. “I think it went
as well as it could go. I think everybody has a sense of
relief, including the judge.”
back to the Klamath Basin today, Horsley said he “eagerly
anticipates” the judge’s decision.
our ag community, the impact that it’s had on us, the
influence it could have on our future,” Horsley said.
would like to see future generations have the same
opportunities that I’ve had, and those opportunities were
established by our predecessors,” Horsley said. “They put a
lot of work into this and we have an obligation to ensure
that it’s there for future generations. I hope that’s what
we obtain through this decision.”
plaintiff prevails in the case, the judge could choose to
distribute an award totaling up to $28 million, plus
interest accrued since 2001, to property owners and those
who leased land in 2001 to irrigate with Klamath Reclamation
Horsley emphasized the money isn’t the goal of the case.
I really would like to see is that we set a precedent that
the government doesn’t take our water without compensation,”
Those who believe they could be eligible to join the class
action lawsuit can still submit forms to participate. To
learn more and to fill out forms, visit www.kwua.org.
Forms are due no later than 5 p.m., Friday May 19 at
Ganong’s law office, 514 Walnut St., Klamath Falls.
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