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Announcement: April 2018: Quinn Emanuel Court of Appeal Win for Metropolitan Water District Named a 2017 Top Appellate Reversal by The Daily Journal


The Daily Journal recognized the Court of Appeal’s decision in San Diego County Water Authority v. Metropolitan Water District as one of the “largest and most significant verdicts and appellate reversals in California in 2017.” In a case involving water distribution in Southern California, which depends heavily on imported water supplies, partners Kathleen Sullivan and Valerie Roddy obtained a unanimous appellate victory for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (“Metropolitan”). The San Diego County Water Authority (“San Diego”) sued Metropolitan in a dispute over a water exchange agreement that used lawful water-conveyance rates as the price term. A California trial court invalidated Metropolitan’s conveyance rates and then awarded San Diego over $235 million in damages for contract breach. Ms. Sullivan and Ms. Roddy convinced California’s First District Court of Appeal to vacate that judgment. Rejecting the numerous statutory, common law, and constitutional rate challenges raised by San Diego, the appellate court adopted Quinn Emanuel’s argument that Metropolitan’s allocation of its State Water Project transportation costs to its conveyance rates was reasonable and lawful. The decision should eliminate approximately 85% of the monetary judgment below and allow Metropolitan to collect billions of dollars from San Diego in lawful rates in the coming decades.