Justia Washington Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Utilities Law
Ronald Wastewater Dist. v. Olympic View Water& Sewer Dist.
This case involved a dispute over control of sewerage service to Point Wells, located just north of the King County, Washington border, within the boundaries of Snohomish County and Olympic View Water and Sewer District (Olympic). The issue presented for the Washington Supreme Court's review was a determination of the effect of a 1985 superior court order which purported to annex the Point Wells service area from King County to Ronald Wastewater District (Ronald). Resolution of this issue required interpretation of former Title 56 RCW (1985) and former RCW 36.94.410-.440 (1985) to determine whether the 1985 court had authority to approve the transfer and annexation. The trial court held that the 1985 Order annexed Point Wells to Ronald. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that King County could not transfer annexation rights that it did not have. Finding no reversible error in the appellate court's conclusion, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Ronald Wastewater Dist. v. Olympic View Water& Sewer Dist." on Justia Law
King County v. King County Water Dists.
King County, Washington enacted a first-of-its-kind ordinance that required electric, gas, water and sewer utilities to pay for the right to use the county's rights-of-way (franchise). The associated planned charge was called "franchise compensation," and was based on an estimate of a franchise's value. If the county and utility couldn't agree on an amount, the county barred the utility from using its rights-of-way. The issue presented for the Washington Supreme Court's review centered on the County's authority to collect franchise compensation. Secondarily, the issue was whether water-sewer districts or private utilities could use the rights-of-way without a franchise from the County. The superior court ruled King County lacked authority to collect franchise compensation. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that generally, King County could collect franchise compensation. Water-sewer districts and private utilities had no general right to use King County's rights-of-way without a franchise. View "King County v. King County Water Dists." on Justia Law
Pub. Util. Dist. No. 1 of Okanogan County v. Washington
This case arose from a longstanding issue between Public Utility District No. 1 of Okanogan County (PUD) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) over the installation of an electrical transmission line through school lands managed by DNR in the Methow Valley. At issue was whether PUD was statutorily authorized to condemn a right of way through school trust lands for the construction of a transmission corridor and, if so, whether the particular school lands were nonetheless exempt from condemnation as a result of their trust status as school lands or their then-present use for cattle grazing. The trial court and Court of Appeals concluded that PUD is statutorily authorized to condemn school lands and that the particular school lands at issue are subject to condemnation. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Pub. Util. Dist. No. 1 of Okanogan County v. Washington" on Justia Law