Press Releases Sep 21, 2016

BB&K Partner Jeffrey V. Dunn Named One of the Top 100 Lawyers in California

Resolutions in Two Major Water Rights Matters Cited by the Daily Journal

For Immediate Release: Sept. 21, 2016
Media Contact: Denise Nix • 213-787-2552 • denise.nix@bbklaw.com


IRVINE, Calif. – Best Best & Krieger LLP Partner Jeffrey V. Dunn was named by the Daily Journal as one of the Top 100 Leading Lawyers for 2016. Dunn’s role in resolving two major, long-standing groundwater rights disputes recently on behalf of public agency clients were spotlighted by the legal publication.

Dunn was co-lead litigation counsel for the County of Los Angeles Waterworks District No. 40 in California’s largest groundwater rights case ever, and perhaps in United States history. After 16 years of litigation involving more than 70,000 landowners, a landmark judgment was obtained after six successful phases of trial. Judgment was entered in December 2015. It provides a secure groundwater supply for hundreds of thousands of residents and businesses in Los Angeles and Kern counties and the Edwards Air Force Base. The case became the leading example for future groundwater disputes and its lessons learned were applied in recent historic groundwater legislation, including new civil procedure for more streamlined court adjudications of water rights.

“The case became the leading example for future groundwater disputes and its lessons learned were applied in last year’s historic groundwater legislation, including new civil procedures for more streamlined adjudications of water rights,” Dunn told the Daily Journal. “Gov. Brown devised legislation to manage these groundwater basins. The Legislature actually used Antelope Valley as a case study in designing the new statutes,” Dunn told the Daily Journal.

Dunn was also co-lead counsel in another long-running groundwater rights dispute. In a published opinion issued on June 24, 2016, the Appellate Court held, for the first time, that landowner groundwater rights do not have to be quantified until such time as the groundwater basin is in an overdraft condition. The lower court retains jurisdiction to monitor the groundwater basin and, should there be future groundwater shortages, a trial court can quantify the property owner’s share of the limited groundwater resource. The 2016 opinion follows a 2012 published opinion in the same case that upheld the trial court judgment obtained by Dunn awarding groundwater rights to Santa Maria and other groundwater users. Together, the two published opinions provide the leading California authority for resolving groundwater cases. 

“The outcome was a big deal in the water world,” Dunn told the newspaper. “It will help agencies use court processes to manage water rights without delays spent first adjudicating everybody’s property rights.”

This is Dunn’s second time appearing on the Daily Journal’s Top 100 Attorneys list, having been listed in 2013. He was also one of the Daily Journal’s Top 20 Municipal Attorneys in 2013 and a Top 25 Municipal Attorney in 2011.

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Best Best & Krieger LLP is a national law firm that focuses on environmental, business, education, municipal and telecommunications law for public agency and private clients. With 200 attorneys, the law firm has nine offices nationwide, including Indian Wells, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.bbklaw.com or follow @BBKlaw on Twitter.

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