Barnes v. Jackson

Chad and Jane Barnes appealed a district court’s order granting summary judgment and dismissing their lawsuit against Kirk Jackson. In 2014, Barnes filed suit against Jackson seeking a declaration of forfeiture as to Jackson’s water right (“Jackson’s Right”). Barnes alleged that Jackson’s Right was unused for the five-year statutory period and was therefore forfeited. The district court explained that, under the resumption-of-use doctrine, statutory forfeiture is not effective if, after five years of nonuse, an appropriator resumes use prior to the assertion of a claim of right by a junior appropriator. The district court noted that Jackson had used the water as early as 2012, two years before Barnes purchased his property; therefore, Barnes was barred from asserting that he had relied upon Jackson’s unused water since 2012. The district court acknowledged Barnes’ related argument, that he was somehow connected to his predecessor in interest, and therefore could assert the predecessor’s claim of right. However, the district court noted that there was no statutory or legal basis for the position. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Jackson. Finding no reversible error after review of the district court record, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Barnes v. Jackson" on Justia Law