Breaking: government conspired to deprive Nevada rancher of property rights
Nevada rancher E. Wayne Hage has been fighting the federal government for decades over his historical rights to water livestock, irrigate his ranch, and use water for domestic purposes. In the early 1990s, Hage filed a takings lawsuit in the Court of Federal Claims, arguing that the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management took his water rights by interfering with his ability to access the streams and ditches in which his water flowed. That lawsuit met with mixed results. The trial court concluded that Hage held vested rights in the disputed water and that the federal agencies had taken those rights. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals partially reversed the trial court decision. Earlier this year, PLF filed an amicus brief in support of Hage’s petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review his takings case.
But the legal saga does not end there. While Hage’s takings case was pending at the Court of Federal Claims, the Forest Service and BLM filed a second lawsuit in Nevada, hoping to get better results from a different judge. Despite Claims Court rulings to the contrary, the federal agencies argued that they owned Hage’s water rights and asked the court to award the government damages for Hage’s alleged “trespass” on the water. Hage counterclaimed that the feds violated his constitutional and statutory rights by interfering with his ability to access and use his water and by refusing to process applications to renew his grazing permits.
This is where the story gets really interesting.
More at: http://blog.pacificlegal.org/2013/breaking-government-conspired-to-deprive-nevada-rancher-of-property-rights/