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In December, the office of the Special Master moved to the Maricopa County Superior Court, Central Court Building, Suite 5B, 201 West Jefferson, Phoenix, Arizona. Our new telephone is 602-372-4115 and fax is 602-372-8733. It is the first time that the office has moved after having been at the Administrative Office of the Courts building since 1990. The AOC has been an excellent landlord, but its space needs have grown, and because space in the Superior Court became available, the move was facilitated. Further, the Special Master is appointed by the Superior Court of Arizona. However, AOC will continue to act as the fiscal and human resources agent for the office.
|New Judicial Assistant|
Ms. Dana M. Slatalla began working on January 2, 2007, as the new judicial assistant in our office. Dana owned her own business followed by extensive administrative experience in the private sector. She works a half-time position. Dana was selected from a pool of 63 applicants. We appreciate the assistance that the Administrative Office of the Courts provided in the selection process.
|Arizona Supreme Court Interlocutory Appeals|
In re the Preclusive Effect of the Globe Equity No. 59 Decree on Specified Parties, Gila River Adjudication, Interlocutory Appeal WC-02-0003-IR (Cont. Case No. W1-206), Gila River Adjudication: The San Carlos Apache Tribe petitioned the United States Supreme Court to review the decision of the Arizona Supreme Court and the Arizona Supreme Court's denial of the Tribe's motion for reconsideration. The Tribe presented for review two issues. The first issue deals with federal principles of privity and comity and the second alleges violations of constitutional due process and equal protection of laws.
After considering responses, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to grant or deny the petition. This contested case involves the claims of the Tribe to the mainstem of the Gila River and the preclusive effect of the Globe Equity Decree. This is one of three related appeals filed by the United States, Gila River Indian Community, and the San Carlos Apache Tribe, and cross-petitions filed by Phelps Dodge Corporation and Salt River Project.
|ADWR Staffing Progress Report|
The Court requested the Arizona Department of Water Resources to file a report by January 31, 2007, regarding the Department's plans for increased staffing, organizational structure, and funding for its tasks as the Court's technical advisor for both general stream adjudications. The Department was asked to describe the actions necessary to ensure that the Hopi Reservation Hydrographic Survey Report, the San Pedro River Watershed subflow zone map, and any necessary technical work in the Fort Huachuca, PWR 107 Claims, and San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area contested cases can be completed and what are appropriate timelines for completion of these projects. The Department received a $500,000 appropriation for the current fiscal year for adjudications.
|Little Colorado River Adjudication|
In re Proposed Zuni Indian Tribe Water Rights Settlement: The Court extended the time for objectors to file responses to the Settling Parties' Motion for Summary Disposition and set a status hearing on October 25, 2006, in Phoenix. A subsequent hearing was held on November 27, 2006, to review compliance with the conditions necessary for the settlement to be considered for approval.
On November 27, 2006, the Court signed the Judgment and Decree approving the proposed Zuni Indian Tribe Water Rights Settlement Agreement. On December 19, 2006, the Secretary of the Interior published the required notice in the Federal Register 75981 and 75982 marking the final approval of this settlement.
|Gila River Adjudication|
In re State Trust Lands: On December 7, 2006, the Special Master heard a full day of oral argument. All the parties who have participated in this case presented argument. The request of the State of New Mexico's Commissioner of Public Lands to file an amicus curiae brief was denied.
In re Proposed Gila River Indian Community Water Rights Settlement: The last day to file objections to the proposed settlement was October 10, 2006, with responses to objections due by November 20, 2006. Public presentations of the proposed settlement were held on September 12 (Phoenix), 13 (Casa Grande), and 14 (Safford), 2006.
The Court issued an order directing the San Carlos Apache Tribe to file a reply concerning the Tribe's motion to dismiss the application for approval of this settlement, denying the motion to vacate the deadline for filing objections, and denying the Tribe's request for an extension of time or leave to supplement its objections. In a separate order, the Court set a status conference on December 19, 2006, and directed the use of a Court-approved mailing list.
In re Proposed Tohono O'odham Nation Water Rights Settlement: The Court issued an order granting an application to commence a special proceeding to consider the proposed settlement of the claimed water rights of the Tohono O'odham Nation, individual allottees, and the United States acting on behalf of the Nation and the allottees. The order directed the Arizona Department of Water Resources to prepare a factual analysis and/or technical assessment by October 24, 2006, which the Department timely completed, and allowed all claimants in the Gila River Adjudication to file objections to the proposed settlement by December 13, 2006. A public presentation of the proposed settlement was held in Tucson on November 13, 2006.
In re PWR 107 Claims: The Special Master issued an order setting a telephonic conference on January 18, 2007, to review a matter that had arisen between the United States and the San Carlos Apache Tribe which prevented the completion of their negotiations and the submission of the proposed abstracts of water rights to the Arizona Department of Water Resources. These parties were directed to file a summary of their disputed issues prior to the conference.
In re Fort Huachuca: The Special Master issued an order continuing the briefing schedule of the four issues under consideration to allow the parties to discuss the possibility of a comprehensive settlement of water right claims of the United States in the San Pedro River Watershed. A briefing schedule to address four issues has been set in this case. A briefing schedule to address four issues has been set in this case.
In re San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (a contested case not yet initiated): The Special Master issued a case management order initiating a contested case. The initial focus of this case will be the implementation of a settlement track and possibly in conjunction with the In re Fort Huachuca case. This case involves the water right claims of the United States to the conservation area located in southeastern Arizona.
Apache County Superior Court Clerk: Sue Hall, Clerk of the Apache County Superior Court, has implemented a service to have sent by email, minute entries that do not require the Court's signature. This service is allowed under Arizona Supreme Court Rule 124(e) which provides that "Any attorney or unrepresented party may consent to receive electronic service of documents from another party. Such consent shall be filed either traditionally or electronically and may be withdrawn at any time upon notice filed either traditionally or electronically." The office of the Special Master is using this service.
The Clerk has also made its Record Search application via the Internet allowing one to view scanned documents of the Little Colorado River Adjudication. The Special Master appreciates this invaluable service.
Maricopa County Superior Court Clerk: Michael K. Jeanes, Clerk of the Maricopa County Superior Court, has launched an initiative called "1-1-07", which will implement significant changes in the Electronic Court Record or the ability to transition from paper processes to electronic methods. These new changes will not apply to the Gila River Adjudication. Paper filings and the hard copy file will still be maintained.
Michael John "Mike" Brophy: Michael John "Mike" Brophy, who was instrumental in helping to get Arizona's general stream adjudications off the ground during their early years, passed away on September 18, 2006. Mike was very involved in the designation of legal issues that led to the series of interlocutory appeal decisions which have shaped the progress of these cases. His professionalism was exemplary and admirable. He served as the Arizona Representative to the Western States Water Council from 1991-2002, and was elected Chairman from 2000 to 2002. Mike chaired the Water Policy Committee for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. His obituary reads in part, "He was perhaps most proud of his work in connection with negotiating and securing the enactment of legislation by the United States Congress involving water rights and settlements for the Gila River, Salt River Pima-Maricopa, Fort McDowell and Ak-Chin Indian Communities, and the San Carlos Apache Tribe." We are proud he was with us.
Michael J. Brown: On November 9, 2006, Governor Janet Napolitano appointed Pinetop lawyer Michael J. Brown to the Arizona Court of Appeals. Michael has been actively involved in several adjudication matters, most recently the settlement of the water rights of the Zuni Indian Tribe. We wish Michael success on the appellate bench.
Link here to the calendar of proceedings on the Special Master's web site.Adobe® Reader®