SMRF files for rehearing in Court of Appeals. September 5, 2008
After SMRF's win in District Court in early 2006, the opposing parties appealed to the Third Court of Appeals. SMRF joined the appeal since not all of the issues SMRF raised in District Court were ruled on, in particular the status of the priority date that SMRF was assigned by TCEQ when the SMRF instream flow water right application was declared administratively complete in 2000.
In an effort to redistribute caseloads around the state more evenly, the appeals to the Third Court in Austin were assigned instead to the Thirteenth Court of Appeals in Corpus Christi. The Corpus Christi judges traveled to Austin in October 2007 and heard oral arguments in the appeals of the SMRF vs. TCEQ case.
In August 2008, SMRF finally heard the decision from the Corpus Christi judges. The court dismissed the case completely, all appeals on both sides, since the court's opinion was that Senate Bill 3 banned applying for new instream water rights in the last legislative session. The judges stated that the water right was not possible to grant any more, so there was no need to carry on the case. Of course, SMRF sees that as sanctioning retroactive laws to ban applications that were dutifully and properly done according to the law in place at the time. SMRF originally filed the application for water in 2000, over 8 years ago. So SMRF's attorneys filed a motion for rehearing on September 5, 2008, pointing out to the Corpus Christi judges that they need to rule on SMRF's issue about the priority date before they throw out the case, among other considerations.
Check this website in a month or two, to hear the updates on the case. For information on the background of the SMRF water right application and legal case, click here. For information about the win in District Court, see the headline about that dated February 7, 2006.