- Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
- Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
- Date Filed: 09-08-2022
- Case #: No 20-36020
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Wardlaw, Circuit Judge, for the Court, joined by Bress, Circuit Judge, and Bumatay, Circuit Judge, concurring
- Full Text Opinion
The Bureau of Reclamation (“Reclamation”)’s Amended Proposed Action confirmed it would use water in the Klamath Water Basin for instream purposes, fulfilling its obligations under the Endangered Species Act and safeguarding the water and fishing rights of the Hoopa Valley and Klamath Tribes (the “Tribes”). The Action necessarily limited water available to other users with junior rights to the Basin’s waters. Klamath Irrigation District and Shasta View Irrigation District (the Districts) challenged the Action, and the Tribes intervened and moved to dismiss, arguing they are required parties who cannot be joined due to their tribal sovereign immunity. A party is a “required party” if: “that [party] claims an interest relating to the subject of the action and . . . disposing of the action in [their] absence may . . . as a practical matter impair or impede [their] ability to protect the interest.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 19(a)(1)(B)(i). To determine whether a suit should proceed among existing parties where a required party cannot be joined, courts consider: potential prejudice, possibility to reduce prejudice, adequacy of a judgment without the required party, and adequacy of a remedy with dismissal. Fed. R. Civ. P. 19(b). The Tribes are a required party because their water rights would be impaired if the Districts prevail. Although Reclamation and the Tribes have overlapping interests, they are not so aligned as to make Reclamation an adequate representative. The Court concluded the case must be dismissed in equity and good conscience because the Tribes’ and the Districts’ claims are mutually exclusive, and the Tribes are entitled to sovereign immunity. Affirmed.