Antelope Valley Groundwater Class Action Website
 
 
Frequently Asked Questions


IMPORTANT UPDATE: Plaintiff Willis and Willis Class Counsel have reached a proposed settlement with a number of public water providers, subject to Court approval at a fairness hearing scheduled for February 24, 2011 at 2011. The terms of the proosed settlement and your rights with respect thereto are generally described in the following document -   Settlement Notice . The complete Stipulation of Settlement can be found at the link to Class Notice and Other Documents.


Question: What is the Lawsuit About?
Answer: This lawsuit is about your right to pump groundwater in the Antelope Valley. Under California law, property owners have a right to pump and use groundwater (water underneath the surface) on their land. In this case, however, the naturally available supply of water in the Basin may not be adequate to satisfy everyone who wants to use that water. Plaintiff Willis brought this action to protect her right and that of other Antelope Valley landowners to pump and use the water under their properties and to obtain compensation for any wrongful taking of their property rights. She claims that she and other landowners have water rights that are superior to the rights of certain public water suppliers to use that water. The public water suppliers have sued and claim that their historical pumping has given them superior water rights. If the public water suppliers win, your rights to use the groundwater under your property may be cut back. In other words, the Willis Class Action asks the Court to rule that private landowners in the Antelope Valley who do not presently pump water on their properties retain the right to use the water underlying their properties. The Court has not yet ruled on these claims.

Question: What is a Class Action Lawsuit?
Answer: A class action is a lawsuit in which one or more representative plaintiffs bring a lawsuit on behalf of themselves and other similarly situated persons. The representative plaintiffs, the Court, and Class counsel have a responsibility to make sure that the interests of all Class Members are adequately represented. y, Class Members are NOT individually responsible for the attorneys’ fees or litigation expenses of Class Counsel. In a class action, attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses are paid from the settlement fund or by the opposing parties and must be approved by the Court. Who Are the Parties to this Lawsuit? Numerous landowners, public water suppliers, mutual water companies and other persons and entities that assert rights to the groundwater in the Antelope Valley are parties to this lawsuit. The Willis Class has filed a lawsuit solely against the following public water suppliers that have asserted claims that their rights to use the water are superior to the rights of the Class members: Los Angeles County Waterworks #40, Rosamond Community Service District, Quartz Hill Water, Palmdale Water District, Little Rock Creek Water District, Desert Lake, North Edwards, California Water Company.

Question: Am I a Member of the Willis Class?
Answer: You have been designated as a possible class member because the assessor’s tax records show that you may own property in the Antelope Valley. The Class essentially includes all private (i.e., non-governmental) landowners within the Antelope Valley Groundwater Basin that do not pump groundwater and have never pumped groundwater on their property. The Class however does not include those landowners that are connected to or receive water from a public water system. If you are already a party to this litigation, you are not a member of the Class, but may elect to join the Class.

Question: Can I Exclude Myself from the Class?
Answer: No. The deadline to exclude yourself from the Class has passed.

Question: What if I Do Nothing?
Answer: If you do nothing then you will be remain in the class. You will be bound by the decision in the case, whether favorable or unfavorable. Plaintiff Willis and her attorneys will act as your representatives in this case, and you will not personally be obligated to pay any fees or costs out of your pocket.

Question: Am I Personally Responsible to Pay Attorneys’ Fees?
Answer: No. Class Counsel will submit an application for attorney’s fees at some point in the litigation. The Court will decide on the reasonableness of class counsel’s fee application. Members of the class will not be held personally responsible for attorneys fees and costs.

Question: How Can I Obtain Further Information?
Answer: The Class Notice and certain other documents from the litigation are on this website. This website will be updated from time to time to advise you of the status of this litigation. Also, all of the documents filed in the case are available at the court’s website: http://www.scefiling.org/cases/casehome.jsp?caseId=19. You may e-mail any remaining questions you have to info@avgroundwater.com.

PLEASE DO NOT CALL OR WRITE THE COURT OR CLERK’S OFFICE. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE CONSULT YOUR OWN COUNSEL, VISIT THE WEB SITE LISTED ABOVE, OR WRITE TO CLASS COUNSEL.


Question: How Can I Contact you?
Answer: We can be reached by e-mail at info@avgroundwater.com. We will respond answer your questions as promptly as possible.

Question: How Long Will the Lawsuit Take Before it is Resolved?
Answer: Since the case involves many complex legal issues, it may take years to be decided.

Question: Will I Be Kept Informed During the Course of the Litigation?
Answer: You may be notified either by mail, e-mail, or through this website of any significant developments during the course of the litigation. This Web site will be regularly updated with pertinent developments as the situation warrants. We suggest that you check this web site periodically for developments.

Question: How Do I Notify You of a Wrong Address or a Change of Address?
Answer: Please note your correct address on the change address form and submit it online or by mail to:

 

Antelope Valley Groundwater Litigation
P.O. BOX 12013
Riverside, CA 92502-9839


 
 
 
Antelope Valley Groundwater Class Action Website