News

Judge to check progress at water lawsuit hearing

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Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News senior reporter
The next status conference in the Ventura River Watershed Adjudication lawsuit is set for Monday, April 19, at 1:30 p.m. in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
A status conference is a pre-trial hearing to help a judge manage a case.
At the last status conference in the case March 15, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William F. Highberger told lawyers representing the city of Ventura that clerical errors still existed in the city’s database of cross-defendants in the litigation.
Highberger said mismatches in the city’s spreadsheets of names and parcel numbers needed to be resolved before a proposed physical solution can be lodged with the court for the first time, and he can set a schedule for an evidentiary hearing in the case.
The litigation is the result of a cross-complaint brought by the city of Ventura against thousands of property owners in the Ojai Valley and Ventura.
The case began in 2014 when nonprofit environmental group Santa Barbara Channelkeeper sued the city of Ventura and the State Water Resources Control Board for using too much water from the Ventura River, to the detriment of endangered southern steelhead trout.
At the March 15 hearing, Highberger said he might entertain ideas for a site visit field trip by the court.
Parties seeking remote audio access to the April 19 status conference can do so by registering with the court’s new Remote Audio Appearance Program.
To get access, you must register beforehand for each status conference in the case, at https://my.lacourt.org/remoteaudio/welcome.
The case number is 19STCP01176.
The hearing is taking place in the Spring Street Courthouse, Department 10.
For more information on the case, visit the Ventura River Watershed Adjudication website at https://venturariverwatershedadjudication.com.