Frenchman-Cambridge Irrigation District, by its Board of Directors, a Nebraska political subdivision, appellant and cross-appellee,
Nebraska Department of Natural Resources et al., appellees and cross-appellants.
Motions to Dismiss: Pleadings: Appeal and
Error. A district court's grant of a motion to
dismiss on the pleadings is reviewed de novo, accepting the
allegations in the complaint as true and drawing all
reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party.
Jurisdiction: Appeal and Error. Before
proceeding to the legal issues presented for review, it is
the duty of an appellate court to determine whether it has
jurisdiction over the matter before it.
Actions: Jurisdiction. Lack of subject
matter jurisdiction may be raised at any time by any party or
by the court sua sponte.
Appeal and Error. An appellate court is not
obligated to engage in an analysis that is not necessary to
adjudicate the case and controversy before it.
Standing: Proof. To have standing, a
litigant first must clearly demonstrate that it has suffered
an injury in fact. That injury must be concrete in both a
qualitative and temporal sense.
Complaints: Justiciable Issues. A
complainant must allege an injury to itself that is distinct
and palpable, as opposed to merely abstract, and the alleged
harm must be actual or imminent, not conjectural or
from the District Court for Furnas County: James E. Doyle IV,
Judge. Vacated and dismissed.
Neb. 1000] David A. Domina and Christian T. Williams, of
Domina Law Group, PC, L.L.O., for appellant.
Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, Justin D. Lavene,
Joshua E. Dethlefsen, and Kathleen A. Miller for appellees.
Heavican, C.J., Wright, Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Kelch, and
Irrigation District (FCID) appeals the district court's
order dismissing its petition under Neb. Ct. R. Pldg. §
6-1112(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted. Before determining whether the district
court's dismissal of the petition was proper, this court
must determine whether FCID has standing to challenge the
integrated management plans at issue and whether the court
has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat.
§ 46-750 (Reissue 2010) or Neb. Rev. Stat. §
84-911(1) (Reissue 2014).
a political subdivision created pursuant to the irrigation
districts statutes,  under which FCID is authorized to enter
into contracts to supply water for irrigation purposes with
any person and with certain organizations within its
district. According to its petition, FCID uses the
revenue from its sale of water to fulfill contractual
obligations to the U.S. Department of the Interior and the
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
located within the Republican River Basin. The portion of the
basin located in Nebraska is divided into three [297 Neb.
1001] natural resources districts: the Upper Republican
Natural Resources District, the Middle Republican Natural
Resources District, and the Lower Republican Natural
Resources District. Each natural resources district (NRD),
along with the other NRD's in Nebraska, was created by
statute to develop and conserve the state's
natural resources, including its ground water and surface
2004, portions of the Republican River Basin were declared
"fully appropriated." When a river basin is determined
to be fully appropriated, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 46-715 (Cum.
Supp. 2016) of the Nebraska Ground Water Management and
Protection Act provides that the NRD's encompassing the
basin and the Department of Natural Resources (Department)
shall jointly develop an integrated management plan (IMP) to
achieve and sustain a balance between water uses and water
supplies for the long term.
December 2015, the Republican River Basin NRD's adopted,
and the Department approved, IMP's that provided for a
20-percent reduction in ground water pumping in the
Republican River Basin area. Before these IMP's were
adopted and approved, previous IMP's provided for a
25-percent reduction in ground water pumping. Thus, the new
IMP's allow for 5 percent more ground water pumping than
the previous ones.
January 2016, FCID filed a petition for review under the
Administrative Procedure Act,  challenging the newly approved
IMP's on constitutional and other grounds. In the
petition, FCID alleges that the IMP's violate the U.S.
[297 Neb. 1002] Constitution's Compact Clause,
Commerce Clause,  Equal Protection Clause,  and Due
Process Clause,  as well as provisions of the Nebraska
Constitution and the Republican River Compact. As defendants
in the suit, FCID listed the Department, the director of the
Department, the Republican River Basin NRD's, and the
March 2016, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss pursuant
to § 6-1112(b)(1) and (6) for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim upon which