Sioux City, Iowa — The judge in the Des Moines Waterworks suit against three northwest Iowa counties has asked the Iowa Supreme Court to rule on four key questions in the case.
The waterworks allege that Sac, Calhoun and Buena Vista counties should pay damages because the Waterworks says the counties have not stopped nitrates from entering the Racoon River, a key source of drinking water.
U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett has asked the Iowa Supreme Court to give their opinion as to if the doctrine of implied immunity of drainage districts grants drainage districts unqualified immunity from all of the damage claims set forth in the complaint. Secondly, Judge Bennett wants to know if the doctrine of implied immunity grants drainage districts unqualified immunity from equitable remedies and claims, other than mandamus. He also asked if the Des Moines Water Works can assert protections afforded by the Iowa Constitution’s inalienable rights, due process, equal protection and takings clauses against drainage districts. Finally, the judge asked for the Supreme Court’s opinion on whether the Water Works has a property interest that may be the subject of a claim under the Iowa Constitution’s takings clause.
It is unknown if this will delay the case, which is to remain in the Northern District of Iowa in Sioux City. As of today, the trial date remains August 8, 2016.