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$44M Awarded in Water Case - Damages Follow $188M Ruling in Suit Over Rates

The Daily Journal

Keker & Van Nest LLP has secured another $44 million for its client, the San Diego County Water Authority, after a San Francisco County judge awarded prejudgment interest in a lawsuit that accused the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California of overcharging.

The ruling, reached Friday, is another win for star litigator John W. Keker, who in August secured $188 million for the water authority in a bench ruling by Superior Court Judge Curtis E.A. Karnow.

In June, Karnow ruled various fees to use the Metropolitan Water District's pipelines were invalid.

Karnow noted in his ruling that it was "just math."

"Here I awarded exactly the amount of damages requested by San Diego," he wrote in his ruling. "The calculation was as San Diego suggested, a simple deduction of some sum of others."

Keker could not be reached, but Daniel Purcell,a San Francisco-based partner with Keker & Van Nest who argued the motion for the interest, said he was "pleased" with Friday's decision.

John B. Quinn and Eric J. Emanuel of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP represented the water district and could not be reached.

In the underlying matter, the San Diego County Water Authority, or SDCWA, buys great quantities of water from Metropolitan and then sells it to 24 water agencies.

Its lawsuit against Metropolitan was filed in 2010, accusing the agency that the SDWCA was paying too much to use pipelines and transport water. San Diego County Water Authority v. Metropolitan Water District, CPF-10-510830 (S.F. County Super. Ct., filed June 11, 2010).

Following the June ruling, a Metropolitan spokeswoman said the agency would appeal.