MCALESTER, Okla. (AP) _ A federal appeals court has ruled that a water supply company did not encroach upon the territory of a rural water district.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver decided that Rural Water District No. 11 in Pittsburg County lost its statutory protection when it granted the Indian Nation Water Resources Corp. the exclusive right to serve commercial customers in the rural water district's territory.
Rural Water District No. 11 had been formed as a nonprofit rural water district to provide water to residential and commercial customers in a defined service area in Oklahoma, including rural portions of the Kiowa area.
In the lawsuit, the water district argued that it had protection under federal law from encroachment on its service by a municipal corporation, other public body, or private franchise.
When KPP Supply was formed to provide cooling water to the electric power generating plant within the water district's service area, the rural water district sought a declaratory judgment in district court that it had sole right to furnish commercial water in the service area.
KPP Supply, Kiowa Power Partners, Juniper Water Co. and three others were named as defendants in the lawsuit, which KPP successfully had moved to federal court.
The federal court ultimately issued a summary judgment against Rural Water District No. 11.
The water district also argued that the federal court erred by not allowing it sufficient time to respond to KPP Supply's motion for a summary judgment before granting the judgment.
The appeals court noted that the federal court had converted an earlier motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment and provided Rural Water District No. 11 a ``reasonable opportunity to present all materials made pertinent to such a motion.''''