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Wagner Farms, Inc. v. Modesto Irrigation Dist.

ELR Citation: 36 ELR 20241
Nos. No. F049966, (Cal. App. 5th Dist., 12/06/2006)

The court reversed an award of costs that a lower court made to an irrigation district after denying farmers' petition for a writ of mandate to enforce the California Environmental Quality Act with respect to a proposal to construct high-voltage electricity transmission lines across the farmers' properties. The lower court awarded the irrigation district $33,422.24 for preparing a 4,107-page record of proceedings. But the record contains documents that were created after the project was approved. These post-approval documents are not properly part of the record; therefore, the time spent preparing them was not a necessary and reasonable cost. In addition, the minimal factual information submitted by the district was insufficient to justify the unusually high per-page cost for preparing the record. Lastly, the information submitted did not allow for separation of the time the district and its consultants reasonably spent assembling, organizing, and indexing documents reflecting the actual proceedings from the time they spent furthering their own interests.