Apple Valley’s eminent domain trial set for later this month October 5, 2019
The Town of Apple Valley’s eminent domain trial to argue acquiring its largest water provider is set to place later this month.
The original date for trial on Sept. 30 was vacated in the Town’s suit against Liberty Utilities, according to San Bernardino Superior Court records.
Town spokesperson Orlando Acevedo said the “right to take” phase of litigation is scheduled for Oct. 21. which will consist of a bench trial.
“In other words, all issues will be decided by a judge, not a jury,” he said.
If Superior Court Judge Donald Alvarez decides the Town has the right to acquire Liberty Utilities, the next phase will be a valuation where a jury will determine how much the water system costs.
The Town first filed a formal action against the water company in January 2016 after the Council voted to take over the utility two months earlier.
The Town’s rationale is that the acquisition will result in lower water rates for residents, while critics and Liberty’s officials believe the opposite.
Since the filing in 2016, the Town has spent about $2.7 million in legal costs, Acevedo told the Daily Press in August.
Liberty has declined to provide their legal costs to the Daily Press. A company spokesperson said earlier this year that the costs are not tied to rate payers.
“Liberty Utilities is prepared for the upcoming trial, and remains focused on providing quality water and reliable service to customers, today and in the future,” Greg Sorenson, president of the company’s west region, said in a statement.
Source: Martin Estacio, Daily Press