Millard County et al v. USA et al
MEMORANDUM DECISION transferring case to Judge Clark Waddoups. See order for details. Signed by Judge Dee Benson and Judge Clark Waddoups on 03/13/2013. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit)(asp)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH, CENTRAL DIVISION
MILLARD COUNTY and STATE OF UTAH,
ORDER TRANSFERRING CASE
Case No. 2:12-CV-451 DB
Judge Dee Benson
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
This action is one of 26 similar cases recently filed in the District of Utah by the State of
Utah and numerous Utah counties seeking to quiet title to alleged R.S. rights-of-way on federal
land across the State (the “recently filed cases”). A list of the recently filed cases is attached as
Exhibit 1. These cases include:
a. three cases filed in November 2011;
b. 22 cases filed in May 2012; and
c. one case filed in June 2012.
In addition, four similar cases, which were filed in this District before the 26 recently
filed cases, remain in active litigation, either in this District or on appeal before the Tenth Circuit
Court of Appeals (the “previously filed cases”). Those four previously filed cases are also listed
in Exhibit 1:
a. San Juan County (1), Utah v. United States, 2:04-cv-552-BSJ (“San Juan County
(1)”) (one right-of-way claimed; presently on appeal to the Tenth Circuit);
b. Emery County (1), Utah and State of Utah v. United States, 2:05-cv-540-DB (“Emery
County (1)”) (seven rights-of-way claimed);
c. Kane County (1), Utah v. United States, 2:08-cv-315-CW (“Kane County (1)”)
(fifteen rights-of-way claimed); and
d. Kane County (2), Utah v. United States, 2:10-cv-1073-RJS (“Kane County (2)”) (64
The recently filed cases and the previously filed cases shall be referred to collectively herein as
the “R.S. 2477 cases.” The case listed in Exhibit 1 as having a consent decree pending (Juab
County (1), Utah and State of Utah v. United States, 2:05-cv- 00714-TC ) is not included in the
“R.S. 2477 cases.”
The State of Utah and the relevant county plaintiffs have completed service on the Office
of the United States Attorney in all 26 of the recently filed cases. The majority of these
complaints have been amended and, at present, plaintiffs in these 26 actions claim a total of more
than 12,000 alleged rights-of-way under R.S. 2477.
Given the thousands of claims, and numerous complex issues involved in the recently
filed cases, the United States, the State of Utah, and all the county plaintiffs in the R.S. 2477
cases except for Kane County, have engaged in discussions and have entered into various
stipulations to efficiently manage this voluminous litigation.
The parties have now reached agreement on a comprehensive case management proposal
for the R.S. 2477 cases for approximately the next two years. A stipulated motion for
consolidated case management was filed in each these cases. The undersigned granted the
stipulated motion for consolidated case management filed in this case on March 4, 2013.
It appears the R.S. 2477 cases present many related and sometimes overlapping issues.
While each is factually distinct, a review of the cases suggests that numerous procedural and
legal issues repeatedly arise in the cases. Common examples include case management issues,
consolidation motions, discovery preservation issues, and third-party motions to intervene. The
court concludes the parties to the R.S. 2477 cases, as well as interested third-parties, would
benefit from a coordinated and consistent approach to resolving similar pretrial issues.
The nature of these R.S. 2477 cases is such that they may place an extraordinary strain on
the scarce judicial resources available in the district. The court has an inherent interest in the
efficient and orderly presentation of business before it. Particularly where, as here, a series of
related cases threatens to consume a disproportionately high percentage of a court’s resources, to
the detriment of other parties and pending matters, courts are well-advised to invoke their
inherent authority to manage their dockets and promote judicial efficiency.
Enabling one district court judge to oversee a number of these cases will permit the court
to engage the parties on a more global level, to manage the timing and presentation of cases and
issues, to enhance judicial efficiency, and to reduce uncertainty among the litigants and other
THEREFORE, the court HEREBY ORDERS the following:
1. This case is TRANSFERRED to the Honorable Clark Waddoups to oversee and
manage all non-dispositive, pretrial matters, including without limitation, issues
relating to consolidation, intervention, discovery (including referral of discovery
issues), scheduling, and coordination with other R.S. 2477 cases in the district that
may be transferred to him by other judges.
2. It is contemplated that Judge Waddoups may make a specific order for the status and
schedule of this case after considering all R.S. 2477 cases subject to his management
and Judge Waddoups’s rulings shall supersede and take precedence over this Order.
3. Judge Waddoups may transfer this case back to the undersigned to address dispositive
motions or other matters, or Judge Waddoups may elect to resolve them. In any
event, this case is to be transferred back to the undersigned for trial.
DATED this 13th day of March, 2013.
BY THE COURT:
Dee V. Benson
United States District Judge
United States District Judge
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