Nebraska v. Wyoming, 507 U.S. 584 (1993)

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on exceptions to reports of special master

No. 108, Orig. Argued January 13, 1993—Decided April 20, 1993

To resolve a dispute among Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, and the United

States over water rights to the North Platte River, this Court entered a decree in 1945 imposing restrictions on storage and diversion by the upstream States, Colorado and Wyoming; establishing priorities among federal reservoirs and certain Nebraska canals; and apportioning 75% of the natural flow of the river's so-called "pivotal reach" during the irrigation season to Nebraska and 25% to Wyoming. Nebraska v. Wyoming, 325 U. S. 589. Initiating this original action in 1986, Nebraska petitioned the Court for an enforcement order and injunctive relief under the decree's "reopener" provision, alleging that Wyoming was violating or threatening to violate the decree by virtue of developments on two North Platte tributaries, Deer Creek and the Laramie River, and objecting to certain of Wyoming's actions with respect to the Inland Lakes in Nebraska. Wyoming answered and counterclaimed, arguing, essentially, that Nebraska was circumventing the decree by demanding and diverting water from above the Tri-State Dam for uses below Tri-State that are not recognized in the decree. All four parties have moved for summary judgment on one or more issues, and the Special Master has filed his First and Second Interim Reports recommending disposition of those motions and the intervention motions of certain amici. Exceptions have been filed by, inter alios, the three States.

Held: 1. No exceptions having been filed to the Master's recommendation that the Court deny the intervention motions, that recommendation is adopted. Pp. 589-590. 2. The Master's recommended dispositions of the summary judgment motions are adopted, and the parties' exceptions are overruled. Pp. 590-603. (a) Although not strictly applicable, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) and this Court's precedents construing it serve as useful guides to the summary judgment principles governing the case. Such judgment is appropriate under the Rule's terms when there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. In determining whether a material factual dispute exists, the evidence is viewed through the prism of the controlling legal

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