Las Vegas, NV. It is “Déjà vu all over again.” Yesterday, in a three-year-old civil case, Clark County District Court Judge Timothy Williams again ruled against Virgin Valley Water District (VVWD) Attorney Jedediah (Bo) Bingham. He favored the attorneys for the Wolf Creek Golf Club, owners.
Ostensibly the owners of Paradise Canyon (dba Wolf Creek Golf Club, seek to determine if raising irrigation water rates from $250 per share to the $1,246 [i] rate, now reduced to $1,115.00 per share, violates the covenant and good faith and fair dealing standards in contract law.
Bingham has convinced the Virgin Valley Water Board (VVWB), supported by former reporter Barbara Ellestad to divert attention from rate dispute, which arguably they could lose, to a contract dispute.
Thus Bingham claimed that the VVWB, without regard for the covenant, had absolute authority to set prices at whatever rate they desired. No so, Judge Timothy Williams ruled. That is a decision for the jury to decide.
OK, Bingham then said that the owners of Paradise Canyon violated a contract provision requiring the use of city-managed effluent before using river water for irrigation. Not quite, says Judge Williams; the “conduct” of Water Board officials” resulted in a waiver of such condition. Therefore, the failure to use available recycled or effluent water was an immaterial provision under the Lease.” That took that side-show out of contention.
Well then, how about sub-leasing, Bingham argued. In the sub-lease ruling, Judge Williams said that the contract does not prohibit Paradise Canyon from using a small fraction of the leased Irrigation Shares to irrigate the common areas adjacent to its golf course.
So Bingham tells the Court that the contract he drafted for leases “in perpetuity” is unenforceable. That argument was a step too far for Plaintiff’s attorney Jeff Sylvester. He alleged that Bingham lied 150 times to the Judge while simultaneously and improperly adding 25 new cases and new arguments and new legal theories during his lengthy oral presentation on that motion. Sylvester asked rhetorically: “Did Bingham draft a [perpetuity] provision that he knew was unenforceable?” That is counterintuitive?” Sylvester said.
In a ruling issued yesterday, Judge Williams said that the rule of perpetuities does not apply to commercial contracts. Therefore, the Judge granted Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment, granting a perpetual righty of renewal.
It is costly to deal with legal motions that divert from the intent of a civil suit. Fighting irrelevant motions put a cash burden on Paradise Canyon and the public.
Good public policy would have elected officials tracking the cost to the public of litigation. That is not the case with the Virgin Valley Water Board (VVWB). According to Mary Johnson, an administrator at the VVWB, “At this time no District public record exists reflecting a total of all expenses and payments for civil action A-18-774539-B.