State of Nev. v. U.S., No. 82-4621

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore MERRILL, FARRIS, and PREGERSON; PREGERSON
Citation731 F.2d 633
Decision Date20 April 1984
Docket NumberNo. 82-4621
PartiesSTATE OF NEVADA, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, James Watt, Secretary of the Interior, Lynn Greenwalt, Director, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Kayler Martinson, Regional Director, Fish and Wildlife Services, Defendant-Appellees, and Defenders of Wildlife, Inc., Intervenors-Appellees.

Page 633

731 F.2d 633
STATE OF NEVADA, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
UNITED STATES of America, James Watt, Secretary of the
Interior, Lynn Greenwalt, Director, Fish and Wildlife
Service, and Kayler Martinson, Regional Director, Fish and
Wildlife Services, Defendant-Appellees,
and
Defenders of Wildlife, Inc., Intervenors-Appellees.
No. 82-4621.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
Argued and Submitted Feb. 14, 1984.
Decided April 20, 1984.

Paul A. Zevnik, Paul, Hasting, Jaonfsky & Walker, Washington, D.C., for Defenders of Wildlife, Inc.

Ellen J. Durkee, Atty., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., for U.S.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Nevada.

Before MERRILL, FARRIS, and PREGERSON, Circuit Judges.

PREGERSON, Circuit Judge:

Nevada appeals the district court's decision granting summary judgment, 547 F.Supp. 776 (D.Nev.1982). In granting summary judgment, the district court held that Nevada's quiet title action against the United States over the bed of Ruby Lake was time-barred by the Quiet Title Act's twelve-year statute of limitations on federal waiver of sovereign immunity. 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2409a(f) (1976). In addition to challenging that holding, Nevada also contends that once the district court ruled that Nevada's quiet title suit was barred by sovereign immunity, the district court should not have ruled on the merits of the action. Finally, Nevada asserts other general challenges to federal regulatory authority which, although raised below, were not addressed by the district court.

I

Federal waiver of sovereign immunity in quiet title suits is limited by a twelve-year statute of limitations.

Any civil action under [the Quiet Title Act] shall be barred unless it is commenced within twelve years of the date upon which it accrued. Such action shall be deemed to have accrued on the date the plaintiff or his predecessor in interest knew or should have known of the claim of the United States.

28 U.S.C. Sec. 2409a(f). The State of Nevada brought the instant suit on September 29, 1978. Thus, if Nevada officials knew or should have known of the United States' claim to the Ruby Lake bed before September 29, 1966, the suit was properly dismissed as time-barred.

We affirm the district court's holding that Nevada's quiet title suit is time-barred. The Quiet Title Act's statute of limitations on the United States' waiver of sovereign immunity is strictly construed. Block v. North Dakota ex rel. Board of University and School Lands, --- U.S. ----, 103 S.Ct. 1811, 1820, 75 L.Ed.2d 840 (1983). Contrary to Nevada's assertion, the Supreme Court has decisively held that the twelve-year statute of limitations applies to quiet title suits brought by a state. Block, 103 S.Ct. at 1814, 1819-22.

Page 635

Other arguments advanced by Nevada in its attempt to avoid the limitations bar by challenging the underlying legality of the federal claim are unpersuasive. These arguments are unavailing because the crucial issue in our statute of limitations inquiry is whether Nevada had notice of the federal claim, not whether the claim itself is valid or invalid. Park County Montana v. U.S., 626 F.2d 718, 721 (9th Cir.1980), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 1112, 101 S.Ct. 923, 66 L.Ed.2d 841 (1981); Grosz v. Andrus, 556 F.2d 972, 975 (9th Cir.1977).

Our review of a district court's grant of summary judgment is de novo. M/V American Queen v. San Diego Marine Const., 708 F.2d 1483, 1487 (9th Cir.1983). To succeed in a motion for summary judgment, the moving party must demonstrate that no "genuine issue as to any material fact" remains to be resolved at a trial on the merits "and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c).

Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e) provides in part:

When a motion for summary judgment is made and supported as provided in this rule, an adverse party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleading, but his response, by affidavits or as otherwise provided in this rule, must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. If he does not so respond, summary judgment, if appropriate, shall be entered against him.

In its response to the United States' motion for summary judgment, Nevada sets forth several specific factual disputes between the United States and Nevada. However, those factual disputes relate solely to the validity of the United States' claim to the...

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35 practice notes
  • Triangle Min. Co., Inc. v. Stauffer Chemical Co., No. 84-3516
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • February 8, 1985
    ...We review the district court's decision de novo. E.g., Lane v. Goren, 743 F.2d 1337, 1339 (9th Cir.1984); Nevada v. United States, 731 F.2d 633, 635 (9th Cir.1984). Moreover, we review the district court's interpretation of state law under the same de novo standard applied to the interpreta......
  • Adams v. US, No. CV-S-86-548-PMP.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • May 19, 1988
    ...is strictly construed. Block v. North Dakota, 461 U.S. 273, 103 S.Ct. 1811, 75 L.Ed.2d 840 (1983); see also Nevada v. United States, 731 F.2d 633, 634 (9th Cir.1984). Moreover, "timeliness under subsection (f) is a jurisdictional prerequisite to suit under section 2409a." Vincent Murphy Che......
  • Lynn v. Sheet Metal Workers' Intern. Ass'n, No. 75
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • November 26, 1986
    ...judgment and the dismissal. 2 STANDARD OF REVIEW Normally, a grant of summary judgment is reviewed de novo. Nevada v. United States, 731 F.2d 633, 635 (9th Cir.1984); Lojek v. Thomas, 716 F.2d 675, 677 (9th Cir.1983). An appellate court's review is governed by the same standard used by a tr......
  • U.S. v. Vesterso, No. 86-5231
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • August 31, 1987
    ...has been given, the role of the State indeed is at an end." Cf. State of Nevada v. United States, 547 F.Supp. 776 (D.Nev.), affirmed, 731 F.2d 633 (1982) (finding that invocation of state consent provision in 16 U.S.C. Sec. 715f was barred by the statute of limitations in 28 U.S.C. Sec. 240......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
35 cases
  • Triangle Min. Co., Inc. v. Stauffer Chemical Co., No. 84-3516
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • February 8, 1985
    ...We review the district court's decision de novo. E.g., Lane v. Goren, 743 F.2d 1337, 1339 (9th Cir.1984); Nevada v. United States, 731 F.2d 633, 635 (9th Cir.1984). Moreover, we review the district court's interpretation of state law under the same de novo standard applied to the interpreta......
  • Adams v. US, No. CV-S-86-548-PMP.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • May 19, 1988
    ...is strictly construed. Block v. North Dakota, 461 U.S. 273, 103 S.Ct. 1811, 75 L.Ed.2d 840 (1983); see also Nevada v. United States, 731 F.2d 633, 634 (9th Cir.1984). Moreover, "timeliness under subsection (f) is a jurisdictional prerequisite to suit under section 2409a." Vincent Murphy Che......
  • Lynn v. Sheet Metal Workers' Intern. Ass'n, No. 75
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • November 26, 1986
    ...judgment and the dismissal. 2 STANDARD OF REVIEW Normally, a grant of summary judgment is reviewed de novo. Nevada v. United States, 731 F.2d 633, 635 (9th Cir.1984); Lojek v. Thomas, 716 F.2d 675, 677 (9th Cir.1983). An appellate court's review is governed by the same standard used by a tr......
  • U.S. v. Vesterso, No. 86-5231
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • August 31, 1987
    ...has been given, the role of the State indeed is at an end." Cf. State of Nevada v. United States, 547 F.Supp. 776 (D.Nev.), affirmed, 731 F.2d 633 (1982) (finding that invocation of state consent provision in 16 U.S.C. Sec. 715f was barred by the statute of limitations in 28 U.S.C. Sec. 240......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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