Kansas v.s Nebraska

Kansas v. Nebraska

Identify and Summarize the Facts of the Case

The case of Kansas verses Nebraska involves disputes between the two states over the allotment of water in the Republican River Basin as provided in the compact. A compact was created among three states, that is, Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado that allocated portions of the water from the basin (Rosales & Petoskey, 2013). Prior to the case, in 1998 the state of Kansas had filed a petition to the court complaining that Nebraska’s ground water pumping was draining the streams that supplied the basin with water. Therefore, it was subject to the regulations of the compact (Rosales & Petoskey, 2013). In 2002, following intense negotiations a settlement was agreed upon which provided for accounting procedures to be used to ensure compliance of the states to the compact. In 2007, Kansas filed another petition in court complaining of Nebraska’s over-consumption of the water in excess of its provision in the compact. Further, Kansas sought form an injunction and monetary relief due to Nebraska’s violation of Kansas’s rights (Rosales & Petoskey, 2013).

In response, Nebraska claimed that the accounting procedures charged their use of imported water and sought for modification of the accounting procedures (Rosales & Petoskey, 2013). A supreme master appointed by the court found that, Nebraska had knowingly breached the terms of the compact by exceeding its allotment. The supreme master recommended that Nebraska should disgorge part of its gains and pay for damages for losses incurred by Kansas. Further, the master recommended that the court should deny the request for an injunction by Kansas and proposed for modification of the accounting procedures (Rosales & Petoskey, 2013). Both parties filed for exceptions. However, they were overruled and the court adopted the supreme master’s recommendations.

Identify whether a Contract or Agreement was involved

Indeed a contract was involved because the case relates to a compact that both parties to the case and a third party had formed in 1943. The plaintiff (Kansas), the defendant (Nebraska) and Colorado had entered into a contract referred as the Republican River Basin Compact that regulated the allotment of basin’s water by the tripartite countries (Rosales & Petoskey, 2013). The congress ratified the compact act as the witness to the formation of the contract (Andrews, 2011). After the first petition by Kansas in 1998, the parties were involved in rigorous negotiations that led to the formation of the final settlement stipulation in 2002 (Andrews, 2011).

Identify and discuss the Elements of a Contract

The state of Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado had the intention to enter into a legally binding agreement when they formed the compact in 1943 (Andrews, 2011). To form a contract the parties must be willing to form a legally binding contract. Further, they negotiated a final settlement that legally bound all the three parties. The undertaking provided Kansas with a legal recourse as a result of Nebraska’s violation of Kansas’s rights. Consideration is another element in a contract and can be identified as the promises the states made to comply with the compact and the settlement (Andrews, 2011). Parties to a contract must have a legal capacity to form a valid contract. The states are legally recognized in the US constitution hence they had the legal capacity to enter into a contract (Andrews, 2011). The states formed the compact of their own free will, which was genuine. They therefore consented to the formation of the contract.

Identify and discuss any Breaches and Discharges

The state of Nebraska violated the Republican River Compact agreement and settlement it had formed with the state of Kansas and Colorado. It failed to meet its obligations as per the compact (Andrews, 2011). A contract is not breached if the parties to the contract meet the terms of the contract until its completion. Kansas complained to the court that the state of Nebraska had exceedingly bypassed provided water in the compact. Failure to comply with the terms of a contract is a breach of contract (Andrews, 2011). A special Master appointed by the court determined that indeed Nebraska breached the compact by knowingly failing to ensure effective compliance with its obligations set out in the settlement. Additionally, the Special Master found out that, prior to the final compliance check, Nebraska had been issued yearly warnings for exceeding its allotment in the compact (Rosales & Petoskey, 2013). Despite the undertaking, it failed to set up ample compliance mechanism. Therefore, it knowingly subjected the state of Kansas to a huge risk of receiving little water than was allotted in the compact.

Discuss the relevance and Applicability of this case to my Current Line of Work

Kansas verse Nebraska case reiterates the importance of forming a valid contract that has met all the significant elements of a contract. The case focuses on the legal recourse that the state of Kansas chose to resolve its disputes with the state of Nebraska (Rosales & Petoskey, 2013). Seeking remedy to damages due to losses incurred as a result of breach of contract relinquishes control of the outcome to the judges who determines a solution that is binding for both parties. The case acts as evidence and can be used in future as a source of reference. All legally binding contracts will be effectively monitored to ensure compliance with the contract terms, which will in turn avoid litigation costs.

References

Andrews, N. (2011). Contract law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rosales DM and Petoskey RN. (2013). KANSAS v. NEBRASKA | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/126Orig

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