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Court clears up Guam Waterwork Authority's ambiguity

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

The Guam Waterworks Authority is a component of the government of Guam, a federal judge declared in a ruling that cleared up the ambiguous nature of the utility agency.

As a GovGuam entity, the court said, GWA may pursue its lawsuit against Badger Meter Inc. under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act/Consumer Protection Act.

GWA sued BMI for allegedly making “false and deceptive statements and actions regarding the characteristics of the water meters and the replacement of those meters.”

BMI had asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming GWA did not fall under the trade law’s definition of “consumer.” GovGuam is considered a “consumer” under the law.

But BMI argued that GWA is an autonomous $1 billion public corporation that fell within the class of a “business consumer,” which is not covered by the trade act.

The court disagreed, noting that GWA is governed by statutes that confirm its status as a GovGuam entity.

Chief Federal Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood pointed out that GWA’s employees contribute to the GovGuam Retirement Fund and are covered by GovGuam’s personnel regulations.

While GWA is an autonomous agency, it is regulated by the Consolidated Commission Utilities, whose members are elected by Guam voters in a democratic process.

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