Cases

  • The district court held that the Secretary's Initial Finding, triggering a change in the dolphin-safe label standard, was not in accordance with the law and constituted an abuse of discretion because the Secretary failed to (1) obtain and consider preliminary data from the congressionally mandated stress studies and (2) apply the proper legal standard to the available scientific information. We affirm.

  • This action in tort was instituted by plaintiff, as the administrator of the estate of his minor son, against the defendant to recover the value of a quarter-horse mare and a stillborn colt, and for damages occasioned by shock and mental anguish suffered by the son, as well as for services of a veterinarian and medicines used in treatment of the mare following her wounding by a shotgun blast intentionally inflicted by the defendant. The Court of Appeal in upheld an award of $250 for shock and mental anguish experienced by the child who could not stop crying about the loss of his horse and the colt that never was. As the court stated, "Under the facts and circumstances, an award of $250 for shock and mental anguish suffered by the minor would, in our opinion, do justice between the parties."

  • In this Florida case, the defendant appealed from an adverse judgment involving the sale of a bird dog. The complaint alleged that the defendant was a professional bird dog trainer and field trial handler and as such knew the qualifications necessary for a dog to have in order to compete successfully on the major field trial circuit. Plaintiff claimed that, in order to induce the plaintiff to purchase a bird dog then owned by the defendant, defendant falsely represented and warranted that the dog was of such quality and was, as is generally known in field trial parlance, a 'three-hour dog.' After plaintiff had the dog for a short time, the plaintiff found that the warranty as to soundness was not true but that the dog was infected with heart worms at the time of sale and was not a 'three-hour dog.' Thereupon the plaintiff sought to rescind the contract by returning the dog and demanding back the purchase price of which defendant refused. On appeal, defendant contended that the jury instructions failed to inform the jurors that where the sale of an animal for a particular purpose is involved, there can be no recovery for the breach of an implied warranty unless it is shown by the buyer that he or she made known to the seller the particular purpose for which the animal was being purchased and relied on the seller's skill and judgment. The Supreme Court noted that this case was not bottomed upon that theory, but upon the theory that the defendant expressly warranted the dog to be a 'three-hour dog.' This express warranty carried with it the implied warranties that the animal was sound physically, was finished in his training, and was capable of running three-hour races. In other words, the Court was of the opinion that the express warranties defined by the Court in the charge to the Jury embraced and included any defined, implied warranty.

  • Pet owners were unreasonably deprived of their Fourth Amendment rights to their pet by police officer. Pennsylvania Court would recognize a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress based upon the killing of a pet.

  • Defendant was found guilty of felony cruelty to animals after a Chow mix was found near defendant's mobile home emaciated and suffering from several long-term conditions that had gone untreated. Defendant was convicted in the Circuit Court, Pasco County and was sentenced to six months of community control followed by three years of probation. She timely appealed, raising several arguments. The District Court of Florida affirmed the trial court’s decision, writing only to address her claim that the trial court erred in denying her motion for judgment of acquittal because a felony conviction for animal cruelty Florida Statutes could not be based on an omission or failure to act. In doing so, the court noted that a defendant could be properly charged with felony animal cruelty under this version of the Florida statute for intentionally committing an act that resulted in excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal by failing to provide adequate food, water, or medical treatment. The court then held that sufficient evidence existed showing that defendant owned a dog and failed, over a period of more than one year, to provide adequate food, water and needed medical care.
  • This Connecticut decision in 1885 held consequential losses as a result of the harm to an animal (a horse) to be a proper element of damages in addition to the fair market value of the animal. Specifically, the court applied fair market value, but disallowed consequential damages for lost profits where plaintiff failed to show an effort to mitigate such damages.

  • The Brownings were each charged with 32 counts of animal cruelty and convicted of five counts for their failure to provide adequate nutrition and veterinary care to their horses and cattle.  As a result, Cass County seized and boarded several of their animals at a significant cost to the county.  Although only five of those horses and cattle were ultimately deemed to be the subject of the defendants' cruelty, the appellate court affirmed the order requiring the Brownings to reimburse the county for boarding and caring for the horses and cattle during the proceedings totaling approximately $14,000 in fines and costs.

  • Texas law allows persons to kill without liability dogs that are attacking domestic animals. However, the attack must be in progress, imminent, or recent. This defense does not apply to the killing of dogs that were chasing deer or non-domestic animals.

  • Plaintiffs, individuals and environmental organizations, challenged a decision by the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) to authorize two rights-of-way for the Searchlight Wind Energy Project (“Project”) in southern Nevada (on BLM land) under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). After the District Court remanded to the BLM for further explanation, the plaintiffs moved for a permanent injunction. Plaintiffs raised claims that the activity violated the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), and the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), among other federal statutes. In effect, the plaintiffs argue that when the Court remanded for further explanation, it essentially reached the merits of their NEPA and ESA claims "by identifying explanatory gaps in the Remand Order." This then necessitated vacatur of the Record of Decision (“ROD”), Final Environmental Impact Statement (“FEIS”), and the Biological Opinion (“BiOp”). On appeal, the Court agreed with plaintiffs that clarification of the Remand Order is appropriate to include the ROD, the FEIS, and the BiOp with vacatur. Otherwise, the court notes, the Federal Defendants would get "two bites at the same apple . . . to fill the analytical gaps the Court identified in the Remand Order." The Federal Defendants must address the gaps related to: "(1) the density of desert tortoises, the adverse effects on desert tortoise habitat due to noise, and the remuneration fees and blasting mitigation measures for desert tortoises; (2) the status of FWS's recommendations regarding eagle take permitting and an Eagle Conservation Plan; and (3) BLM's conclusions about risks to bald eagles, protocols for golden eagle surveys, and risks to and mitigation measures for bat species."
  • This Kansas case presents an issue of first impression as to the proper measure of damages recoverable for injury to a pet dog.  The plaintiff's dog, a 13-year old dog of negligible market value, suffered a dislocated hip after being groomed at defendant's establishment.  The appellate court found the lower court's award of damages based on the veterinary bills was proper where the bills were not disputed and represented an easily ascertainable measure.  Specifically, the court held that  when an injured pet dog with no discernable market value is restored to its previous health, the measure of damages may include, but is not limited to, the reasonable and customary cost of necessary veterinary care and treatment. The court was unconvinced by defendant's "hyperbolic" claim that such an award would lead to a floodgate of high-dollar litigation on behalf of animals with low market values.

  • Owner of pet horses sued boarders of horses who sold them for slaughter, asserting tort of outrage, or intentional infliction of emotional distress.  The Court held that: (1) element of tort of outrage, or intentional infliction of emotional distress, requiring outrageous and intolerable conduct depends on conduct of wrongdoer, not subject of conduct; (2) boarders' actions constituted tort of outrage; and (3) award of $50,000 compensatory damages and $75,000 punitive damages was not excessive.

  • In Burlington & M.R.R.R. in Nebraska v. Cambell , 14 Colo. App. 141 (Colo. Ct. App. 1899), plaintiff’s horse was killed by a train. Although the court reversed the verdict for the plaintiff for failure to prove defendant’s negligence, the court allowed witness testimony on the market value of the mare.

  • In this Georgia case, the plaintiff-invitee was knocked into a barbed wire fence by horse that was being boarded by the property owner, suffering injuries as a result. The Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court's order of summary judgment, finding that, under dangerous-animal statute, the property owner did not know of any vicious propensity on part of horse. Further, the invitee failed to show that horse had a vicious propensity and therefore could not prevail on premises-liability claim.

  • In this Texas case, the plaintiff (Bushnell) brought an action against the defendant (Mott) for her injuries sustained when defendant's dogs attacked plaintiff. The district court granted summary judgment to defendant. The Texas Supreme Court reversed, and held that the owner of a dog not known to be vicious owes a duty to attempt to stop the dog from attacking a person after the attack has begun, and Mott's behavior after the attack had begun raises an issue of material fact whether Mott failed to exercise ordinary care over her dogs.

  • Plaintiff alleged that she had contracted Lyme disease "as a result of exposure to infested ticks" on respondent's property, and that respondent had "failed to spray the area, post signs or prevented [sic] domestic dog(s) from coming into contact with the plaintiff - jumping in her lap - thereby exposing her to a vector of the disease without her knowledge. Court found no duty toward the plaintiff and allow the motion for summary judgment against the plaintiff to stand.

  • The Forest Service builds roads in National Forests, and has to determine what density of road coverage is safe for grizzly bear survival in making its Land Use Plan. Here, the Land Use Plan did not violate the Endangered Species Act, because an agency action is not required to help the survival of an endangered species, it simply may not reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of the endangered species, grizzly bears. However, because the Forest Service relied upon a scientific study with acknowledged weaknesses to make its road standards, but failed to adequately address those weaknesses in its Final Environmental Impact Statement, the Forest Service violated NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act).

  • This California case centers on an anti-cat declawing ordinance passed by the city of West Hollywood in 2003.  On cross-motions for summary judgment the trial court concluded West Hollywood's anti-declawing ordinance was preempted by section 460 and entered judgment in favor of the CVMA, declaring the ordinance invalid and enjoining further enforcement.  On appeal, however, this Court reversed, finding section 460 of the veterinary code does not preempt the ordinance.  Although section 460 prohibits local legislation imposing separate and additional licensing requirements or other qualifications on individuals holding state licenses issued by agencies of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), it does not preclude otherwise valid local regulation of the manner in which a business or profession is performed.

  • Plaintiff, a nonprofit ballot committee established to sponsor Proposal 2, a State ballot initiative that would result in prohibiting the tethering and confinement of egg laying hens and other farm animals, brought an action against Defendant, the United States Secretary of Agriculture, alleging a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, after Defendant approved a decision by the American Egg Board (the “Egg Board”) to set aside $3 million for a consumer education campaign to educate consumers about current production practices.   The United States District Court, N.D. California granted Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction, finding that Plaintiff was likely to succeed on the merits, direct harm to Plaintiff was likely to occur if the injunction was not granted, and that the public interest would be served by granting the preliminary injunction.

  • Plaintiff alleged the requirement that his infant daughter receive a social security number as a prerequisite to obtain public benefits infringed on his free exercise of religion.  Since the court held that the the social security number requirement substantially interfered with plaintiff's free exercise of religious beliefs, the compelling interest test was applied to determine constitutionality of the regulation.  This substantial burden/compelling interest test became the model for infringement of religious exercise claims, including those under the BGEPA.  For application of this test to religious challenges to the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act .

  • The plaintiffs' dog died after being left in a hot van during transport from the Hawaii Quarantine Station to the veterinarian's office.  The court held that it was not necessary for plaintiffs to witness the dog's death to recover for serious mental distress and that medical testimony was not necessary to substantiate plaintiffs' claims of emotional distress.  In affirming the trial court's award for damages for the loss of property (the dog), the court held that the trial "court correctly applied the standards of law . . . and the issues of whether the damages were proximately caused by the defendant and have resulted in serious emotional distress to the plaintiffs are therefore within the discretion of the trier of fact."

  • North District Court of Indiana dismissed a claim that Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) preempted the plaintiff's state law claims. While a past court decision held that FMIA preempted state attempts to regulate meat inspection, this case was distinguishable because the suit focused on an alleged act of negligence that fell outside inspection of meat and because the state is not placing additional or different requirements then those set by FMIA.
  • Owner's dog was killed by a negligently driven car.  The owner sued to recover damages for loss of companionship.  The court held that dogs are personal property and damages for sentimental value, mental suffering, and emotional distress are not recoverable.

  • The petitioners' challenge is whether the Legislature can require the newly created Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) to comply with the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), when adopting rules or regulations in respect to those species of marine life that are defined as endangered, threatened, or species of special concern. The petitioners are not-for-profit groups and individuals who allege several statutory sections unconstitutionally usurp the constitutional authority of the FWCC to regulate marine life.  The FWCC and the Attorney General (respondents) disagree and argue that the Legislature can require the application of the APA and that the statutes that delineate power to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are constitutional.  The issue was whether the creation of the FWCC also gave it power to regulate endangered, threatened, and species of special concern or whether that power remained with the DEP.  The court found that such power remained with the DEP regarding endangered and threatened species of marine life.  However, it could discern no statutory basis in effect on March 1, 1998, for the DEP having regulatory or executive power in respect to a category of marine species designated "of special concern" so that portion of the challenged statutes was held unconstitutional.

  • In this Illinois case, plaintiff Judy Carl was riding her horse on a trail in the Cook County Forest Preserve when the horse upon which defendant was riding pinned its ears back, turned its body toward plaintiff's horse, and kicked plaintiff and her horse. One hoof struck plaintiff's leg, causing her injury.  In interpreting the state's Equine Act, the court observed that plaintiff's complaint against defendant was not barred by the Equine Act unless plaintiff's recreational riding of her own horse on a public trail was one of the limited activities sought to be encouraged by the Act.  After determining that there was no conflict between the Illinois EALA and Animal Control Act, the court reversed the trial court's order denying plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and entered summary judgment for plaintiff on Count I as to liability under the Animal Control Act (510 ILCS 5/16 (West 1995)).

  • After being convicted by a Superior Court bench trial and having the Superior Court’s judgment affirmed by the Court of Appeals, defendant appealed the admission of evidence recovered from his home after officers entered it without a warrant in pursuit of an aggressive and bloody dog. The Supreme Court of Indiana found that the entry was unreasonable under the Indiana Constitution and that the evidence obtained pursuant to a subsequent search warrant was inadmissible. The Superior Court's judgment was therefore reversed.
  • Plaintiffs, Carpenters Industrial Council, among several, averred that the FWS, in designating the owl as a "threatened species," violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the ESA, and the Administrative Procedure Act. Defendant, the FWS, confess legal error as to the northern spotted owl’s 2008 Critical Habitat Designation and 2008 Recovery Plan and ask that the court: (1) remand and vacate the 2008 Designation; (2) remand the 2008 Plan; and (3) order the FWS to revise its recovery plan and, if necessary, thereafter complete a new critical habitat designation. First, as to Defendant’s request to remand the designation, the court held that it, in fact, has such authority to do so, and such action is moreover appropriate, since the Washington Oversight Committee erred in proffering "jeopardizing" advice to the FWS. However, as to the whether the 2008 Designation may be vacated, the court concluded that it lacked the authority to do so "at this stage of the litigation." As to whether the 2008 Recovery Plan may be vacated, the court held that, given the interconnectedness of the 2008 Designation and the 2008 Plan, remand is appropriate.

  • A Connecticut motorist brought a negligence action against a dog owner, seeking to recover for personal injuries allegedly sustained when he took evasive action to avoid hitting dog.  The Superior Court, Judicial District of Waterbury, granted the dog owner's motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the Appellate Court held that the record was adequate for appellate review; the dog owner exercised reasonable control while walking dog; the statute allowing imposition of fine or imprisonment or both on owner of dog that interferes with motor vehicle did not apply; and the dog owner demonstrated that motorist would be unable to cure legal defects in complaint even if permitted to replead.

  • Wildlife rehabilitation permit applicant was denied a permit by the Ohio Department of Natural Resource’s Division of Wildlife. She requested an administrative hearing to challenge the denial of her application. On appeal, the court held that because wildlife rehabilitation permit applicants do not possess a private property interest in wildlife or in receiving a rehabilitation permit, the state may deny a permit based on its own discretion, so long as the decision to deny the permit is reasonably related to the state’s legitimate government interest. Therefore, even when an applicant possesses the proper credentials required to obtain a permit, the state may deny the permit in protecting the state’s legitimate government interest.

  • The Plaintiff-Appellant appeals a decision/order by the lower court to deny her motion to set aside the jury verdict or grant a new trial. At the original trial, a jury found plaintiff failed to prove her 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim that the shooting of her dog during the execution of a search warrant was an unconstitutional seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Plaintiff's dog was shot during a "no-knock" search warrant at plaintiff's residence, but the warrant team was aware that a dog would be present during the search. On appeal, this court held that the plaintiff was not entitled to a new trial because she failed to provide any “legally sufficient evidentiary basis” to show that the jury would find in her favor. The court believed that it was unlikely that a jury would find in her favor because of the fact that the dog was killed during a “no-knock” search of the home and the dog “quickly and aggressively” ran towards the police officer after he entered the home. Although the court agreed that the officers should have advised a plan to deal with the dog in a non-lethal way, it maintained that a jury would unlikely find that the officer’s use of force was unreasonable given the circumstances of this case. Affirmed.
  • Upon executing a no-knock warrant by using a battering ram to break through the front door of the plaintiff’s home, police encountered the plaintiff’s dog. An officer claimed the dog was growling, barking, and quickly and aggressively approaching him. He then fired one shot from his shotgun, striking the dog and killing him. Prior to the execution of the warrant, the officers were aware that a dog would be present and did not discuss a plan for controlling the dog or neutralizing the dog by any non-lethal means. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the police officers and municipality, alleging violations of her Fourth Amendment rights. The court denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgement and held that the issue of whether the officer acted reasonably was a question for the jury.
  • After plaintiff's cat escaped while at the defendant's animal hospital, Rock sued Dr. Carroll d/b/a The Animal Care Clinic for conversion or breach of bailment and emotional distress, seeking punitive damages and attorney fees.  The court agreed with Carroll that the trial court erred in instructing the jury on punitive and vindictive damages, as vindictive or punitive damages are recoverable only when a defendant acts maliciously, wilfully, or with a wanton disregard of the rights of others.  Plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress claim also must fail because defendant's conduct was not outrageous or egregious. 

  • Defendant Lee Carroll appealed his sentence after the trial court accepted his plea of guilty to two counts of class A misdemeanor dog bite resulting in serious bodily injury. While the court noted that Defendant's lack of criminal history was a mitigating factor, the "great personal injury" suffered by the victim far exceeded any mitigation. On each count, the trial court sentenced Carroll to 365 days, with four days suspended, and ordered “both” to “run consecutive to one another.” On appeal, Defendant argued that any consideration of the his dogs' breed was improper. However, the court found that the other evidence was sufficient to support his sentence (in a footnote the court addressed it directly: "We need not address whether the trial court erred to the extent it found the breed of his dogs to be an aggravator..."). The court was not persuaded that the nature of the offenses or the character of the offender justified revising his sentence.

  • This Georgia case involves an action for injuries received by a boy after he was attacked by the defendant's dog. The lower court granted summary judgment to the defendant and the plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Appeals held that where there was no showing that the dog ever so much as growled at a human being before the attack, the owner of dog was not liable for injuries. Evidence that the dog previously chased a cat and had engaged in a fight with another dog was insufficient to show the owner's knowledge of the dog's vicious tendencies toward humans to create liability for the owner.
  • Plaintiff horse owner sought review by writ of the judgment of the Court of Appeal, First Circuit, State of Louisiana, which held in favor of defendants, a veterinarian and his insurer, in the owner's action for veterinary malpractice that had arisen from the amputation of a horse's tail. The court held defendants were not exculpated from liability under La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:2794 and La. Civ. Code Ann. arts. 2316, 2320, where the horse had his tail wrapped too tightly resulting in avascular necrosis from loss of blood supply, gangrene, and amputation. The court held in favor of the owner, reversed the judgment of the appellate court, and reinstated the judgment of the trial court (including $34,000 in damages).

  • In this New York case, a tenant sued his landlords for injuries after he was bitten on face by pit bull owned by another tenant. The lower court denied the landlords' motion for summary judgment and granted partial summary judgment for tenant on issue of liability. On appeal, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division held that the trial court erroneously took judicial notice of vicious nature of breed of pit bulls as a whole. In fact, the court found that the IAS court "erred in circumventing the requirement for evidence concerning the particular animal by purporting to take judicial notice of the vicious nature of the breed as a whole." Thus, the landlords were not strictly liable for the tenant's injuries where there was no evidence indicating that the dog had ever attacked any other person or previously displayed any vicious behavior.

  • The owners rented a stall from the tort victim for their heifer. The heifer escaped into the yard and crashed into a gate whereupon the gate then hit the tort victim in the mouth and broke several teeth.  The Supreme Court of Oklahoma held that the heifer was not running at large, that the heifer escaped from its stall through no fault of the owners, that strict liability for trespass under Okla. Stat. tit. 4. sec. 98 (1965) was not applicable, and that any liability of the owners was required to be predicated upon negligence.

  • Ramona Casillas and Delora Stickelman brought this negligence action after suffering injuries when Casillas' vehicle collided with an eighteen-hundred pound Black Angus bull owned by Ted Schubauer. The appellate court reversed the trial court's grant of summary judgment and remanded the action for trial. The court held that, under these circumstances, a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether Schubauer could have reasonably anticipated the black bull would escape and stray onto Highway 83 where Schubauer knew the black bull escaped from a corral when confined with another bull on a prior occasion. Further, the court found there is a split of authority as to whether and to what extent the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur applies to cases involving collisions between motorists and domestic animals. Therefore, it is for the circuit court to determine whether Casillas and Stickelman are entitled to an instruction on res ipsa loquitur in light of the substantive law and the evidence at trial.

  • In 2010, the Castillo Condominium Association learned that Carlo Giménez Bianco (Giménez), a condominium resident, was keeping a dog on the premises and warned him that he would be fined unless he removed the dog. Giménez, who suffered from anxiety and depression, advised the board of directors that he planned to keep his emotional support dog and that he was entitled to do so under federal law. As a result of the conflict, Giménez was forced to vacate and sell his unit and he filed a complaint of disability discrimination with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD filed a charge of discrimination against the Association under the Fair Housing Act. An administrative law judge (ALJ) concluded that the Association had not violated the Act because Giménez failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he suffered from a mental impairment. The ALJ’s decision was appealed to the Secretary, who found that Gimenez suffered from a cognizable disability. The Court of Appeals, First Circuit, held that substantial evidence supported the Secretary's finding that the Association's refusal to allow Gimenez to keep an emotional support dog in his condominium unit as a reasonable accommodation for his disability violated the Fair Housing Act. The Association’s petition for review was denied and the Secretary’s cross petition was granted.
  • A woman had 11 cats which were in a state of neglect and were taken away from her and put with a cat protection agency. Criminal charges were dropped against the woman when it was found she was mentally ill and incapable of taking care of herself or her cats. The court found it could grant the cat protection agency ownership over the cats so they could be put up for adoption, even though the woman had not been criminal charged, and had not forfeited her cats.

  • Appellant, Pet City and Supplies, Inc. appealed from the judgment in the amount of $1,638.52 entered in favor of Appellee, Christopher A. Cavallini following a bench trial. The trial court determined that Cavallini was entitled to damages due to Pet City's violations of the Dog Purchaser Protection provisions of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL). Cavallini purchased a Yorkshire terrier puppy from Pet City that was represented as a pure bred. After several attempts, Pet City failed to supply Cavallini with the requisite registration papers. On appeal, Pet City contended that the trial court erred as a matter of law by determining a private action can be brought under the Dog provisions of the UTPCPL, and erred as a matter of law by imposing a civil penalty against Pet City under the UPTCPL. In finding that the statute does provide a private cause of action, the court looked to the purpose of the statute rather than the plain language. However, the court found the inclusion of a civil penalty in the part that allows a private action was inconsistent with the statute.

  • The issue on appeal was whether Illinois' prohibition of horsemeat for human consumption was preempted by the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) or in violation of the dormant Commerce Clause.  The court held that the statute was neither preempted nor in violation of the dormant Commerce Clause

  • Criminal conviction of defendant who tortured cats by poisoning them and burning them in microwave oven. Conviction was sustained by circumstantial evidence of cruelty and torture.

  • The Center for Biological Diversity and eighteen other nonprofit organizations appealed the district court's summary judgment in favor of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.  The Center claimed the Secretary of the Interior violated the Endangered Species Act by making an erroneous, arbitrary, and capricious determination that listing the Northern Goshawk (a short-winged, long-tailed hawk that lives in forested regions of higher latitude in the northern hemisphere and is often considered an indicator species) in the contiguous United States west of the 100th meridian as a threatened or endangered species was not warranted.  In the absence of evidence that the goshawk is endangered or likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future, the court found the FWS's decision was not arbitrary or capricious and affirmed the summary disposition.

  • The California Fish & Game Commission (Commission) rejected a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (Center) to add the California tiger salamander to the Commission’s list of endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), on grounds that the petition lacked sufficient information to indicate that the listing may be warranted. The Court of Appeal, Third District, California, held that the Trial Court did not err in directing the Commission to enter a decision accepting the Center’s petition, as inferences drawn from evidence offered in support of the petition clearly afforded sufficient information to indicate that listing action may be warranted. The Court found that information in the administrative record indicating that the salamander species “does not breed prolifically, is vulnerable to several significant threats, has lost most of its original habitat, and has been displaced by a hybrid from a significant portion of its range” was not outweighed by the Commission’s evidence and arguments regarding the introduction of artificial ponds which could provide increased breeding habitat, and the listing of the species under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

  • Plaintiff, the Center for Biological Diversity, brought an action against Defendant, the United States Coast Guard, alleging that Defendant violated the ESA by failing to consult with the NMFS to ensure that Defendant’s activities in the Santa Barbara Channel and other shipping lanes off the California Coast would not harm the continued existence of threatened and/or endangered species after Defendant amended Traffic Separation Schemes (“TSS”) and a number of blue whales were subsequently struck by ships and killed.   On the parties’ cross motions for summary judgment, the United States District Court , N.D. California dismissed Plaintiff’s claims pertaining to Defendant’s implementation of or actions under the TSS in the approaches to Los Angeles – Long Beach and granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment and denied Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment with respect to Defendant’s alleged violations of the ESA arising out of Defendant’s implementation of or actions under the TSS in the Santa Barbara Channel.

  • Defendants brought a motion to stay in an action brought by Plaintiffs seeking re-initiation of consultation under ESA with respect to the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Habitat Conservation Plan promulgated in 1995 and their Incidental Take Permit obtained in 1995, which allows incidental taking of Northern Spotted Owls for sixty years in connection with timber harvest in the Elliot State Forest.  The United States District Court granted Defendants’ motion, finding that the potential harm and likelihood of damage to Plaintiffs if the action is stayed is low. The court also found that Defendants showed an adequate likelihood of hardship in having to go forward without a stay. The stay would likely result in the action ultimately becoming moot and/or at the very least greatly simplified, therefore saving judicial time and resources.

  • Plaintiff Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) seeks to compel Defendants to perform their mandatory duty under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to publish a final listing determination for the polar bear. Plaintiffs have filed a summary judgment motion seeking an injunction and declaratory judgment to this effect. The action began back in 2005 when CBD petitioned to list the polar bear as endangered under the ESA.  Plaintiffs' action arises from Defendants' failure to issue a final listing determination and critical habitat designation by January 9, 2008-within one year of publication of the proposed rule-as required by the ESA (16 U.S.C. § 1533(b)(6)). Since Defendants missed this non-discretionary deadline, and there was no dispute of material fact, summary judgment was granted by the court.

  • Plaintiffs brought various claims against Defendants relating to Defendants’ final rule designating the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and Defendants’ promulgation of a special rule under section 4(d) of the ESA, allowing certain activities with respect to the polar bear that might otherwise be prohibited.   The United States District Court, N.D. California tentatively granted a non-profit organization’s motion to intervene with respect to the action challenging Defendants’ section 4(d) rule as contrary to the ESA, finding that although the Organization did not show that the current Plaintiffs will not adequately represent the Organization’s interest, a decision for Defendants could jeopardize the Organization’s interests and the Organization’s motion was timely.

  • In an action alleging multiple violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) pursuant to Defendants’ final rule designating the polar bear as threatened and promulgation of a special rule under section 4(d) of the ESA, Defendants Kempthorne and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service brought a motion to transfer the case to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Intervenor-Defendant Arctic Slope Regional Corporation brought a separate motion to transfer the case to the District of Alaska, and Intervenor-Defendant Alaska Oil and Gas Association filed a motion with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL Panel) seeking to transfer the case to the D.C. District Court .   The United States District Court, N.D. California denied the motion to transfer the case to the District of Alaska, and decided to take the motion to transfer to the District of Columbia into submission and rule on it once the MDL Panel has issued its decision on whether to transfer the case to the District of Columbia.

  • Cross motions for summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ claim against Defendants, the Secretary of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, alleging that the Secretary’s failure to designate critical habitat and prepare a recovery plan for the jaguar was unlawful under the ESA.   The United States District Court, D. Arizona granted Plaintiffs’ motion in part and denied Plaintiffs’ motion in part, finding that Defendants’ determination that designation of a critical habitat would not be prudent must be set aside because it did not appear to be based on the best scientific evidence available as required by the ESA, and that Defendants’ determination not to prepare a recovery plan must also be set aside and remanded for further consideration because the determination was inconsistent with Defendants’ own policy guidance and long-standing practice concerning the distinction between foreign and domestic species.

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