Cases

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • This case questions whether the federal government's policy for listing killer whales under the Endangered Species Act is invalid. The Fish and Wildlife Service initially issued a proposed ruling that listing the Southern Resident was “not warranted” because the Southern Resident was not “significant” to its taxon. The district court set aside the Service's “not warranted” finding, and ordered the Service to reexamine whether the Southern Resident should be listed as an endangered species and to issue a new finding within twelve months. After again being challenged by plaintiff, the Service issued a final rule listing the Southern Resident as an endangered (as opposed to threatened) species. The Service contends that this case is now moot because it has, since the district court's decision, issued a proposed rule that recommended listing the Southern Resident as a threatened species and ultimately has issued a final rule listing the Southern Resident as an endangered species. This court agreed, and thus vacated the district court's order and remanded the case with instructions to dismiss the case as moot.

  • In this case, the court is asked to decide whether the federal government's policy for listing killer whales under the Endangered Species Act is invalid. The Center for Biological Diversity, along with eleven co-petitioners not parties to this appeal, petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to list the Southern Resident killer whale as an endangered species under the ESA. Initially, the Service issued a proposed ruling based on its DPS policy that concluded listing the Southern Resident was “not warranted” because the Southern Resident was not “significant” to its taxon. After the Center challenged this action, the district court set aside the Service's “not warranted” finding because it failed to utilize the best available scientific data when determining whether the Southern Resident was “significant” under that policy. Pursuant to the district court's order, the Service reexamined the listing petition and issued a proposed rule that recommended listing the Southern Resident as a threatened species. The Center appealed, and the Service issued a final rule listing the Southern Resident as endangered (as opposed to threatened). The Service contends that this case is now moot because it has ultimately issued a final rule listing the Southern Resident as an endangered species. This court agreed, finding that declaring the DPS Policy unlawful would serve no purpose in this case because the Service has listed the Southern Resident as an endangered species, the Center's ultimate objective.

  • In this civil action for declaratory and injunctive relief, the court found that Defendants did not violate the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) in failing to list the ribbon seal as threatened or endangered due to shrinking sea ice habitat essential to the species’ survival. Defendants did not act arbitrarily and capriciously in concluding that the impact of Russia’s commercial harvest on the ribbon seal was low, that 2050 was the “foreseeable future” due to uncertainty about global warming and ocean acidification farther into the future, or its choice of scientific and commercial data to use. The Court denied Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment and granted Defendants' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment.
  • The United States Fish and Wildlife Service completed a review of an environmental group petition that requested the Yellowstone cutthroat trout be listed as an endangered species.  The United States Fish and Wildlife Service refused to list the fish as an endangered species and the environmental group brought an action to set aside the agency's findings.  The District Court held in favor of the environmental group reasoning the agency's rejection of the petition was arbitrary and capricious and the review of the petition was not conducted properly.

  • This lawsuit arises out of the Fish and Wildlife Service's ("FWS") designation of approximately 30% of the critical habitat originally proposed for the Mexican spotted owl (Strix occidentalis lucida ) under the Endangered Species Act ("ESA").  In analyzing the FWS's decision under both the standard of review for the APA and the deference afforded by the Chevron standard, the court found that the FWS's interpretation of "critical habitat" was "nonsensical."  It is not determinative whether the habitat requires special management, but, pursuant to the ESA, it is whether the habitat is "essential to the conservation of the species" and special management of that habitat is possibly necessary.   Thus, defendant's interpretation of the ESA received no deference by the court and the court found defendant's application of the ESA unlawful, as Defendant and FWS have been repeatedly told by federal courts that the existence of other habitat protections does not relieve Defendant from designating critical habitat.  The court found that the FWS's Final Rule violated both the ESA and the APA in implementing its regulations.

  • Plaintiffs filed action against Interior and FWS to set aside FWS's finding that the desert bald eagle does not qualify as a distinct population segment (“DPS”) entitled to protection under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). Plaintiff's motions for summary judgment was granted. The Court found that FWS' 12–month finding was based on the 2007 delisting rule, which failed to comport with the notice, comment, and consultation requirements of the ESA. The Court set aside the 12–month finding as an abuse of discretion.

  • Plaintiffs Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign, Sierra Club, John Muir Project, Natural Resources Defense Council and Defenders of Wildlife move for an award of attorney fees and costs pursuant to § 11(g)(4) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 16 USC § 1540(g)(4), in connection with their efforts to have the California spotted owl listed as endangered. The Court denied the Center's motion

    for attorney fees because they failed to realize the goals of their lawsuit.

  • The issue in this case is whether the Endangered Species Act requires the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to complete formal designation of critical habitat for an endangered fish species , the threespine stickleback ("stickleback"), a small, scaleless freshwater fish, as an endangered species in 1970 under the Endangered Species Act ("ESA"), listed over thirty-five years ago. In 1990, the Bureau of Land Management ("BLM") awarded CEMEX, Inc., a contract to mine fifty-six million tons of sand and gravel from a location in Los Angeles County's Soledad Canyon. Although the mining would not take place within the stickleback's habitat, the project involves pumping water from the Santa Clara River and could cause portions of the river to run dry periodically. Parts of the Santa Clara River commonly dry out during the summer season, trapping stickleback in isolated pools. The Center for Biological Diversity ("CBD") filed suit in 2002, claiming that the Service violated the ESA by failing to complete the designation of critical habitat for the stickleback. In affirming the lower court's decision, the Ninth Circuit, held that it was not arbitrary and capricious for the Service to decide not to designate critical habitat for the stickleback. The Service was not required to ensure compliance with federal and state laws before issuing an ITS (incidental take statement) to CEMEX, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in striking extra-record exhibits offered to establish a new rationale for attacking the Service's decision.

  • Plaintiffs brought an action against the Defendants, challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”)'s November 28, 2012 Final Rule designating 30,010 acres in Idaho and Washington as critical habitat for the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). Specifically, plaintiffs alleged (1) that the Final Rule's critical habitat designation was arbitrary and capricious because the Defendants failed to explain how the limited amount of critical habitat designated was sufficient to recover this population of caribou and (2) that Defendants failed to provide public notice and comment on the substantially revised critical habitat designation before issuing the Final Rule. Defendants and Intervenors argued that the Final Rule satisfied the requirements of the ESA and the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA").While the district court stated that the Final Rule's analysis seemed reasonably based on the best available science, it refused to make a conclusive determination on the arbitrary and capricious issue because procedural requirements necessitated a further public review and comment period. The court therefore found the error in this case was a procedural one resulting from the FWS failing to provide a period of public review and comment on the Final Rule's critical change in reasoning. The Court therefore remanded this matter to the FWS to cure the procedural error by affording the necessary public comment period and to consider anew the critical habitat designation in light of those comments.
  • Plaintiff, a community of whales, dolphins, and porpoises, sued Defendants, the President of the United States and the United States Secretary of Defense, alleging violations of the (NEPA), the (APA), the (ESA), and the (MMPA).  The Plaintffs were concerned with the United States Navy's development and use of a low frequency active sonar (LFAS) system. The community alleged a failure to comply with statutory requirements with respect to LFAS use during threat and warfare conditions.
  • In this case, the court was asked to decide whether the world's cetaceans have standing to bring suit in their own name under the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the National Environmental Protection Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.  The Cetaceans challenge the United States Navy's use of Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System Low Frequency Active Sonar ("SURTASS LFAS") during wartime or heightened threat conditions.  In finding that the Cetaceans lacked standing, the court here agreed with the district court in Citizens to End Animal Suffering & Exploitation, Inc., that "[i]f Congress and the President intended to take the extraordinary step of authorizing animals as well as people and legal entities to sue, they could, and should, have said so plainly." 836 F.Supp. at 49.  In the absence of any such statement in the ESA, the MMPA, or NEPA, or the APA, the court concluded that the Cetaceans do not have statutory standing to sue.

  • The issue in this case was whether the United States may be sued under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for the actions of the National Park Service (NPS) relating to a mountain goat that attacked and killed a Park visitor. Wife of the visitor, on her own behalf and as representative of his estate, sued the NPS, claiming officials breached their duty of reasonable care by failing to destroy the goat in the years leading up to her husband’s death. The District Court dismissed the case due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction. On appeal, the court sought to determine whether an exception to the FTCA’s waiver of sovereign immunity applied. The court found the NPS’s management policies manual did not direct or mandate the NPS to take action to kill the mountain goat, and thus the NPS's management of the goat fell within the discretionary function exception. Further, the NPS’s decision to use non-lethal methods to manage a mountain was susceptible to policy analysis, which fell within the discretionary exception as well. The lower court’s decision was therefore affirmed. Senior Circuit Judge Kleinfield filed a dissenting opinion.
  • Defendant was an exporter of pet birds. He kept birds at a premises in the course of his business. Usually the birds remained on the premises for less than 48 hours before continuing their journey to their purchasers but on occasion birds had remained on the premises for up to 12 days. A magistrates' court acquitted him of keeping a pet shop without a licence (contrary to Pet Animals Act 1951, s.1). Prosecutor appealed. Result: appeal allowed. Held: even though the premises was being used as no more than a holding center, the defendant was carrying on from that premises a business of selling pets and the premises therefore required a pet shop license.

  • In this Texas case, a justice court divested an animal owner of over 100 animals and ordered that the animals be given to a nonprofit organization. The owner sought review of the forfeiture in district court. The district court subsequently dismissed appellant's suit for lack of jurisdiction. Under the Texas Code, an owner may only appeal if the justice court orders the animal to be sold at a public auction. Thus, the Court of Appeals held that the statute limiting right of appeal in animal forfeiture cases precluded animal owner from appealing the justice court order.

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