Cases

Case namesort ascending Citation Summary
Anne Arundel County v. Reeves --- A.3d ----, 2021 WL 2306720 (Md. June 7, 2021) This Maryland case examines the scope of compensatory damages available forf the tortious injury or death of a pet under Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc. (“CJP”) § 11-110, a law that allow pet owner to recover damages for the tort-based death or injury of their pet up to a capped level. The incident giving rise to this case occurred when Anne Arundel County Police Officer Rodney Price shot Micheal Reeves' dog in the front yard of Mr. Reeves' home. Officer Price was going door-to-door inquiring with residents after a recent spate of burglaries. Mr. Reeves' dog Vern burst from the front storm door and put his paw on the officer's forearm. While Officer Price stepped back and pushed the dog away, he testified that he did not vocalize any commands to the dog at that time, and, instead, decided to shoot the dog. Testimony by a veterinary pathologist at trial revealed that, if the dog were going for the officer's face as Price testified, this would have been improbable based on the dog's size as compared to the officer. Further, there was no dirt on that area of the officer's arm/chest nor any marks from the dog's paws. After a jury trial, a verdict was returned in favor of Mr. Reeves for $10,000 for the trespass to chattel claim, and $500,000 in economic damages and $750,000 in noneconomic damages for the gross negligence claim. The circuit court then reduced the gross negligence damages to $200,000 pursuant to the Local Government Tort Claims Act (“LGTCA”). CJP § 5-301 et seq. The circuit court also reduced the trespass to chattel damages to $7,500 pursuant to the then-applicable damages cap in CJP § 11-110.1. The Court of Special Appeals held in an unreported divided decision that the statute did not bar recovery of noneconomic damages. On appeal here, this court now holds that CJP § 11-110 limits the recovery for compensatory damages to the amount specified by that statute and does not allow for recovery of noneconomic compensatory damages. And while the court found there was legally sufficient evidence to support the jury's finding that Officer Price was grossly negligent, it also held that Mr. Reeves could not recover these damages due to Maryland's single recovery rule. As a matter of first impression, this court found CJP § 11-110's plain language evinces an intent to exclude those things not expressed in the statute. In other words, because the legislature defined the specific types of compensatory damages it allows, it intended to exclude other forms of damages like noneconomic damages. Further, the court found the plaintiff's reading of the statute "illogical" because economic damages would be capped, but yet noneconomic damages would not be. Thus, it would be up to the General Assembly to expressly provide for noneconomic damages in amendments to the statute. The court ultimately concluded that the statute defines and caps the recovery of compensatory damages in the case of the tortious death or injury of a pet and the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals was affirmed in part and reversed in part. The dissent noted the majority decision created a "double anomaly" in Maryland law by capping damages for victims of a tortfeasor who kills their dog but allowing a fraudster who intentionally tricks a family into selling a painting of their dog unlimited damages. Further, the dissent argued the majority ignored both judicial and ethical trends regarding pets in society and disregards the legislative debate when the statute was re-enacted showing an intent to include higher damages amounts.
Animal Welfare Institute v. Martin 588 F.Supp.2d 110, (D.Me.,2008)

After Defendant, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife (“DIFW”) adopted an emergency rule imposing limitations on the use of Conibear traps in response to a preliminary injunction issued by the Court after the death of a Canada lynx, a threatened species, Plaintiffs moved for an emergency temporary restraining order to enjoin the DIFW from allowing the use of Conibear traps for the remainder of the State’s trapping season after the death of an additional Canada lynx, caused by an illegally set Conibear trap.   The United States District Court, D. Maine denied Plaintiffs’ motion, finding that Plaintiffs failed to show a causal connection between the State’s licensure and regulation of the trapping and any Endangered Species Act violations resulting from the lynx’s death.

Animal Welfare Institute v. Martin 665 F.Supp.2d 19 (D.Me., 2009)

Plaintiffs in this case filed motions for a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order to halt the commencement of the early coyote and fox trapping season in the state of Maine. Plaintiffs claim that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIFW)Commissioner had violated the ESA by allowing trapping activities that “take” Canada lynx, a threatened species. The DIFW stated that the Court has already addressed a motion for preliminary injunction and an emergency motion for temporary restraining order, with no change to circumstances. In denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction and TRO, the Court found that Plaintiffs had not sustained their burden to justify the extraordinary remedy of an injunction. Further, the Court found that the circumstances that led the Court to deny the Plaintiffs' emergency motion for a temporary restraining order have not changed.

Animal Welfare Institute v. Martin 623 F.3d 19 (C.A.1 (Me.), 2010).

Animal welfare organizations sued the State of Maine under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to stop the authorization of trapping activity that affected Canada lynx. The Court of Appeals held that such organizations had standing to sue, but that the District Court did not err in its refusal to grant a permanent injunction banning foothold traps or other relief.

Animal Welfare Institute v. Kreps 561 F.2d 1002 (1977)

These appeals arise from a complaint filed in the District Court challenging a decision by the Government appellees to waive the moratorium imposed by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) [FN1] so as to permit importation into the United States from South Africa of baby fur sealskins.  We reverse, holding that appellants do have standing and that the Government's decision to waive the ban on importing baby fur sealskins violates the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Animal Rights Front, Inc. v. Planning & Zoning Com'n of Town of Glastonbury 2002 WL 31761999 (Conn.Super.)

The plaintiff, Animal Rights Front, Inc., an environmental intervenor, appeals from a final decision of the defendant that gave subdivision and special permit approval to an application by defendant Rejean Jacques d/b/a Rejean Realty, Inc.  The basic issue of the plaintiff's appeal relates to preservation of the Eastern Timber Rattlesnake, an endangered species common to the Diamond Lake section of Glastonbury, and its migration across the development project, which would inherently lead to mortality.  On appeal, defendants questioned plaintiff's standing because they contended that rattlesnakes do not fall under the category of "natural resources."  Relying on a companion case, the court noted that endangered species are inherently deemed natural resources.  However in dismissing plaintiff's appeal, the court found that the defendant made changes that provided for the protection of the rattlesnake and the commission reasonably relied upon these assertions by the defendant to support its conclusions so it was not required to consider alternatives to the proposed development.

Animal Rights Front, Inc. v. Jacques 869 A.2d 679 (Conn. 2005)

An environmental nonprofit organization sought an injunction to prevent a housing development from being constructed.  The nonprofit organization claimed the development was in violation of the Connecticut Endangered Species Act because it would destroy the habitat of an endangered rattlesnake.  The trial court held the development was lawful and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

Animal Protection Institute of America, Inc. v. Hodel 671 F.Supp. 695 (D.Nev.,1987)

In this case, animal protection groups sued the Secretary of the Interior to enjoin or restrain him from allowing the adoptions of wild horses and burros under circumstances where the defendants know the horses are being adopted for commercial slaughter or exploitation. Defendants opposed the motion and and argued that the Secretary has duly promulgated regulations permitting adoptions of such animals and provided that the animals are humanely cared for during the one year period provided for in 16 U.S.C. § 1333(c). This Court granted plaintiffs' motion, enjoining the Secretary from transferring the titles of wild free-roaming horses and burros to individuals who have, prior to the expiration of the one year “probationary period” expressed to the Secretary an intent to use said animals for commercial purposes.

Animal Protection Institute of America v. Mosbacher 799 F.Supp 173 (D.C. 1992)

Wildlife protection organizations, including the API, brought action against Secretary of Commerce to challenge permits for importing false killer whales and belugas for public display. Zoo association and aquarium seeking the whales intervened.  The District Court the whale watchers had standing and the permits were not abuse of discretion.

Animal Protection Institute of America v. Hodel 860 F.2d 920 (C.A.9 (Nev.),1988)

The Ninth Circuit held that the Secretary could not transfer title to a private individual whom the secretary knows will commercially exploit the adopted horse. The Secretary argued that the WFRHBA placed only one requirement on the transfer of title: the private individual must humanely care for and maintain the horse for one year prior to title transfer.  The court, however, concluded that the statute commands the secretary to not only determine that the animal has been well cared for, but also that the adopter remains a qualified individual.  Given the statute’s prohibition of commercial exploitation of wild horses as well as its concern with their humane treatment, the court concluded that a private individual cannot remain a “qualified individual” if he or she intends to commercially exploit the horse after they obtain title.

Animal Protection and Rescue League v. California Slip Copy, 2008 WL 315709 (S.D.Cal.)

Plaintiffs move for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to compel defendant City of San Diego to place a seasonal rope barrier at the La Jolla Children's Pool Beach to limit human interaction with harbor seals during pupping season. In denying the TRO, the court noted that plaintiffs failed to identify a single incident of harassment occurring since December 15, 2007 (the beginning of the pupping season) or any causal nexus between miscarriages and people walking up to the seals. While the parties agree placement of the barrier would not harm people and act as an effective tool, the court noted that the focus of irreparable harm is on the harm sought to be prevented not on the difficulty in carrying out the task.   

Animal Lovers Volunteer Ass'n, Inc. v. Cheney 795 F.Supp. 994 (C.D.Cal.,1992)

Plaintiff Animal Lovers Volunteer Association (ALVA) brought suit against Defendants United States Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Navy and United States Department of Defense alleging that the EIS for trapping red fox at a national wildlife refuge violated NEPA, the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act (NWRSAA), and the APA. The agencies had recently begun trapping red fox at the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge in order to protect two endangered bird species on the Refuge, the California least tern and the light-footed clapper rail. On review of defendants' motion for summary judgment, the District Court held that the predator control program did not violate the NWRSAA and the APA. Further, plaintiff's claim that defendants' decision not to terminate oil production at the refuge, which they contended placed the endangered species at a greater risk than the predation by foxes, was based on substantial evidence that was supported by the findings in the EIS. The court found that a rational connection existed between the findings and the decision to allow the limited amount of oil production to continue. Thus, defendants' conduct complied fully with the requirements of the NWRSAA and the APA.

Animal Lovers Volunteer Ass'n Inc., (A.L.V.A.) v. Weinberger 765 F.2d 937 (C.A.9 (Cal.),1985)
The Animal Lovers Volunteer Association (ALVA) brought this action to enjoin the Navy from shooting feral goats on San Clemente Island (a military enclave under the jurisdiction of the Navy). After the district court granted (Cite as: 765 F.2d 937, *938) summary judgment for the Navy, the ALVA appealed. This Court found that the ALVA failed to demonstrate standing, where it only asserted an organizational interest in the problem, rather than allegations of actual injury to members of the organization. The organization failed to demonstrate an interest that was distinct from an interest held by the public at large. Affirmed.
Animal Liberation Ltd v National Parks & Wildlife Service [2003] NSWSC 457

The applicants sought an interlocutory injunction to restrain the respondent from conducting an aerial shooting of goats as part of a 'cull'. The applicants claimed that the aerial shooting constituted cruelty as the goats, once wounded, would die a slow death. An injunction was granted to the applicants pending final hearing of the substantive action against the aerial shooting.

Animal Liberation Ltd v Department of Environment & Conservation [2007] NSWSC 221

The applicants sought to restrain a proposed aerial shooting of pigs and goats on interlocutory basis pending the outcome of a suit claiming the aerial shooting would constitute cruelty. It was found that the applicants did not have a 'special interest' and as such did not have standing to bring the injunction. The application was dismissed.

Animal Liberation (Vic) Inc v Gasser (1991) 1 VR 51

Animal Liberation were injuncted from publishing words claiming animal cruelty in a circus or demonstrating against that circus. They were also found guilty of nuisance resulting from their demonstration outside that circus. On appeal, the injunctions were overturned although the finding of nuisance was upheld.

Animal Legal Defense Fund, Inc. v. Thomas J. Vilsack Slip Copy, 2017 WL 627379 (D.D.C., 2017)

In this case, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) sought to intervene on a proceeding dealing with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a family owned-zoo in Iowa for alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The USDA was seeking enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act against the Iowa zoo and the ALDF sought to intervene because it has long criticized the zoo's care and handling of its animals. The ALDF was prevented from intervening by the administrative law judge (ALJ) that was presiding over the matter. The ALJ did not allow the ALDF to intervene in the matter on the basis that the “ALDF’s stated interests were beyond the scope of the proceeding.” The ALDF filed suit challenging this decision according to Section 555(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which allows “interested persons” to participate in agency proceedings “so far as the orderly conduct of the public business permits.” The court found that the ALDF should have been allowed to intervene in the proceeding according to 555(b) because the ALDF’s "demonstrated interest in the welfare of the zoo's animals falls squarely within the scope of the USDA enforcement proceeding.” The court also found that there was no evidence to suggest that having ALDF intervene would "impede the orderly conduct of the public business permits.” As a result, the court held in favor of the ALDF’s motion for summary judgment and remanded the case back the case back to USDA for further consideration of ALDF's motion to Intervene. 

Animal Legal Defense Fund, Inc. v. Perdue --- F.3d ----, 2017 WL 4320804 (D.C. Cir. Sept. 29, 2017) The Secretary of Agriculture is directed by the Animal Welfare Act to promulgate regulations governing minimum animal housing and care standards and to issue licenses for animal exhibitionists only if they adhere to these standards. The Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the Department of Agriculture for renewing Tom and Pamela Sellner's Cricket Hollow Zoo in Iowa despite multiple violations of the animal welfare requirements set forth in the Act. In fact, the USDA had filed an administrative complaint against the Sellners and commenced a formal investigation in 2015 According to the court, the USDA has established a "bifurcated" approach to licensing, where initial applicants must comply with regulations and pass an agency compliance inspection, while license renewal applicants must only pay a fee and agree to continue to comply with regulations. After the District Court's dismissal of the case, the Court of Appeals affirmed in part but remanded back to the District Court the question whether the USDA's reliance on self-certification was an arbitrary and capricious action with instructions to get further explanation from the agency. As stated by the court, "On remand, the agency must, at a minimum, explain how its reliance on the self-certification scheme in this allegedly “smoking gun” case did not constitute arbitrary and capricious action."
Animal Legal Defense Fund, Inc. v. Espy 23 F.3d 496 (C.A.D.C.,1994)
In this case, animal welfare groups and two individuals challenged the regulation promulgated by Department of Agriculture that failed to include birds, rats, and mice as “animals” within meaning of Federal Laboratory Animal Welfare Act (FLAWA). The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, denied defendant's motion to dismiss, and subsequently granted plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. Defendant appealed. The Court of Appeals held that plaintiffs could not demonstrate both constitutional standing to sue and statutory right to judicial review under the APA. The Court vacated the district court's judgment and remanded the case with directions to dismiss.
Animal Legal Defense Fund, Inc. v. Aubertine 991 N.Y.S.2d 482 (2014) Petitioners seek, among other things, a declaration that force-fed foie gras is an adulterated food product and an order prohibiting the state respondents from allowing foie gras into the human food supply. Pre-answer motions to dismiss asserted, among other things, that petitioners lacked standing. Supreme Court granted dismissal upon such ground and petitioners appealed. Petitioner Stahlie contended he had standing based upon allegations that he occasionally ate foie gras at parties and other events and that this might increase his risk of developing secondary amyloidosis. The court, however, found the risk of exposure to be minimal and the indication of harm uncertain since Stahlie had no underlying medical conditions that might be related to an increased risk of secondary amyloidosism, that his exposure to foie gras was infrequent, and that he did not cite a situation of any person ever suffering secondary amyloidosis that was linked to foie gras. The Animal Legal Defense Fund argued that since it used its resources to investigate and litigate the alleged conduct of the state respondents, it had standing. The court, however, found that a finding of standing under this situation would essentially eliminate the standing requirement any time an advocacy organization used its resources to challenge government action or inaction. Lastly the court found that petitioners had not alleged ‘a sufficient nexus to fiscal activities of the state to allow for State Finance Law § 123-b standing.’ The lower court’s decision was therefore affirmed.
ANIMAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY, SHY 38, INC. & HOPE SANCTUARY, Plaintiffs, v. LAURA KELLY & DEREK SCHMIDT, Defendants Slip Copy, No. CV 18-2657-KHV, 2020 WL 362626 (D. Kan. Jan. 22, 2020) The Animal Legal Defense Fund (“ALDF”), Center for Food Safety (“CFS”), Shy 38, Inc. and Hope Sanctuary are interest groups that aim to protect and advocate for animals and the environment. These interest groups filed suit on December 4, 2018 against the Governor and Attorney General of Kansas seeking a declaratory judgment that the Kansas Animal and Field Crop and Research Facilities Protect Act was unconstitutional. The Act made it a crime to damage or destroy an animal facility or an animal, exercise control over an animal facility or animal from a facility, take photos or videos at an animal facility that that is not open to the public, and remain at an animal facility against the owner’s wishes. Both parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. ALDF desired to conduct an undercover investigation in Kansas but refrained from doing so out of fear of criminal prosecution under the Act. The Plaintiffs alleged that the Act violated their First Amendment right to freedom of speech. To be subject to criminal prosecution under subsection (a) of K.S.A. 47-1827, the ALDF investigator had to cause physical damage to an animal or the animal facility or its property. The Plaintiffs did not allege that the ALDF investigator intended to cause such physical damage so the ALDF investigator was not at risk of criminal prosecution under the provision and, therefore, ALDF did not demonstrate standing to challenge subsection (a). ALDF alleged sufficient injury to support standing to challenge subsections (b), (c), and (d) of the Act. CFS, Shy 38, and Hope Sanctuary also had standing to challenge those subsections. The Court found that subsections (b), (c), and (d) regulated speech rather than conduct and was content-based rather than neutral-based. The Court ultimately concluded that the Plaintiffs were entitled to summary judgment on their claim that subsections (b), (c), and (d) violated the First Amendment. The Defendants were entitled to summary judgment on their lack of standing claim for subsection (a) and K.S.A. 47-1828.
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Woodley 640 S.E.2d 777; 2007 WL 475329 (N.C.App., 2007)

In this North Carolina Case, Barbara and Robert Woodley (defendants) appeal from an injunction forfeiting all rights in the animals possessed by defendants and the removal of the animals from defendants' control, and an order granting temporary custody of the animals to the Animal Legal Defense Fund. On 23 December 2004, plaintiff filed a complaint against defendants seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions under North Carolina's Civil Remedy for Protection of Animals statute (Section 19A). N.C. Gen.Stat. § 19A-1 et seq. (2005). Plaintiff alleged that defendants abused and neglected a large number of dogs (as well as some birds) in their possession. On appeal, defendants argue that Section 19A is unconstitutional in that it purports to grant standing to persons who have suffered no injury, and that it violates Article IV, Section 13 of the N.C. Constitution by granting standing through statute. The court held that Article IV, Section 13 merely “abolished the distinction between actions at law and suits in equity," rather than placing limitations on the legislature's ability to create actions by statute, contrary to defendants' interpretation.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Veneman 469 F.3d 826 (9th Cir.(Cal.), 2006)

Plaintiffs, who include the Animal Legal Defense Fund ("ALDF"), the Animal Welfare Institute ("AWI"), and three individuals, challenged the United States Department of Agriculture's ("USDA") decision not to adopt a Draft Policy that would have provided guidance to zoos, research facilities, and other regulated entities in how to ensure the psychological well-being of nonhuman primates in order to comply with the federal Animal Welfare Act ("AWA"). Plaintiffs challenge the decision not to adopt the Draft Policy under the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA") as arbitrary and capricious. The district court did not reach the merits of plaintiffs' suit because it determined that the USDA's decision did not constitute reviewable final agency action. This court disagreed, finding that at least one of the plaintiffs has standing under Article III of the Constitution. Further, the court concluded that the district court has authority under the APA to review the USDA's decision not to adopt the Draft Policy. Opinion Vacated on Rehearing en Banc by Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Veneman , 490 F.3d 725 (9th Cir., 2007).

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Veneman 490 F.3d 725 (9th Cir. 2007)

Plaintiffs, who include the Animal Legal Defense Fund ("ALDF"), the Animal Welfare Institute ("AWI"), and three individuals, challenged the United States Department of Agriculture's ("USDA") decision not to adopt a Draft Policy that would have provided guidance to zoos, research facilities, and other regulated entities in how to ensure the psychological well-being of nonhuman primates in order to comply with the federal Animal Welfare Act ("AWA").  The district court granted USDA's motion to dismiss, to which the ALDF timely appealed. Over a vigorous dissent, an appeals court panel reversed the district court's decision. After a sua sponte call, however, a majority of active judges voted to rehear the case en banc. Yet, before the rehearing occurred, the parties had reached a settlement and had agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice provided that the panel's opinion and judgment were vacated. The majority of the en banc panel agreed to vacate the panel's opinion and judgment with prejudice, but Judge Thomas filed the dissenting opinion.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. United States Department of Agriculture 2016 WL 7235624 (C.D. Cal. Dec. 14, 2016)

Foie gras is a food product made from the liver of a duck or goose. To create it, the duck or goose is force-fed a special mix of food which causes a large buildup of fat in the bird's liver. This gives the product its signature taste. Plaintiffs, Animal Legal Defense Fund, comprised of four animal rights organizations and three individuals. The Defendant, United States Department of Agriculture, comprised of the Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS), and two individuals. Plaintiff Animal Legal Defense Fund asked Defendant (FSIS) to initiate rulemaking under the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) “to exclude Foie gras from the food supply as an adulterated and diseased product.” They argued that the force-feeding process could cause infections and illnesses for the animals and the consumption of the birds could trigger the onset of illness and disease in humans. FSIS denied the petition to ban the food product. The Plaintiff Animal Legal Defense Fund then filed this action for judicial review. Defendant FSIS argued that the Plaintiffs lacked Article III standing, that the PPIA does not protect the interests asserted by the animal rights organizations, and that in any event, FSIS acted within its discretion in denying the petition. The United States District Court, C.D. California concluded that the Plaintiff, Animal Legal Defense Fund had standing to bring this action and that their interests fell within the “zone” of interests protected by the PPIA. However, the Court also held that Defendants, United States Department of Agriculture, did not act arbitrarily, capriciously, or contrary to law in denying the petition. Accordingly, the Court Granted the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, and Denied Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 789 F.3d 1206 (11th Cir. 2015) Animal Advocacy Organizations argued the district court erred in ruling United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s decision to renew an exhibitor’s license did not violate the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). According to the organizations, the USDA may not renew a license when USDA knows an exhibitor is noncompliant with any animal welfare standards on the anniversary of the day USDA originally issued the license. The 11th Circuit, however, found it had subject matter jurisdiction to review the organizations' challenge to the renewal under the Administrative Procedure Act, and that the USDA's interpretation—which did not condition renewal on compliance with animal welfare standards on the anniversary of the license issuance date—was a reasonable one. The district court’s decision was therefore affirmed.
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 2013 WL 1191736 (C.D.Cal.)

The matter before the court concerns Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment and Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings with respect to subject-matter jurisdiction. Plaintiffs (ALDF and others) petitioned the USDA and FSIS to promulgate regulations condemning force-fed foie gras as an adulterated food product under the Poultry Products Inspection Act (“PPIA”). FSIS refused to do so, concluding that foie gras was not adulterated or diseased; Plaintiffs then filed the instant lawsuit claiming that decision was arbitrary, capricious, and in violation of the APA. The Court determined that the instant action is not about promulgating rules, but about banning force-fed foie gras. Such a decision falls under the USDA's discretion by law.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. State, Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries 140 So.3d 8 (La.App. 1 Cir. 4/25/13)

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), along with others, filed a petition for injunctive relief and a writ of mandamus against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fish (DWF) for permitting the exhibit of a real tiger ("Tony") at a truck stop owned by Michael Sandlin. An ordinance prohibiting the display of wild animals was in effect when Tony was acquired. Subsequent to that, the Louisiana legislature adopted a law that required those who legally held big cats who were "grandfathered in," obtain a permit from the DWF. After Tony's caretaker, Michael Sandlin was denied a DWF permit because he was not in compliance with the Parish ordinances, Sandlin sued the Parish. The Parish then carved out an exception for him in the ordinances and the DWF, through Secretary Barham, issued a state permit to Sandlin. ADLF and others sued, alleging that the permit violated Louisiana law and the renewal of the permit was arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion.  At the first trial court hearing, the trial court issued a judgment granting the preliminary and permanent injunction ordering DFW to revoke the permit, but the truck stop owner alleged he had not received notice of the hearing and therefore decided to intervene. Once the truck stop was allowed to intervene, a hearing on all pending issues was held, which resulted in the intervenors appealing the trial court’s judgment and the trial court’s denial for a new trial. On appeal here, the appeals court dismissed the appeal, in part, and affirmed, in part, the November 17, 2011 judgment of the trial court. With regard to the issue of standing for the injunction, this court found that the individual named plaintiffs (residents of Louisiana) had taxpayer standing, but the court did not find that plaintiff ALDF alleged and proved sufficient interest to sustain a right of action seeking an injunction against any unlawful conduct by DWF. That part of the November 17, 2011 judgment of the trial court was reversed. Further, the court found that, based on factual findings, there was no error in the trial court's legal conclusion that Michael Sandlin did not meet the legal requirements for a Potentially Dangerous Wild Quadruped permit, and that permanent injunctive relief, enjoining DWF from issuing Michael Sandlin future permits for Tony, was warranted. That part of the trial court judgment was affirmed.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Reynolds 297 F.Supp.3d 901 (S.D. Iowa, 2018) Plaintiffs, a collection of local and national non-profit organizations brought this action alleging that Iowa Code § 717A.3A, which criminalizes agrigcultural facility fraud by either obtaining access to an agricultural facility on false pretenses or making a false statement or false representation in regard to the application or agreement to be employed by an agricultural facility, impeded their ability to advocate for their respective causes. Some of the non-profit organizations listed as plaintiffs, engaged in undercover investigations where investigators serve as employees at argricultural facilities to gather information about the inner workings of slaughterhouses and other facilities. The plaintiffs alleged that the Iowa statute was unconstitutional on its face becuase it violated the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Discrict Court determined that the plaintiffs have standing to make their claim and have an injury sufficient to suppor their standing. The defendants sought a motion to dismiss. The District Court ultimately denied the motion to dismiss with respect to the First Amendment claim and granted the motion to dismiss with respect to the Equal Protection claim.
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Reynolds 297 F.Supp.3d 901 (S.D. Iowa Feb. 27, 2018) In 2012, Iowa passed a statute (Iowa code § 717A.3A) that criminalized gaining access to agricultural facilities under false pretenses and making a false representation on a job application for those facilities. Plaintiffs in this case (animal rights groups including the Animal Legal Defense Fund and PETA) brought suit alleging that the statute was unconstitutional and sought to enjoin the Defendants (governor of Iowa) from enforcing it. Their complaint alleged that the statute violates the First Amendment as discrimination on the basis of content, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by targeting animals rights groups, and violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by burdening the freedom of speech. This case decides the Defendants’ motion to dismiss the Plaintiffs’ complaint based on lack of standing and failure to state a claim because the outlawed conduct is not protected by the First Amendment as false statements and is rationally related to the legitimate government interest of protecting private property, thereby not violating the Fourteenth Amendment. The court denies Defendants' motion with respect to the First Amendment, concluding that Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged the intent to suppress their message because of their viewpoint. However, the court grants the motion to dismiss for the claim of a Fourteenth Amendment violation because the statute in fact serves a legitimate government purpose in protecting private property.
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Otter 44 F. Supp. 3d 1009 (D. Idaho 2014) In a ‘hold your tongue and challenge now’ First Amendment challenge to an Idaho statute that criminalizes undercover investigations and videography at “agricultural production facilities,” the Animal Legal Defense Fund, as well as various other organizations and individuals, (collectively, “ALDF”), brought suit. The State defendants, Governor Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, moved to dismiss the ALDF's claims. The claims against the Governor were dismissed under 11th Amendment immunity because the ALDF failed to explain the requisite connection between the Governor and enforcement of section 18–7024. The court also found that since the ALDF failed to allege a concrete plan to violate subsection (e), it lacked standing to challenge section 18–7042(1)(e) and the claim in regards to that provision was therefore dismissed. However, the ALDF’s First Amendment, bare animus Equal Protection, and preemption claims survived the motion to dismiss.
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Mendes 72 Cal.Rptr.3d 553 (Cal.App. 5 Dist., 2008)

Appellants ALDF asserted causes of action for violation of Penal Code section 597t for confining calves without an “adequate exercise area,” and for commission of unfair business practices under Business and Professions Code section 17200 et seq. In affirming the lower court's decision to dismiss the action, this court held that there is no private cause of action pursuant to Penal Code section 597t under the present circumstances, and none of the appellants have shown an ability to allege any facts of economic injury.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. LT Napa Partners LLC, 234 Cal. App. 4th 1270, 184 Cal. Rptr. 3d 759 (Cal. Ct. App. 2015), review filed (Apr. 16, 2015) Plaintiff and respondent Animal Legal Defense Fund filed an action against defendants and appellants LT Napa Partners LLC and Kenneth Frank for unfair competition, alleging defendants sold foie gras in their Napa restaurant in violation of California law. Defendants moved to strike plaintiff's claim pursuant to the anti-SLAPP statute, arguing it was exercising its free speech rights by protesting the law. Defendants appealed the trial court's denial of the motion. The appeals court affirmed the lower court's decision because the ALDF demonstrated probability of prevailing on the claim that it had standing under Unfair Competition Law (UCL); showed basis for liability against chef; and showed probability of prevailing on its claim that owner and chef unlawfully sold foie gras.
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Herbert Slip Copy 2017 WL 2912423 (D. Utah July 7, 2017) This case deals with the constitutionality of Utah's "ag gag" law, enacted in 2012. The law criminalizes lying to obtain access to an agricultural operation and the subsequent recording or filming once inside. According to statements made enactment, it is directed at undercover operations that investigate farm animal abuse. Plaintiffs assert that the law violates their First Amendment rights. On review of motions, the court first looked at whether the First Amendment applies to this type of "lying." Because a recent U.S. Supreme Court case makes lying that causes "cognizable legal harm" outside the protection of the First Amendment, the court examined the type of lying at issue in the Utah law. Ultimately, the court found that lying to gain access to these agricultural facilities does not in itself cause a legally cognizable harm. Thus, "absent an additional showing of harm, under either interpretation, at least some of the lies criminalized by the Act retain First Amendment protection." With regard to First Amendment protections for the act of recording once at an agricultural operation and whether a strict scrutiny standard applies, the court looked to other circuits that found the act of making speech (i.e., recording/filming) is protected. The State countered with the fact that such recording occurs on private property, but the court found the government cannot place criminal restrictions on speech simply because it occurs on private property. The court noted that the property owner can indeed remove the person from the property and sue for any damages resulting from the trespass, which is different than prosecution by the state to curtail speech. Finally, after finding that the act impinges protected speech, the court then analyzed whether it withstood a strict scrutiny review. The State proffered government interests that include concerns over worker protection and disease outbreak. However, the court noted nothing in the legislative history on these claims or any actual incidents that supported these asserted government interests. The court found the Act did not survive strict scrutiny as it was not narrowly tailored and instead was directed at the content of the speech (the act of recording a facility). The Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment was granted and the State's Motion for Summary Judgment was denied.
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Herbert 2013 WL 4017889 (D. Utah July 22, 2013) The Animal Legal Defense Fund and other plaintiffs challenged Utah Code Ann. § 76-6-112, which criminalizes recording images or sounds at industrialized farming operations, and entering industrialized farming operations by false pretenses or misrepresentation. The Plaintiffs alleged that § 76-6-112 violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Defendants moved to dismiss on the grounds that the Plaintiffs had not suffered actual harm, and thus did not have standing. The U.S. District Court Judge dismissed some Plaintiffs from the case, but allowed it to move forward.
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. California Exposition and State Fairs 239 Cal. App. 4th 1286 (2015) Plaintiffs brought a taxpayer action against defendants based on allegations that defendants committed animal cruelty every summer by transporting pregnant pigs and housing them in farrowing crates at the state fair. One defendant, joined by the other, demurred, contending plaintiffs' complaint failed to state a cause of action for three distinct reasons, including that California's animal cruelty laws were not enforceable through a taxpayer action. The trial court agreed on all accounts, and sustained the demurrer without leave to amend. The Court of Appeals addressed only one of plaintiffs' claims, that contrary to the trial court's conclusion, plaintiffs could assert a taxpayer action to enjoin waste arising out of defendants' alleged violation of the animal cruelty laws. Like the trial court, the appeals court rejected plaintiffs' contention, concluding that they could not circumvent the prohibition recognized in Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Mendes (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 136, which concluded that recognition of a private right of action under West's Ann.Cal.Penal Code § 597t would be inconsistent with the Legislature's entrustment of enforcement of anti-cruelty laws to local authorities and humane societies, by couching their claim as a taxpayer action. The lower court’s decision was therefore affirmed.
Animal Legal Defense Fund Boston, Inc. v. Provimi Veal Corp. 626 F.Supp. 278 (D.Mass.,1986)

District Court found that federal law preempts Massachusetts's consumer protection statute that requires retailers to inform consumers of relevant information, the disclosure of which may have influenced the buyer or prospective buyer not to enter into the transaction. The District Court also held that the Animal Legal Defense Fund could not enforce a cruelty to animals claim because it involves criminal statutes that only public prosecutors and legislatively-sanctioned groups may enforce.

Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Wasden 878 F.3d 1184 In 2012, an animal rights activist went undercover to get a job at an Idaho dairy farm and then secretly filmed ongoing animal abuse there. Mercy for Animals, an animal rights group, publicly released portions of the video, drawing national attention. The dairy farm owner responded to the video by firing the abusive employees who were caught on camera, instituting operational protocols, and conducting an animal welfare audit at the farm. Local law enforcement authorities launched an investigation that culminated in the conviction of one of the employees for animal cruelty. After the video's release, the dairy farm owner and his family received multiple threats. In 2012, an animal rights activist went undercover to get a job at an Idaho dairy farm and then secretly filmed ongoing animal abuse there. Mercy for Animals, an animal rights group, publicly released portions of the video, drawing national attention. The dairy farm owner responded to the video by firing the abusive employees who were caught on camera, instituting operational protocols, and conducting an animal welfare audit at the farm. Local law enforcement authorities launched an investigation that culminated in the conviction of one of the employees for animal cruelty. After the video's release, the dairy farm owner and his family received multiple threats. Animal rights advocacy organization brought action against the Governor and Attorney General of Idaho, challenging statute that criminalized interference with agricultural production facilities as violative of the First Amendment's free speech protections, violative of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and preempted by federal law. The United States District Court for the District of Idaho entered summary judgment in favor of organization and granted organization's motion to permanently enjoin enforcement of the statute. The court held that 1) Idaho statute criminalizing entry into an agricultural production facility by misrepresentation violated First Amendment; 2) Idaho statute criminalizing obtaining records of an agricultural production facility by misrepresentation did not violate First Amendment; 3) Idaho statute criminalizing obtaining records of an agricultural production facility by misrepresentation did not violate Equal Protection Clause; 4) Idaho statute criminalizing obtaining employment with an agricultural production facility by misrepresentation with the intent to cause economic or other injury to the facility's operations, property, or personnel, did not violate First Amendment; 5) Idaho statute criminalizing obtaining employment with an agricultural production facility by misrepresentation with the intent to cause economic or other injury to the facility's operations, property, or personnel did not violate Equal Protection Clause; and 6) Idaho statute prohibiting a person from entering a private agricultural production facility and, without express consent from the facility owner, making audio or video recordings of the conduct of an agricultural production facility's operations violated First Amendment. Affirmed in part; reversed in part.
Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Vaught 8 F.4th 714 (8th Cir. 2021) Several animal advocacy organizations filed a complaint against the Vaughts and Peco Foods, Inc. seeking an order that would prevent defendants from bringing a civil suit under Ark. Code Ann. § 16-118-113 (colloquially known as Arkansas' "ag gag" law). The statute at issue provides a civil cause of action for unauthorized access to protected properties described under the law. Plaintiffs claim that the statute violates their right to free speech under the First Amendment by chilling them from engaging in activities protected under the First Amendment. In particular, the plaintiffs have "specific and definite plans" to investigate the defendants' chicken slaughterhouses and pig farms by sending undercover investigators to seek employment with defendants and collect information in an effort to support their mission to "reform[] animal agriculture." The district court found that plaintiffs failed to establish Article III standing to sue, finding that the injury at hand was too speculative. On appeal here, the court noted found that plaintiffs established the three primary elements of standing from the Lujan case ("(1) an injury in fact, (2) a causal relationship between the injury and the challenged conduct, and (3) that a favorable decision will likely redress the injury."). First, but for the statute, plaintiffs allege that they would engage in the protected constitutional conduct. Second, the plaintiffs adequately outlined their intention to engage in a course of conduct that is proscribed by the statute. Finally, the court found a credible threat of enforcement that was objectively reasonable. This is bolstered by the fact plaintiffs have successfully engaged in the conduct at other facilities in the past. While defendants contend that there is no credible threat that they would enforce the statute because these organizations would not find entry to their facilities worthwhile. However, plaintiffs presented allegations that indeed they would be interested in documenting the plaintiffs' operations because of the conditions of pigs in "nearly immovable quarters" and the use of controversial methods of slaughter. The court was equally unpersuaded by defendants' claims that there is no injury in fact since plaintiffs are not poised to publish any information gathered from their facilities. Additionally, plaintiffs sent letters to defendants asking them to waive their rights to sue and neither defendant responded. Thus, the complaint sufficiently established a case or controversy. The lower court judgment was reversed and the case was remanded.
Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Otter Not Reported in F.Supp.3d, 2015 WL 4623943 (D. Idaho Aug. 3, 2015) The Animal Legal Defense Fund, and various other organizations and individuals, challenge Idaho Code § 18–7042 as unconstitutional. Section 18-7042 criminalizes undercover investigations of agricultural production facilities. ALDF alleges that § 18–7042 has both the purpose and effect of stifling public debate about modern agriculture and raises two substantive constitutional challenges against the State: (1) violation of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment; and (2) violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court first found that § 18–7042 is both content and viewpoint based, and thus, must survive the highest level of scrutiny. The Court held that the law does not survive strict scrutiny because it "would contravene strong First Amendment values to say the State has a compelling interest in affording these heavily regulated facilities extra protection from public scrutiny." Even if the interests in property and privacy of these industries is compelling, the law is not narrowly tailored as it restricts more speech than necessary and poses a "particularly serious threat to whistleblowers' free speech rights." Finally, the Court found that the law also violated the Equal Protection clause because the law was spurred by an improper animus toward animal welfare groups, furthers no legitimate or rational purpose, and classifies activities protected by the First Amendment based on content. ALDF's motion for summary judgment was granted.
Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Olympic Game Farm, Inc. --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2019 WL 2191876 (W.D. Wash. May 21, 2019) This case has to do with the mistreatment and unsafe captivity of numerous animals kept at a roadside zoo in Sequim, Washington called Olympic Game Farm (OGF). The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) alleged that OGF’s failure to abide by the Federal Endangered Species Act, as well as alleged violations of Washington State animal cruelty laws created a public nuisance. OGF admitted one of the allegations, specifically, that they are not accredited but possess or display Roosevelt Elk. That was an admitted violation of Washington law which makes it unlawful for a non-accredited facility to possess such a species. That single admission supported ALDF’s public nuisance claim in addition to all of the other alleged state violations. The court stated that ALDF met the "low bar" of standing in a public nuisance context. Accordingly, OGF’s Motion to Dismiss was denied.
Animal Hospital of Elmont, Inc. v. Gianfrancisco 418 N.Y.S.2d 992 (N.Y.Dist.Ct., 1979)

In this New York case, defendant presented his puppy to plaintiff-animal hospital for treatment. After discussions between about the cost of the care, defendant apparently felt that he would not be allowed to retrieve the puppy from the hospital's possession. As a consequence, plaintiff sent a letter to defendant describing the balance owed, and stating that the hospital would retain the puppy for 10 more days after which it would "take care of the dog in accordance with the legal methods available to dispose of abandoned dogs." The issue on appeal is whether this letter qualified as noticed required by the Agriculture and Markets Act, Sec. 331. The court found that it did not comply with the statutory requirements and thus, plaintiff was responsible for defendant's loss of his puppy valued at $200 at trial. Plaintiff was entitled to a judgment on its complaint for the costs of care amounting to $309.

Andrus v. L.A.D. 875 So.2d 124 (La.App. 5 Cir., 2004)

Patron sued dog owner for damages after an alleged attack.  The Court of Appeals, in reversing a finding for the patron, held that the patron did not establish that the dog posed an unreasonable risk of harm, which precluded a strict liability finding, and, that patron did not prove that the dog owner was negligent.  Reversed.

Andrus v. Allard 444 U.S. 51 (1979)

The Court holds that the narrow exception in the BGEPA for "possession and transportation" of pre-existing eagles and eagle artifacts does not extend to sale of the those lawfully obtained artifacts.  The legislative history and plain language of the statute is clear on Congress' intent to prohibit any commerce in eagles.  This prohibition on commerce in eagle artifacts does not constitute an unconstitutional taking because the ability to sell the property is but one strand in the owner's bundle of property rights.  The denial of one property right does not automatically equate a taking.  For further discussion on the prohibition in commerce of pre-existing eagle artifacts, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.

Andrews v. City of West Branch Iowa 454 F.3d 914 (8th Cir., 2006)

Appellants filed a suit against defendant, City of West Branch, Iowa and former police chief Dan Knight, seeking damages and relief under Section 1983. The dog was killed by Knight in the owners' fenced backyard in view of one of the plaintiffs. The district court's grant of summary judgment for the officer was reversed and the case was remanded for a jury trial.

Anderson v. State Department of Natural Resources 693 N.W.2d 181 (Minn. 2005)

A paper manufacturing company sprayed pesticides on their tree grove, but accidentally over sprayed killing some of plaintiff's commercial bees.  The commercial beekeeper sued the paper manufacturing company and the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the paper company.  The Supreme Court of Minnesota ultimately reversed the grants of summary judgment on the commercial beekeeper's negligence claims and affirmed dismissal of the nuisance claims. 

Anderson v. State (Unpublished) 877 N.E.2d 1250 (Ind. App. 2007)

After shooting a pet dog to prevent harm to Defendant's own dog, Defendant challenges his animal cruelty conviction.  Defendant argues that since he was attempting to kill the dog, he did not intend to torture or mutilate the dog within the meaning of the statute.  The court affirms his conviction, reasoning that the evidentiary record below supported his conviction.

Anderson v. Evans 314 F.3d 1006 (9th Cir. 2002)

Concerned citizens and animal conservation groups brought an action against United States government, challenging the government's approval of quota for whale hunting by Makah Indian Tribe located in Washington state.  On appeal by the plaintiffs, the Court of Appeals held that the failure of the government to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement before approving a whale quota for the Makah Tribe violated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The court also found that the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) applied to tribe's proposed whale hunt, as the proposed whale takings were not excluded by the treaty with the tribe.

Anderson v. Evans 371 F.3d 475 (9th Cir. 2004)

Advocacy groups challenged governments approval of quota for whale hunting by the Makah Indian Tribe.  The Court of Appeals held that in granting the quota, the government violated the NEPA by failing to prepare an impact statement, and, that the MMPA applied to the tribe's whale hunt.  REVERSED.

Anderson v. Creighton 483 US 635 (1987)

Suit was brought against FBI agent seeking damages resulting from warrantless search of residents' home.

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