Federal Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
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 8 F.4th 781 (8th Cir. 2021) This appeal centers around an Iowa statute called the “Agricultural Production Facility Fraud" law that prohibited accessing agricultural production facilities by false pretenses and making false statements as part of an employment application to an agricultural production facility. Animal rights organizations filed a § 1983 action against state and county officials contending the law violated the the First Amendment free speech clause. The district court ruled that both provisions are unconstitutional and entered an injunction against enforcement of the entire statute. Here, the Eighth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part. The court found both the Access Provision and the Employment Provision constitute direct regulations of speech. However, the court held the conclude that the Access Provision's prohibition on assuming false pretenses to obtain access to an agricultural production facility is consistent with the First Amendment. In contrast, the Employment Provision did not survive strict scrutiny because is proscribes speech that is protected by the First Amendment and was not narrowly tailored. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the plaintiffs on Iowa Code § 717A.3A(1)(b), reversed the judgment declaring unconstitutional § 717A.3A(1)(a), vacated the injunction against enforcement of § 717A.3A(1)(a), (2), and (3), and remanded for further proceedings.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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, 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, 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. 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. 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 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 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 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 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, 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 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 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. 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.

Applbaum v. Golden Acres Farm and Ranch 333 F. Supp. 2d 31 (N.D. N.Y. 2004)

Minor child fell off of a horse while horseback riding at a resort ranch and sustained severe injuries.  Parents of the minor child brought a personal injury claim against the stable and the stable moved for summary judgment.  The trial court precluded summary judgment due to the existence of genuine issues of material fact relating the parent's assumption of the risk.

Arizona Cattle Growers' Association v. Salazar 606 F.3d 1160, (C.A.9 (Ariz.),2010)

Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association (Plaintiff) challenged Fish and Wildlife Service's (Defendant) designation of critical habitat for Mexican spotted owls under the Endangered Species Act. The issues were whether Defendant impermissibly included unoccupied areas as critical habitat, and whether Defendant impermissibly employed the baseline approach in its economic analysis. The Court held that 1) Defendant did not designate unoccupied areas as critical habitat because “occupied” areas included areas where the species was likely to be present, and 2) that Defendant properly applied the baseline approach because the economic impact of listing a species as endangered was not intended to be included in the economic analysis of the critical habitat designation.

Art and Antique Dealers of Am., Inc. v. Seggos --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2019 WL 3817305 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 14, 2019) The plaintiffs are trade organizations representing arts and antique dealers. Plaintiff’s members have an “economic and professional interest in. . .the purchase, sale, distribution or trading of antique elephant ivory.” The Defendant is the Commissioner of DEC which is a state agency tasked with protecting New York’s natural resources and environment. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) prohibits the import and export of endangered species and the sale, offering for sale, or movement of endangered species in interstate or foreign commerce. The prohibitions, however, had exceptions for “antique articles” that are 100 years of age or older. Those wishing to import such antique articles needed to first obtain a federal permit. Under the regulations promulgated by the Secretary of the Interior, trade of African elephant ivory is generally prohibited. Only certain items containing a de minimus quantity of ivory are exempt. The state of New York imposed a ban on elephant ivory with even narrower exceptions than the ESA. The DEC only issued licenses authorizing trade in ivory pursuant to the State Ivory Law’s exceptions. The licenses actually issued by the DEC restricted the advertisement and display of ivory products. Plaintiff’s filed this action challenging the constitutionality of the State Ivory Law on preemption and First Amendment grounds. The Plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment and the Defendants and Intervenors crossed-moved to dismiss. The Court examined the ESA and determined that section 1535(f) did not preempt the State Ivory Law because the ESA prohibitions only applied to interstate or foreign commerce while the State Ivory Law applied to intrastate commerce. As result, the exceptions contained in the State Ivory Law did not prohibit what was authorized by the ESA. The Court granted the Defendant’s motion to dismiss on Count I because it was not “the clear and manifest purpose of Congress to preempt state laws restricting purely intrastate commerce in ivory.” The Plaintiff’s second count alleged that the State Ivory Law’s permit requirement violated the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The display restriction in the license prohibited the physical display for sale of any item not authorized for intrastate sale under the State Ivory Law even if the merchant was authorized under the ESA to sell the item in interstate commerce. The Court determined that the in-store display of ivory products constituted commercial speech because the display constituted lawful activity, New York had a substantial interest in regulating the sale of ivory within its borders and the display restriction directly advanced that interest. The Court was unable to determine whether the display restriction burdened substantially more speech than was necessary to further the government’s legitimate interests. Ultimately the Court granted the Defendant’s and Intervenor’s cross-motions to dismiss with respect to preemption and denied both the Defendant’s and Plaintiff’s motions for summary judgment with respect to the First Amendment Claim.
Ascencio v. ADRU Corporation 2014 WL 204212 (N.D. Cal. 2014) (Not Reported in F.Supp.2d)

A woman, who suffers from a disability that is accompanied by deep depression and anxiety, went to a fast food restaurant with her mother and her two service dogs. Upon entering the establishment, the employees refused to serve them, forced them to leave, and retaliated against them by calling the police and threatening them with arrest. The woman and her mother sued the fast food restaurant for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related California statutes. When the fast food restaurant failed to file an answer, the court entered a default judgment against the fast food restaurant; awarded the plaintiffs with damages, court costs and attorney fees; and placed a permanent injunction against the fast food restaurant.

Ass'n des Éleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec v. Bonta --- F.4th ----, 2022 WL 1436840 (9th Cir. May 6, 2022) California prohibits the in-state sale of products that are “the result of force feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird's liver beyond normal size.” Cal. Health & Safety Code § 25982. The law had a 7.5-year grace period before it went into effect. The law has two components: first, it bans the practice of force-feeding ducks and geese to produce foie gras; and second, the law banned the in-state sale of products that are "the result" of that practice. After nine years of litigation and in their third set of appeals before this Court, the parties ask the court here to decide whether California's sales ban is preempted by the Poultry Products Inspection Act (“PPIA”) or violates the dormant Commerce Clause. As to the first issue of preemption, the plaintiff sellers contend that at least one USDA Policy Book defines foie gras as liver from poultry that has been "specially fed and fattened" and other USDA documents suggest this is done via forced-feeding. Thus, contend the sellers, it is impossible to produce and properly label foie gras, as is required by the PPIA, and then also comply with the California law. The court disagreed with the assertion, finding that the sellers can still force feed birds to make their products, but not sell those in California. Said the court, "The sales ban is neither a command to market non-force-fed products as foie gras nor to call force-fed products something different." Further, the sellers raise a new suggestion that the ban constitutes express preemption because force feeding operates as an "ingredient requirement." Essentially, they contend you cannot have foie gras without force-feeding birds. This was also rejected, as the court found nothing new that would reverse the precedent established in the prior decision by the court. Finally, the sellers appeal dismissal of their dormant Commerce Clause claim, arguing that the sales ban is impermissibly extraterritorial because force-feeding is only banned in California and therefore, only regulates out-of-state conduct. The court dismissed this, noting states are free to regulate commerce within their boundaries provided such regulation does not affect transactions from out of that state. Moreover, the sellers' argument that the ban is "unduly burdensome" for this reason also failed since there is not requirement that a state impose the "least burdensome" method for in-state commerce. The court held that the sales ban is neither preempted nor unconstitutional and that the specified transactions are out-of-state sales permitted by California law.
Associated Dog Clubs of New YorkState, Inc. v. Vilsack 75 F.Supp.3d 83(D.D.C. 2014) With the increase of sales over the Internet, the Department of Agriculture, through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“APHIS”), issued a new rule that redefined “retail pet store” to include online pet stores. Several breeders argued that the agency exceeded its statutory authority in issuing the new rule. The Secretary for the Department of Agriculture moved for summary judgment. Since APHIS acted within its authority in promulgating the rule and otherwise complied with the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act, the Court granted summary judgment for the agency.
Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec v. Harris 729 F.3d 937 (9th Cir. 2013)
Prior to California's Force Fed Birds law—which bans the sale of products that are the result of force feeding birds to enlarge their livers beyond normal size—coming into effect, two non-California entities produced foie gras that was sold at a California restaurant. When the law came into effect, all three entities sought to enjoin the state of California from enforcing the law; they argued the law was unconstitutionally vague and violated the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The district court, however, denied their motion for preliminary injunction. On appeal, the 9th Circuit affirmed the lower court’s decision to deny the preliminary injunction.
Babbitt v. Sweet Home Chapter of Communities for a Great Oregon 515 U.S. 687 (1995) (edited from Syllabus of the Court) As relevant here, the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA or Act) makes it unlawful for any person to “take” endangered or threatened species, § 9(a)(1)(B), and defines “take” to mean to “harass, harm, pursue,” “ wound,” or “kill,” § 3(19). In 50 CFR § 17.3, petitioner Secretary of the Interior further defines “harm” to include “significant habitat modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures wildlife.” Respondents, persons and entities dependent on the forest products industries and others, challenged this regulation on its face, claiming that Congress did not intend the word “take” to include habitat modification. Held: The Secretary reasonably construed Congress' intent when he defined “harm” to include habitat modification.
Baker v. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. Slip Copy, 2019 WL 6118448 (S.D. Cal. Nov. 18, 2019) Plaintiffs brought a securities fraud class action against the collective Defendants, including Seaworld Entertainment, Inc. This action involved statements and omissions made by the Defendants following a 2013 documentary titled Blackfish. The issues centered on the attendance impact that the documentary had on Seaworld. Company-wide attendance declined in 2013 and 2014, however, several officials of the Company made statements that there was no attendance impact resulting from the documentary. Both Plaintiffs and Defendants moved to exclude the testimony of several experts. The Court ultimately affirmed its tentative rulings, denied Defendant’s motion to exclude the testimony of two of Plaintiff’s experts, granted Defendant’s motion to exclude the testimony of Dr. James Gibson, granted in part and denied in part Plaintiff’s motion to exclude the testimony of Dr. Craig Lewis, granted Plaintiff’s motion to exclude the testimony of Dr. Randolph Bucklin, and denied Defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
Baldwin v. Fish and Game Commission of Montana 98 S.Ct. 1852(1978)

Appellants brought this action for declaratory and other relief claiming that the Montana statutory elk-hunting license scheme, which imposes substantially higher (at least 7 1/2 times) license fees on nonresidents of the State than on residents, and which requires nonresidents (but not residents) to purchase a "combination" license in order to be able to obtain a single elk, denies nonresidents their constitutional rights guaranteed by the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Art. IV, § 2, and by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  The court held that the Privileges and Immunity Clause is not implicated, as access to recreational hunting is not fundamental and Montana has provided equal access for both residents and non-residents.  Further, the statutory scheme does not violate the Equal Protection Clause because the state has demonstrated a rational relationship between the increased fee to non-residents (i.e., protection of a finite resource (elk) where there has been a substantial increase in non-resident hunters).

Balelo v. Baldridge 724 F.2d 753 (1983)

Defendants, secretary and government agencies, appealed the decision fo the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, in favor of plaintiff captains invalidating an agency regulation pertaining to the taking and related acts incidental to commercial fishing.

Barber v. Pennsylvania Dept. Agriculture Slip Copy, 2010 WL 1816760 (W.D.Pa.)

The plaintiffs in this Pennsylvania case are owners and operators of a non-profit animal rescue and kennel that houses housing about 500 dogs doing business in and throughout Fayette County, Pennsylvania. The current dispute stems from a series of inspections of the kennels that occurred throughout the 2007 calendar year. Plaintiffs allege that defendants conspired in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985, and that the PSPCA and the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement (the inspection branch of the Dept. of Agriculture) failed to take reasonable steps to protect them from the conspiratorial activity in violation of 42 U.S .C. § 1986. Plaintiffs also state that the PSPCA and the Bureau violated various of their constitutional rights in contravention of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Plaintiffs also seek to hold the Defendants liable for malicious prosecution under 42 U.S .C. § 1983. Finally, other counts allege that Defendant Delenick sexually harassed Plaintiff Rachel Lappe-Biler in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983; that plaintiff Pauline Gladys Bryner-Lappe was assaulted and battered in contravention of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Fourth Amendment; and that the defendants intentionally inflicted emotional distress. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss all claims.

Bassani v. Sutton Slip Copy, 2010 WL 1734857 (E.D.Wash.)

Plaintiff initiated this lawsuit in 2008 claiming money damages under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1988,and  alleging violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. In 2004, plaintiffs two dogs were seized by Yakima County Animal Control after responding to a citizen's report that he had been menaced by dogs as he ran past plaintiff's house. Before the court here are Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File First Amended Complaint. In granting the motions, the court held that the doctrine of res judicata did warrant a grant of summary judgment as defendants' failure to release plaintiff's dog. Further, the animal control officer was entitled to qualified immunity because he reasonably relied on the deputy prosecuting attorney's advice. Finally, there was no evidence of a pattern of behavior on the part of Yakima County sufficient to be a "moving force" behind a constitutional violation.

Baughman v. City of Elkhart, TX Slip copy, 2018 WL 1510678 (E.D. Tex., 2018) Plaintiff Tammy Baughman filed a complaint on May 31, 2017 seeking relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging a violation of her Fourteenth amendment rights; the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), alleging that she was discriminated against; the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), alleging a failure to make reasonable accommodations; and 42 U.S.C. § 3613. Plaintiff asserts that she is disabled due to a failed back surgery. She also has fibromyalgia, depression, and other health issues. Plaintiff has a seven pound ring tail lemur that she claims is an emotional support animal that improves her quality of life. Plaintiff's lemur bit a mail carrier on December 5, 2012 which left lacerations on the carrier's hand and wrist. Plaintiff then moved to Elkhart, Texas in December 2014 where her lemur bit another person on June 25, 2015. In both instances the lemur was quarantined for 30 days and then returned to Plaintiff. The City of Elkhart enacted an ordinance on October 5, 2015 that bans all non-human primates from the city. Plaintiff claims she requested an accommodation form the City to keep her lemur as an emotional support animal, but her request was denied. The defendants, which include the mayor and city council members, claim the plaintiff never requested an accommodation. Plaintiff further alleges that the defendants "showed deliberate indifference in refusing to give [her] a hearing and defend her lemur,' which violates the FHAA and ADA. On February 15, 2018, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment seeking a dismissal of all of Plaintiff's claims. Defendants claim that Plaintiff's lemur was involved in two documented attacks in Houston County, Texas and a third in Elkhart. Defendants assert that Plaintiff runs a retail resale shop out of her home and that in the third attack on June 25, 2015, the lemur jumped on a customer in plaintiff's store. Defendants assert that the ordinance was enacted as a legitimate exercise of the City's legislative power and police power. The District court concluded that the defendants are entitled to absolute judicial immunity for their conduct because the act of voting in favor of an ordinance is an undeniable legislative action. As for Plaintiff's 1983 claim, the District Court concluded that she had not shown a genuine issue of material fact concerning whether her due process rights were violated nor does she have a basis for a procedural due process claim. The ordinance is rationally related to the City's legitimate interest in the safety and welfare of its citizens. The ordinance does not violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. As for Plaintiff's ADA claim, the District Court concluded that the Plaintiff had not shown that the reasonable accommodation that she requested - an exemption from the animal control ordinance - did not place an undue burden on the City of Elkhart. No facts were provided by the Plaintiff that would show that her interest in keeping her lemur outweighs the interest of the City in protecting its citizens. As for Plaintiff's ADA claim, in order to succeed on an ADA claim, there must be some evidence that set the animal apart from an ordinary pet. The Plaintiff failed to show any evidence that her lemur is specifically trained to perform tasks that help her in her daily life. The District Court held that the Defendant's motion for summary judgment is granted and the Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed with prejudice.
Becker v. Elfreich 821 F.3d 920 (7th Cir. 2016) Appellant, Officer Zachary Elfreich, went to the home of Appellee Jamie Becker in order to execute an arrest warrant. When Becker did not surrender right away, Officer Elfreich allowed his police dog to find and attack Becker. Upon seeing Becker, Officer Elfreich pulled him down three steps of the home staircase, and placed his knee on Becker’s back while allowing the dog to continue to bite him. Becker sued the city of Evansville and Officer Elfreich under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the officer used excessive force in arresting him in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. The district court denied Officer Elfreich's motion for summary judgment and the officer appealed. The Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, held that: first, under the totality of the circumstances, the force used by the officer post-surrender of Becker was not reasonable. Second, a police dog's use of the “bite and hold” technique is not per se deadly force. Third, Becker, was a nonresisting (or at most passively resisting) suspect when Officer Elfreich saw him near the bottom of the staircase and the officer should not have used significant force on him. Based on these factors, the officer was not entitled to qualified immunity and a reasonable jury could find such force was excessive. The lower court decision to deny Officer Elfreich's motion for summary judgment was affirmed.
Berardelli v. Allied Services Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine 900 F.3d 104 (3d Cir., 2018) This case presents an issue of first impression in the Court of Appeals: whether regulations on service animals, which technically apply only to reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), require that individuals with disabilities be allowed to be accompanied by their service animals under the Rehabilitation Act (RA). The facts involve an elementary student with dyslexia and epilepsy who sought to be accompanied by her service dog to school. The dog was trained to respond to her epileptic seizures and was recommended by her pediatric neurologist. The student was attending a new school after having attended a different school with her service animal who recently died. After receiving a new service animal (after being placed on a waiting list), the principal of the new school refused access for the service animal, asserting for the first time that the dog was "too much of a distraction." As a consequence of the denial, the student missed school when her seizures were too severe. After more than a year of disrupted attendance, the student's mother sought to have the seizure alert dog accompany the child to fifth grade, and the principal said he would "look into" it. Frustrated with the equivocation, the mother attempted to bring the service animal with the child and the principal prevented entrance, now saying another child had an allergy to dogs. Eventually, the dog was allowed to accompany the child with a "therapeutic shirt designed to decrease allergens," but the shirt interfered with the service animal's performance of disability-related tasks. In the end, the mother withdrew the child from this particular school. The child's parent subsequently sued the school, arguing that the school had failed to accommodate the child under Section 504 of the RA. The school moved for summary judgment on all claims. Important to the claim of discrimination under the RA, the District Court instructed the jury that on a claim for failure to accommodate, the plaintiff needed to prove that that the requested accommodations were reasonable and necessary to avoid discrimination based on disability. The jury was confused at the instructions and the child's attorney urged the court to instruct the jury on ADA service animal regulations. The Court refused saying it had “g[iven] them the law that relates to this case” and would not “go look for some new law to tell them about or some different law or something that’s not been already submitted or given to them.” The jury subsequently returned a verdict for the school. On appeal here, appellants argue that, because the subjective standards for liability under the RA and ADA are the same, the service animal regulations of the ADA should apply to the RA. The Court of Appeals first examined the history and relationship of the ADA and its precursor, the RA. Based on the overarching goal of both laws - to ensure equal opportunity and inclusion - the requirements of reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications are inextricably intertwined. Regardless of the differing entities the statutes cover, they both impose the same liability standard based on this concept of "reasonableness." The Court also found this echoed in case law dealing with a failure to accommodate under both laws. As to the service animal regulations under the ADA, the Court held that, logically, the service animal regulations are relevant to the RA even though they technically interpret the ADA. This is supported by agency guidance in other contexts from HUD, the Dept. of Justice, and the Dept. of Labor. The Court found the school's counter arguments unpersuasive especially considering the legal principle that an anti-discrimination statute like the RA must be interpreted broadly to carry out its broad remedial purpose. In essence, the Court now holds that a covered actor must accommodate the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability under the RA just as it must do under the ADA. While the "reasonableness" of that accommodation will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, the request to be accompanied by a service animal is per se reasonable. Applying that holding to these facts, the Court found that the District Court did not correctly instruct the jury on the relevant law. The error was not harmless, and, despite the school's claim, there was not a high probability that the jury would have ruled in its favor if properly instructed. The judgment was vacated on the RA claim, reversed on the dismissal of the state discrimination claim, and remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Bhogaita v. Altamonte Heights Condominium Assn. 765 F.3d 1277 (11th Cir., 2014) Appellee Ajit Bhogaita, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), filed suit against Appellant Altamonte Heights Condominium Association, Inc. ("Association") for violating the disability provisions of the Federal and Florida Fair Housing Acts, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(b) (“FHA”) and the Florida Fair Housing Act, when it enforced its pet weight policy and demanded Bhogaita remove his emotional support dog from his condominium. The jury awarded Bhogaita $5,000 in damages, and the district court awarded Bhogaita more than $100,000 in attorneys' fees. This court affirmed that decision finding that there was evidence that the Association constructively denied appellee's requested accommodation. In fact, the court opined, "Neither Bhogaita's silence in the face of requests for information the Association already had nor his failure to provide information irrelevant to the Association's determination can support an inference that the Association's delay reflected an attempt at meaningful review."
Big Cats of Serenity Springs, Inc. v. Vilsack --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2015 WL 1432069 (D. Colo. 2015) In an amended complaint, Plaintiffs asserted four claims against Defendants relating to a May 7, 2013 United States Department of Agriculture inspection of Big Cats of Serenity Springs, Inc. The claims included a Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures; a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim against the Inspector Defendants “because they acted under color of state law when they induced the deputies to cut the chains and enter the premises;” a declaratory judgment “declaring that [Defendant] Thompson inappropriately overrode the medical advice of [Plaintiff] Big Cats' veterinarians and declaring that, in the future, the USDA cannot force [Plaintiff] Sculac to choose between following the medical advice of his veterinarians and the mandates of a USDA inspector;” and a declaratory judgment that the USDA must follow its own regulations and that it cannot conduct a warrantless search of the Big Cats facility outside of ‘normal business hours' solely because an inspector ‘want [s] to’ or because an inspector subjectively ‘believe[s][it] necessary to determine the welfare status of the animals....' ” In addition to declaratory relief, Plaintiffs also sought compensatory and punitive damages, costs, expenses, and prejudgment interest. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. US Magistrate Judge issued a recommendation that, to the extent the Motion argued that the declaratory judgment claims should be dismissed because Plaintiffs lack standing, the Motion be granted in part and denied in part and that the declaratory judgment claims asserted by Plaintiffs Nick Sculac, Julie Walker, and Jules Investment, Inc. be dismissed without prejudice. In all other aspects, the Magistrate recommended that the Motion be denied. A District Court judge approved and adopted these recommendations and denied defendant’s objections to the recommendations.
Bjugan v. State Farm Fire and Cas. Co. 969 F.Supp.2d 1283 (D. Ore. 2013)

After a house was damaged by a tenant’s 95 cats and 2 dogs, a landlord sought to recover expenses through State Farm Insurance. State Farm, however, denied the landlord coverage due to a provision in the insurance policy that excluded damages caused by domestic animals. In a diversity action brought by the landlord, the district court found the damage caused by the tenant’s cats fell within State Farm’s policy exclusion and therefore granted State Farm’s motion for summary judgment.

Black v. Coughlin 76 F.3d 72 (2nd Cir. 1996)

Prisoner brought action under § 1983 against commissioner of state department of correctional services to recover damages for punishment imposed as a result of improperly conducted disciplinary hearing.

Bogart v. Chapell 396 F.3d 548 (4th Cir., 2005)

A woman was housing hundreds of animals in her residential home, the animals were seized and more than two hundred of them were euthanized.  The woman brought a section 1983 claim against the county sheriff's department and human society.  The trial court granted defendants summary judgment and the Court of Appeals affirmed holding no viable due process claim existed arising from the euthanization. 

Bone v. Vill. Club, Inc. 223 F.Supp. 3d 1203 (M.D. Fla. 2016) This case dealt with a woman's request to have her emotional-support dog live with her before purchasing land in a mobile home community, known as Brookhaven. Prior to purchasing her lot, the plaintiff allegedly received permission from the president of Brookhaven's board of directors to keep her dog, even though the plaintiff was purchasing a lot in the "no pet" section of Brookhaven. The plaintiff provided the president of the board with the documentation requested, and the president told plaintiff she had been approved by the board to have her dog. Approximately one year after plaintiff purchased her lot, Brookhaven's attorney sent a letter requesting that plaintiff remove her dog, citing Brookhaven's policies disallowing her dog. After several letters sent back and forth between plaintiff's attorney and Brookhaven's attorney concerning requirements of the Fair Housing Act and the party's respective actions, both parties cross-moved for summary judgement. The court held that 1) genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether tenant had an actual disability; 2) landlord was not prejudiced by tenant's untimely disclosure of expert report; 3) genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether landlord constructively denied tenant an accommodation; and 4) genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether landlord retaliated against tenant for requesting a disability accommodation. As a result, all motions for summary judgement were denied.
Born Free USA v. Norton 278 F. Supp 2d 5 (D.D.C. 2003)

The zoo sought to import wild elephants from a foreign country, but advocates contended that the officials did not follow CITES properly for the import. The court held that the advocates failed to show a likelihood of success to warrant preliminary injunctive relief, since no overall detriment to the species was shown.

Brandon v. Village of Maywood 157 F. Supp.2d 917 (N.D. Ill. 2001)

Plaintiffs brought § 1983 action against village and police officers after botched drug bust in which bystander and dog were wounded.  The court held that the police officers were entitled to qualified immunity in shooting of dog and the village did not have policies on police conduct that warranted liability.  However, issues of fact precluded summary judgment on false imprisonment claim based on officers' assertion of immunity.

Brinkley v. County of Flagler 769 So. 2d 468 (2000)

Appellee county sought to enjoin appellant from mistreating animals by filing a petition against her under Fla. Stat. ch. 828.073 (1997). The animals on appellant's property were removed pursuant to Fla. Stat. ch. 828.073, a statute giving law enforcement officers and duly appointed humane society agents the right to provide care to animals in distress. The entry onto appellant's property was justified under the emergency exception to the warrant requirement for searches. The hearing after seizure of appellants' animals was sufficient to satisfy appellant's due process rights.

Bronk v. Ineichen 54 F.3d 425 (7th Cir. 1995)

Plaintiffs appealed decision of district court denying their claim that defendants violated the Federal Fair Housing Act for failing to allow a hearing dog in their rental unit as a reasonable accommodation for their hearing disability. The landlord denied the request, alleging that the dog was not a "hearing dog," and that the tenants did not have a legitimate need for the dog because the dog lacked professional training. The Court of Appeals held that if the dog was not necessary as a hearing dog then the plaintiffs were not entitled to the dog as a reasonable accommodation under the FHA. Also, the court held that a disabled person must meet two standards in arguing that an accommodation be made: (1) the accommodation must facilitate the disabled person's ability to function; and (2) the accommodation must survive a cost-benefit balancing that takes both parties' needs into account. The court vacated the decision of the lower court and ordered a new trial because of misleading jury instructions. 

Brower v. Daley 93 F. Supp. 2d 1071 (2000)

Based on the Secretary of Commerce’s decision to weaken the dolphin-safe standard, David Brower, Earth Island Institute, The Humane Society of the United States, and other individuals and organizations challenged the finding as arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to law.  The District Court for the Northern District of California found that the Secretary’s Initial Finding was not in accordance with the law and was an abuse of discretion because the Secretary failed to properly consider these studies.

Brower v. Evans 257 F.3d 1058 (2001)

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

Brown v. Kemp 506 F.Supp.3d 649 (W.D. Wis. Dec. 10, 2020) Plaintiffs are Wisconsin residents who monitored hunting activity through visual observation and photographic and video documentation. They brought an action against state employees challenging constitutionality of state statute that prohibits a person from interfering with or attempting to interfere with “activity associated with lawful hunting, fishing or trapping.” Plaintiffs claim that after being amended in 2015 to include two or more acts of maintaining a “visual proximity” to, “approaching,” or creating visual or audio of someone engaged in those activities, this prohibition is now overbroad, vague and chills lawful expression in violation of the First Amendment. The District Court held that the residents lacked Article III standing to assert a pre-enforcement as-applied challenge to constitutionality of statute. Further, the affirmative defense provision of statute did not preclude judicial review of statute for overbreadth or vagueness. However, the statute was not overbroad nor unconstitutionally vague. The state employees' motion was granted and the residents' motion was denied.
Brown v. Muhlenberg Tp. 269 F.3d 205 (3rd Cir. 2001)

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

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