Federal Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
Conservation Force v. Salazar 715 F.Supp.2d 99 (D.D.C., 2010)

Plaintiffs to this suit — organizations and individuals that support sustainable hunting of the Canadian Wood Bison — alleged that the Secretary of the Department of Interior violated several provisions of the ESA in his treatment of that species. Specifically, Plaintiffs contend that the Secretary failed to: (1) make a twelve-month finding as to the status of the Canadian Wood Bison upon petition and (2) process Plaintiffs’ applications to import bison hunting trophies. In granting the Defendant's motion to dismiss, the court found that Plaintiffs’ intent to sue letter did not specify to the Secretary that they intended to challenge his subsequent failure to issue a twelve-month finding. Since Plaintiffs gave the Secretary inadequate opportunity to review his actions and take corrective measures, the claim was dismissed. Plaintiffs — four individuals who each successfully hunted a Wood Bison in Canada — sought declaratory judgment against the Service under the ESA for failure to process their applications to import bison trophies. The court also held that the request for declaratory judgment was moot where Plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that they ever intended to again apply for import permits.

Conservation Force v. Salazar 699 F.3d 538 (D.C. Cir. 2012)

After waiting nine years for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to take action on a permit that would allow the Conservation Force and other individuals to import Canadian wood bison as hunting trophies, the Conservation Force brought a suit against the U.S. Department of Interior and the USFWS for violating the Endangered Species Act. However, once the complaint was filed, the USFWS denied the permit; after this action, the district court dismissed the Conservation Force’s case as moot. Plaintiffs then sought to recover attorney fees and costs, but were denied recovery by the district court. On appeal by Plaintiffs, the Court held that since the USFWS delay in processing the permit was not a non-discretionary, statutory duty, as required to recover attorney fees and costs, the appeals court affirmed the lower court’s decision.

Conservation Force, Inc. v. Jewell 733 F.3d 1200 (D.C. Cir. 2013)

Appellants’ claims that the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s violated the Endangered Species Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and due process rights in regards to the markhor goat were rendered moot due to subsequent agency action. The claim that the USFWS had an ongoing pattern and practice of neglecting to process permits was also dismissed dues to issues of ripeness and standing. The case was remanded to district court with instructions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and was vacated in regards to the portions of the district court's order raised in this appeal.

Conservation Force, Inc. v. Manning 301 F.3d 985 (9th Cir. 2002)

This case questions whether Arizona's 10% cap on nonresident hunting of bull elk throughout the state and of antlered deer north of the Colorado River substantially affects commerce such that the dormant Commerce Clause applies to the regulation.  The Court that Arizona's cap on nonresident hunting substantially affects and discriminates against interstate commerce and therefore is subject to strict scrutiny under the dormant Commerce Clause. The case was remanded to determine the extent of Arizona's legitimate interests in regulating hunting to conserve its population of game and maintain recreational opportunities for its citizens. 

Coos County Bd. of County Com'rs v. Norton Slip Copy, 2006 WL 1720496 (D.Or.)

Alleging violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), plaintiffs sought to compel defendants to publish in the Federal Register proposed and final rules to remove the Washington, Oregon and California population of the marbled murrelet (a coastal bird) from the list of threatened species. Plaintiffs alleged that after defendants completed a five year review of the murrelet, defendants violated the ESA and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by failing to publish proposed and final rules "delisting" the murrelet. However, the court found that under the subsection upon which plaintiffs rely, the Secretary need publish a proposed regulation only after receiving a petition to add or remove species from the lists of threatened and endangered species and making certain findings. Because plaintiffs have not alleged or demonstrated that they filed a petition, they cannot establish that the Secretary has a duty to publish a proposed regulation. Thus, defendant's motion to dismiss was granted.

Coos County Board of County Com'rs v. Kempthorne 531 F.3d 792 (9th Cir., 2008) The issue here is whether FWS has an enforceable duty promptly to withdraw a threatened species from the protections of the ESA after a five-year agency review mandated by the Act found that the species does not fit into a protected population category. The species at issue here are murrelets-small, dove-sized birds that feed primarily on sea life and nest in coastal mature and old-growth forests. This Court concluded that Coos County has not alleged a failure to perform a nondiscretionary act or duty imposed by the ESA, whether premised on the petition process deadlines or on the agency's more general duty to act on its own determinations.
Cordoves v. Miami-Dade Cnty 92 F. Supp. 3d 1221 (S.D. Fla. 2015) This case arises out of an incident at the Dadeland Mall, during which plaintiff had a confrontation with security personnel that ended with her arrest. The incident was precipitated by the presence of a small dog plaintiff was toting in a stroller while shopping with her mother and daughter. Plaintiff alleged discrimination in public accommodations under the ADA, and excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment under § 1983. Defendants moved for summary judgment.The District Court denied the motion in part and granted the motion in part, finding that an issue of material fact existed as to whether the dog was a service animal; that the patron was precluded from bringing negligence claim premised on intentional torts; that officer's use of force in arresting patron was de minimis; and that the right to be free from officer's application of force was not clearly established.
Cotton v. Ben Hill County 208 F. Supp. 3d 1353 (M.D. Ga. 2016) In this case, Cotton filed suit against Ben Hill County after Cotton’s cattle was seized for alleged animal cruelty and roaming at large. Cotton filed suit against Ben Hill County and the Sheriff’s Department arguing that he had been deprived of his property in violation of the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and in the violation of the Constitution of Georgia. The court reviewed the issue and granted summary judgment in favor of Ben Hill County and the Sheriff's Department. The court granted summary judgment because Cotton was unable to establish that his rights were violated under the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Cotton was unable to establish that his Due Process rights were violated because he was unable to provide any evidence that the allegations against Ben Hill County and the Sheriff’s Department were “the result of an official policy, custom or practice of the county or that the County acted with deliberate indifference to these rights.” Also, the court found that there was not a violation of the procedural requirements of the Due Process Clause because under state law, Georgia provided for a “post deprivation remedy for the loss.” Lastly, the court found that Cotton’s claims against the Sheriff's Department failed as a matter of law because Cotton was unable to establish that anyone from the Sheriff’s Department actually participated in the seizure and impoundment of the cattle. For those reasons, the court held in favor of Ben Hill County and granted summary judgment.
Cox v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 925 F.2d 1102 (8th Cir. 1991)

USDA had suspended a kennel owner’s license for 90 days and imposed a fine on the owner for violating AWA regulations.   These violations included delivering dogs for transportation in commerce, that were under eight weeks old, failing to hold dogs for at least five days after acquiring them, and refusing APHIS inspections.   Owner claimed that such sanctions were excessive.   However, the court found that there was willful violation of the AWA, since inspections were refused.   Also, ignorance is not considered a defense, and although the owners claimed they did not know the age of the eight-week old puppies, they could have found out.   Thus, the sanction was appropriate.

Coyote v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (no F.Supp. citation) 1994 E.D. California

Defendant brought a motion after the USFWS denied his application to obtain eagle feathers for religious use where defendant failed to obtain certification from the Bureau of Indian Affairs that he was a member of a federally-recognized tribe.  The court held that this requirement is both contrary to the plain reading of that regulation and arbitrary and capricious.  For discussion on formerly recognized tribes and the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion.

Crawford v. Van Buren County, Ark. 678 F.3d 666 (C.A.8 (Ark.))

In this § 1983 action, defendant kennel operator alleged taking of private property without just compensation, unreasonable search and seizure, and due process violations in relation to seizure of dogs, and that the local humane society conspired with government entities. On appeal of summary judgment for the defendants, the court found her claims against the county were barred, and that she failed to first exhaust her administrative remedies. The animal control officer was acting pursuant to a valid search warrant when she entered the property to seize the dogs, and, under an animal cruelty plea agreement, had authority to inspect Crawford's premises. With regard to the Humane Society defendants, the court found summary judgment proper because there was no evidence amounting to a civil conspiracy to seize the dogs for personal gain.

Creekstone Farms Premium Beef v. United States Department of Agriculture 517 F.Supp.2d 8 (D.D.C.,2007) Creekstone Farms Premium Beef (Creekstone) sought to independently test their slaughtered cows so they could more safely provide meat to consumers. Creekstone requested testing kits from the USDA, the same kits that USDA inspectors use to test for BSE. The district court ruled that Creekstone could perform the tests.
Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, L.L.C. v. Department of Agriculture 539 F.3d 492 (D.C.Cir., 2008) Plaintiff, a supplier of beef products, brought an action against Defendant, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), after the USDA denied Plaintiff’s request to purchase Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) testing kits.   The United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit found that the USDA has authority under the Virus Serum Toxin Act (VSTA) to regulate the use of biological products, the USDA’s interpretation of VSTA allowing the USDA to deny an import permit based on the product’s intended use was not inconsistent with the regulation and was therefore entitled to deference by the Court, the USDA’s interpretation of the word “treatment” as including diagnostic activities was entitled to deference, and that   BSE testing is a diagnostic activity for purposes of VSTA.
Criscuolo v. Grant County 540 F.Appx. 562 (9th Cir. 2013) The plaintiff’s dog was shot by a police officer while eyewitnesses claim that right before he fired, the dog was stationary or retreating at a distance of 10-20 feet from the officer and his police K9. The pet owner filed suit against both the individual police officer and the municipality, who both claimed immunity, which was granted at the trial court. On appeal, the court upheld the dismissal of the municipality based on the fact that official policy did “not authorize unconstitutional conduct or give officers unbridled discretion to shoot any animal they encounter, even if it is not threatening.” However, the appellate court reversed the trial court’s decision in regards to the officer’s immunity, holding that viewing the circumstances in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the killing was not necessarily reasonable to protect the officer’s safety or the safety of his police K9.
Crow Indian Tribe v. United States 965 F.3d 662 (9th Cir. 2020) Several Indian tribes, environmental organizations, and animal-welfare groups filed suits claiming that Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) violated Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by issuing final rule “delisting” or removing grizzly bear population in Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from threatened species list. The distinct population segment of the Yellowstone grizzly bear population has been so successful under the ESA that the FWS has been trying to delist it for almost 15 years, according to the court. This specific case was triggered by a 2017 D.C. Circuit case (Humane Society v. Zinke) that requires the FWS to address the impact that removing a DPS from protection under the ESA would have on the remaining listed species. At the time that ruling was issued, the FWS had already published a 2017 Rule that sought to delist the grizzly bear Yellowstone DPS. This then resulted in cross motions for summary judgment in district court. The district court granted summary judgment for the plaintiffs and vacated the 2017 rule, remanding it to the FWS. This remand resulted in a second delisting rule by FWS that was again vacated and remanded by the district court, demanding consideration of several discrete issues by FWS. The FWS now appeals that remand for consideration that require the study of the effect of the delisting on the remaining, still listed, grizzly population in the coterminous 48 states, as well as further consideration of the threat of delisting to long term genetic diversity of the Yellowstone grizzly. In addition, states in the region of the DPS (Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming) as well as some private hunting and farming organizations have intervened on the government's behalf. On appeal, the Court of Appeals first found that it had authority to review the district court order and that the intervenors had standing to pursue an appeal. As to the order by the district court that the FWS needs to conduct a "comprehensive review" of the impact of delisting on the remnant grizzly population, the appellate court vacated that portion of the order using the phrase "comprehensive review." Instead, it remanded to the lower court to order a "further examination" on the delisting's effects. The court also agreed with the district court that FWS' 2017 Rule was arbitrary and capricious where it had no concrete, enforceable mechanism to ensure the long-term genetic viability of the Yellowstone DPS. Finally, the Court of Appeals agreed with the district court order to mandate a commitment to recalibration (changes in methodology to measure the Yellowstone grizzly bear population) in the rule since that is required by the ESA. The Court affirmed the district court’s remand order, with the exception of the order requiring the FWS to conduct a “comprehensive review” of the remnant grizzly population.
Crowder v. Kitagawa 81 F.3d 1480 (C.A.9 Hawai‘i,1996)

The plaintiffs in this case were a class of visually-impaired persons who use guide dogs. Plaintiffs sought exemption from Hawaii's imposition of a 120-day quarantine on carnivorous animals entering the state (which necessarily included their guide dogs). Specifically, they contend Hawaii's quarantine, designed to prevent the importation of rabies, violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),and their constitutional rights of travel, equal protection and substantive due process. On appeal of summary judgment, this Court held that without reasonable modifications to its quarantine requirement for the benefit of visually-impaired individuals who rely on guide dogs, Hawaii's quarantine requirement effectively prevents such persons from enjoying the benefits of state services and activities in violation of the ADA. The district court's issuance of summary judgment in favor of Hawaii, was reversed and the case was remanded to the district court for further proceedings.

Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. NSF LEXSEE 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22315

The Center for Biological Diversity sought a temporary restraining order to enjoin the National Science Foundation from continuing its acoustical research in the Gulf of California. The scientists who conducted the acoustical research in the Gulf of California, which was an environmentally sensitive area, used an array of air guns to fire extremely high-energy acoustic bursts into the ocean. The sound from the air guns was as high as 263 decibels (dB) at the source. The government had acknowledged that 180 dB caused significant injury to marine mammals. The court found that the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), governed the activities of the scientists on the research vessel, and that any injury or harassment to marine mammals in the course of the research project in the Gulf of California, outside the territorial waters of Mexico, would violate the MMPA.

Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Zinke 868 F.3d 1054 (9th Cir. 2017) In this case, the Center for Biological Diversity and Maricopa Audubon Society (collectively “CBD”) challenged the determination of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) that the Sonoran Desert Area bald eagle (“desert eagle”) is not a distinct population segment (“DPS”) eligible for listing under the Endangered Species Act. There are two requirements for DPS status: (1) the discreteness of the population segment in relation to the remainder of the species to which it belongs, and (2) the significance of the population segment to the species to which it belongs. Here, the parties agreed that the desert eagle population is discrete, but they disputed whether the population is significant. CBD argued that if FWS found that a population segment satisfies any of the four listed significance factors, it is required to conclude that the population segment is significant. The court held that FWS did not act arbitrarily and capriciously in concluding that the desert eagle did not satisfy significance requirement for being a DPS, even though it found that the desert eagle satisfied the persistence requirement and one significance factors. The district court's grant of summary judgment to FWS was affirmed.
Dallas Safari Club v. Bernhardt --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2020 WL 1809181 (D.D.C. Apr. 9, 2020) Individual elephant sport hunters and their hunting organizations (“Plaintiffs”) filed suit against the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (the “Service”) seeking to import their sport-hunted elephant trophies from Africa into the United States. The Plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction requiring the Service to process pending and subsequently filed permit applications. The African Elephant is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) and is also a species that is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (“CITES”). All African elephant trophy imports require the Service to make an enhancement finding, meaning that the killing of the trophy animal will enhance the survival of the species, and issue an ESA permit. Additionally, certain African elephant trophy imports require a non-detriment finding and a CITES import permit. Historically, the Service made periodic countrywide enhancement and non-detriment findings, however, this came to a halt due to a Presidential tweet surrounding media criticism over the Service’s decision to lift the suspension on Zimbabwe’s ESA enhancement finding. The Court found that injunctive relief was not warranted because the Plaintiffs failed to show irreparable harm as to any Plaintiff. The individual Plaintiffs argued that they had suffered both emotional harm and economic harm. However, the Plaintiffs were on notice that their applications could take a significant amount of time to process. Additionally, the emotional distress claimed by the Plaintiffs would be alleviated when the Service issues a decision either granting or denying their permit applications, therefore, the harm that the Plaintiffs were claiming was not irreparable. The Court found that the individual hunter Plaintiffs’ alleged emotional and economic injuries were insufficient to warrant a preliminary injunction. The organizational Plaintiffs argued that they each were suffering irreparable harm derivatively because the Service’s delay in processing permit applications would decrease the popularity of sport hunting in Africa and cause a decrease in funding for conservation efforts. The problem was that the organizational Plaintiffs offered no proof to substantiate this argument. The Court ultimately held that in light of the disruptions caused by COVID-19 and the diminished capacity of the Service to process permit applications during this unprecedented time, it would be unwise and not in the public interest to order the expeditious processing of sport trophy permit applications. The Court denied Plaintiffs’ Motion for a Preliminary Injunction.
Daskalea v. Washington Humane Soc. 275 F.R.D. 346 (D.C., 2011)

Pet owners sued after their pets were seized, detained, injured, or destroyed by the Humane Society. Pet owners’ attempts to certify a class failed because the claims were not typical. The members of the proposed class allegedly suffered a wide range of deprivations, were provided with different kinds of notice, and claimed distinct injuries. The class certification motion was also denied because the proposed members sought individualized monetary relief.

Daskalea v. Washington Humane Soc. 577 F.Supp.2d 82 (D.D.C., 2008)

In relevant part, the District of Columbia’s Freedom from Cruelty to Animal Protection Act allows any humane officer to take possession of any animal to protect the animal(s) from neglect or cruelty. Plaintiffs, all of whom had their dogs seized under the Act, brought a Motion for Partial Summary Disposition for a count alleging that the Act is unconstitutional on its face and as customarily enforced. The United States District Court, District of Columbia, denied Plaintiffs’ motion without prejudice, finding the parties’ briefs in connection to the motion insufficient to determine whether an issue exists as to the Act‘s constitutionality.

Daskalea v. Washington Humane Society 710 F.Supp.2d 32 (D.D.C., 2010)

In this case, the plaintiffs are pet owners in the District of Columbia whose dogs were seized, detained, and damaged by the defendant-humane society without due process of the law. Plaintiffs brought an action against the District of Columbia, alleging that the District of Columbia's Freedom from Cruelty to Animal Protection Act, D.C.Code § 22-1001 et seq. is facially unconstitutional because it fails to provide animal owners with a meaningful right to contest the seizure, detention, and terms of release of their pets, prior to final action. However, the Act was amended in 2008 and the Court here asked the parties to submit supplemental briefing as to whether the amendments rendered the action by Plaintiffs moot. The Court found that Plaintiffs' facial challenge to the constitutionality of the Act has in fact been rendered moot by the 2008 Amendment.

Daul v. Meckus 897 F. Supp 606 (D.C. 1995)

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, has brought this Bivens action seeking to hold government agents liable in their individual capacities for alleged constitutional violations under the AWA. Plaintiff lost his Class A license of a dealer under the AWA, due to failure to submit the required license fee and annual report.  The court held that, even construing plaintiff's allegations in the light most favorable to him, Mr. Daul appears merely to allege without proof that each of these defendants exceeded the scope of his authority.  Thus, plaintiff's conclusory allegations failed to show that any defendant violated any clearly established constitutional or statutory right.  The named defendants from the USDA were also granted both absolute and qualified immunity in the decision.

Dauphine v. U.S. 73 A.3d 1029 (D.C.,2013)

Defendant, Dr. Nico Dauphine, was convicted of attempted cruelty to animals, contrary to D.C.Code §§ 22–1001, –1803 (2001). After an investigation, Dr. Dauphine was captured on surveillance video placing bromadialone, an anticoagulant rodenticide, near the neighborhood cats' food bowls. On appeal, Dauphine contended that there was insufficient evidence that she committed the crime "knowingly" with malice. This court found the inclusion of the word "knowingly" did not change the statute from a general to specific intent crime, and simply shows that the actor had no justification for his or her actions. The government met its burden to prove that appellant attempted to commit the crime of animal cruelty.

De Leon v. Vornado Montehiedra Acquisition L.P. 166 F. Supp. 3d 171 (D.P.R. 2016) The defendant in this case sought to dismiss plaintiff’s case, stating that the plaintiff claim did not have proper constitutional standing under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The court denied defendant’s request and held that plaintiff did present sufficient evidence to establish standing under the ADA. In order to establish standing, the plaintiff needed to prove three elements: (1) actual or threatened injury, (2) causal connection between the injury and the challenged conduct, and (3) that a favorable court decision can redress the injury. The court determined that plaintiff did satisfy all three elements by showing that plaintiff’s disabled daughter was not allowed in defendant’s shopping mall with her service dog after the mall security guard was not properly informed of protocol regarding service dogs. Ultimately, the security guard mistakenly believed that the service dog needed documentation in order to enter the mall; however, the dog was properly identified as a certified service dog and should have been allowed into the mall. Defendant's motion to dismiss was denied.
Defenders of Wildlife v. Dalton 97 F. Supp. 2d 1197 (2000)

Plaintiff sought a preliminary injunction to prevent defendant government official from lifting the embargo against tuna from Mexico's vessels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Plaintiffs alleged irreparable injury if three stocks of dolphins became extinct. The court found plaintiffs failed to produce evidence showing irreparable injury. 

Defenders of Wildlife v. Hall 807 F.Supp.2d 972 (D.Mont., 2011)

Several wildlife organizations filed suit to challenge the FWS's Final Rule delisting the gray wolf Northern Rocky Mountain distinct population segment.  The case was put on hold pending the outcome of several other legal battles regarding the wolf's status on the Endangered Species List, during which gray wolf protections were reinstated.  Then, after Congress passed the 2011 fiscal year budget which contained a provision requiring the FWS to delist the Northern Rocky Mountain DPS, the court dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction.

Defenders of Wildlife v. Hall 565 F.Supp.2d 1160 (D.Mont., 2008)

The case concerns the delisting of the wolf from the Endangered Species list that occurred in March of 2008. Plaintiffs-Defenders of Wildlife moved for a preliminary injunction, asking the Court to reinstate ESA protections for the wolf. Specifically, plaintiffs argue that even though the Fish & Wildlife Service’s (“Service”) original environmental impact statement (EIS) on wolf reintroduction conditioned the delisting on a finding of genetic exchange between populations, and there is no evidence that such exchange has occurred. Further, the Service approved Wyoming's 2007 wolf management plan even though the Wyoming plan still contains provisions that the Service previously found inadequate. On the whole, the court found that plaintiffs demonstrated a possibility of irreparable harm and granted plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction. As a result, the Endangered Species Act protections were reinstated for the northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf pending final resolution of this matter on the merits.

Defenders of Wildlife v. Hall 565 F.Supp.2d 1160 (D. Mont. 2008)

Several wildlife organizations challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's designation and delisting of the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf distinct population segment under the Endangered Species Act.  This decision involved a motion for preliminary injunction.   The court found that the plaintiffs had a substantial likelihood of success on the merits and the organizations and wolves would likely suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a preliminary injunction.  Thus, the motion for preliminary injunction was granted.

Defenders of Wildlife v. Hogarth 177 F. Supp. 2d 1336 (2001)

Environmental groups challenge implementations of the International Dolphin Conservation Program Act ("IDCPA") which amended the MMPA and revised the criteria for banning tuna imports.

Defenders of Wildlife v. Jewell 2014 WL 4714847 (D.D.C. 2014) (unpublished) In 2012, a rule transferred management of the gray wolf in Wyoming from federal control to state control. In the present case, plaintiffs Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Fund for Animals, Humane Society of the United States, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club, challenged the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list in Wyoming. Plaintiffs moved for summary judgment, and maintained that the decision was arbitrary and capricious because Wyoming's regulatory mechanisms were inadequate to protect the species, the level of genetic exchange shown in the record did not warrant delisting, and the gray wolf was endangered within a significant portion of its range. Given the level of genetic exchange reflected in the record, the Court decided not to disturb the finding that the species had recovered, and it would not overturn the agency's determination that the species was not endangered or threatened within a significant portion of its range. However, the Court concluded that it was arbitrary and capricious for the Service to rely on the state's nonbinding promises to maintain a particular number of wolves when the availability of that specific numerical buffer was such a critical aspect of the delisting decision. The Court therefore granted plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment in part, denied it in part, and remanded the matter back to the agency.
Defenders of Wildlife v. Kempthorne 2006 WL 2844232

Ten non-profit groups sued the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) alleging that the FWS had not adequately explained why the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Southern Rockies were not a significant area of lynx habitat under the Endangered Species Act, as the FWS had previously been ordered by the court to do. Additionally, the non-profit groups claimed that the FWS had violated Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by passing regulations which made it easier for federal agencies to thin trees in lynx habitat under the Healthy Forest Initiative. The Court ordered the FWS to explain why the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Southern Rockies were not a significant area of lynx habitat, but found that the challenged regulations making it easier to thin trees in lynx habitat were permissible.

Defenders of Wildlife v. Norton 239 F.Supp.2d 9 (D.D.C. 2002)

Plaintiffs, twelve conservation organizations and one individual involved in Lynx conservation efforts, challenge a final decision by the USFWS declaring the Lynx in the contiguous United States to be a "threatened," rather than "endangered," species under the Endangered Species Act.  Plaintiffs allege that the designation of the Lynx as threatened is "arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law," in violation of § 706(2)(A) of the Administrative Procedure Act and that the Service has violated the ESA by failing to designate "critical habitat" for the Lynx as required by that statute.  The Court granted summary judgment for the plaintiffs, finding that the FWS's conclusion that, "[c]ollectively, the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Southern Rockies do not constitute a significant portion of the range of the DPS," (three of the Lynx's four regions) were collectively not a significant portion of its range was counterintuitive and contrary to the plain meaning of the ESA phrase "significant portion of its range."  With regard to the FWS's failure to designate critical habitat, the excessive delays experienced by the FWS ran completely counter to the mandate of the ESA and were without proper justification. 

Defenders of Wildlife v. Salazar 729 F.Supp.2d 1207 (D.Mont.,2010)

In February of 2008, Defendant, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (the "Service"), issued a final ruling to delist the Rocky Mountain gray wolf species, removing the ESA’s protections throughout the northern Rocky Mountain distinct population segment ("DPS"), except in Wyoming. Twelve parties challenged the final ruling, arguing, foremost, that the decision violates the ESA by only partially protecting a listed population. The United States District Court for the District of Montana issued two findings: (1) the ESA does not allow the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to list only part of a species as endangered, or to protect a listed distinct population segment only in part; and (2) the legislative history of the ESA does not support the Service’s interpretation of the phrase "significant portion of its range," but instead supports the long-standing view that the ESA does not allow a distinct population to be subdivided. Accordingly, the Service’s ruling to delist the Rocky Mountain gray wolf was vacated as invalid and Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment was granted.

Defenders of Wildlife v. Salazar 776 F.Supp.2d 1178 (D.Mont., 2011)

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's 2009 Final Rule unlawfully delisted wolves in Idaho and Montana from the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Rule was vacated. The Court held that it had no authority to decide that it would be more equitable to ignore Congress' instruction on how an endangered species must be protected so that the wolves could be taken under the states' management plans. In addition, the Court held that it was inappropriate for the Court to approve a settlement at the expense of the Non–Settling Litigants' legal interests.

Defenders of Wildlife v. Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior 354 F.Supp.2d 1156(D. Or. 2005)

Plaintiffs challenged the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) "downlisting" of the gray wolf from endangered to threatened status through publication of its Final Rule.  The Final Rule delists the gray wolf in 14 southeastern states based on "listing error" because that region was not part of the gray wolf's historical range.  The court held that the FWS's extension of boundaries of only DPSs in which gray wolf populations had achieved recovery goals to encompass wolf's entire historical range was arbitrary and capricious.  FWS's downlisting of entire DPSs, without analyzing threats to the gray wolf outside of its current range, was inconsistent with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and thus was arbitrary and capricious. 

Defenders of Wildlife v. Tuggle 607 F.Supp.2d 1095 (D.Ariz.,2009)

In this case, the Plaintiffs, WildEarth Guardians and the Rewilding Institute (Guardians) and the Defenders of Wildlife (Defenders) challenged procedures for wolf control actions as part of the Mexican wolf reintroduction project within the Blue Range Recovery Area (BRWRA) by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Plaintiffs claims centered on NEPA and ESA violations based on USFWS' adoption of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2003(MOU) and issuance of Standard Operating Procedure 13 (SOP). USFWS filed motions to dismiss these claims for lack of jurisdiction because they argued that neither the MOU nor SOP 13 was a final agency action. Here, the rights and responsibilities of the interested parties were spelled out in the 2003 MOU and SOP 13, similar to if USFWS had issued an interpretive rule covering wolf control measures. Thus, the Court found that the 2003 MOU and SOP 13 "mark the consummation of the agency's decisionmaking process in respect to wolf control measures." The Court also found that the plaintiffs presented duplicate claims under the ESA and APA. USFWS's motion to dismiss was also denied as were the duplicative claims.

Defenders of Wildlife v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 420 F.3d 946 (9th Cir. 2005)

 

Several public interest groups brought actions challenging Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to transfer Clean Water Act (CWA) pollution permitting program for Arizona to that State.  Under federal law, a state may take over the Clean Water Act pollution permitting program in its state from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) if it applies to do so and meets the applicable standards.  When deciding whether to transfer permitting authority, the Fish and Wildlife Service issued, and the EPA relied on, a Biological Opinion premised on the proposition that the EPA lacked the authority to take into account the impact of that decision on endangered species and their habitat.  The plaintiffs in this case challenge the EPA's transfer decision, particularly its reliance on the Biological Opinion's proposition regarding the EPA's limited authority.  The court held that the EPA did have the authority to consider jeopardy to listed species in making the transfer decision, and erred in determining otherwise. For that reason among others, the EPA's decision was arbitrary and capricious. Accordingly, the court granted the petition and remanded to the EPA.

Dehart v. Town of Austin 39 F.3d 718 (7th Cir. 1994)

The breeder was in the business of buying, breeding, raising, and selling of exotic and wild animals. The town passed an ordinance making it unlawful to keep certain wild animals, and the breeder filed suit challenging the constitutionality of a local ordinance.  On appeal, the court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the town because: (1) the ordinance was not preempted by the Animal Welfare Act; (2) the ordinance was not an impermissible attempt to regulate interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause; and (3) the town did not deprive him of his property interest in his federal and state licenses without due process.

Department of Game of Wash. v. Puyallup Tribe 94 S.Ct. 330 (1973)

The Washington Department of Game and the Department of Fisheries brought action for declaratory judgment that members of the Puyallup Indian tribe were not exempt from application of state fishery conservation measures.  The Supreme Court held that commercial net fishing by Puyallup Indians, for which the Indians have treaty protection, Puyallup Tribe v. Dept. of Game, 391 U.S. 392, 88 S.Ct. 1725, 20 L.Ed.2d 689, forecloses the bar against net fishing of steelhead trout imposed by Washington State Game Department's regulation, which discriminates against the Puyallups, and as long as steelhead fishing is permitted, the regulation must achieve an accommodation between the Puyallups' net-fishing rights and the rights of sports fishermen.

Diamond v. Chakrabarty 447 U.S. 303 (1980)

In this case, the Supreme Court of the United States asserts that patent protection may exist for "anything under the sun," so long as it is created by man.  This has permitted genetically engineered animals to be patentable subject matter in the United States.  For more information on patent protection in the United States, see the Patent Act. 

Dias v. City and County of Denver 567 F.3d 1169 (C.A.10 (Colo.),2009)

The Tenth Circuit took up a challenge to Denver's breed-specific ban against pitbull dogs. The plaintiffs, former residents of Denver, contended the ban is unconstitutionally vague on its face and deprives them of substantive due process. The district court dismissed both claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) before plaintiffs presented evidence to support their claims. On appeal, the plaintiffs argue that the district court erred by prematurely dismissing the case at the 12(b)(6) stage. The Tenth Circuit agreed in part, finding that while the plaintiffs lack standing to seek prospective relief for either claim because they have not shown a credible threat of future prosecution, taking the factual allegations in the complaint as true the plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that the pit bull ban is not rationally related to a legitimate government interest.

Dicesare v. Stout 1993 U.S. App. LEXIS 9796

The plaintiff was convicted under an Oklahoma anti-cruelty statute after officer seized his malnourished and neglected horses.  Later, plaintiff brought suit against the officers under 42 U.S.C 1983 claiming that the officers had violated his Fourth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution.  The court dismissed the plaintiff's claim after it determined that  a horse corral near a home was not protected by the Fourth Amendment where the area was used for pastureland and the fence enclosing the area did not and was not intended to prevent the public from viewing the area.      

Diercks v. Wisconsin 2006 WL 3761333 (E.D. Wis. 2006)

An owner of a greyhound kennel was suspected of giving her dogs illegal steroids because an informant told the government agency this was happening. The particular steroid used was impossible to detect using urine samples, so the government agency, without a warrant, installed covert video cameras in the kennel and that way determined that the owner was injecting her dogs. The owner claimed this violated her Fourth Amendment search and seizure rights, and the court agreed; however, the agency actors were not liable because the state of the law on this issue was not clear and it was reasonable for them to think they could legally install the video surveillance system.

Dilorenzo v. Costco Wholesale Corp. 515 F.Supp.2d 1187 (W.D.Wash.)

Plaintiff is a disabled individual who suffers from a variety of ailments arising after her service in the armed forces. Plaintiff's claims arise from interactions with Costco store employees on two separate shopping trips with her service dog. Store employees inquired as to what task the dog performed and objected to the dog being carried in plaintiff's arms around the store. Plaintiff brings her claims under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The court found that Defendant's employees did not exceed the boundaries of a permissible inquiry under the ADA with regard to her service dog, where they never asked Plaintiff to state her disability or demanded proof of special training.

Donald HENDRICK and Concerned Citizens for True Horse Protection, Plaintiffs v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (“USDA”), and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“Aphis”), Defendants. Slip Copy, 2007 WL 2900526 (W.D.Ky.)

This matter is before the Court on the motion of Defendant United States Department of Agriculture's Motion to Dismiss. The Horse Protection Act (HPA) is federal legislation which outlaws the practice of “soring” (harm to the feet or limbs of horses in order to enhance the attractiveness of a light-stepped or high-stepping gait during horse-show performances), which is a particular concern for the breed of Tennessee Walking Horses. Plaintiffs seek to have the Court define “sore” and “scar” beyond the definitions provided in the regulations (specifically the “scar rule”). The court found, however, that any alleged or threatened injury based on the HPA or the Scar Rule has not yet occurred. Mere uncertainty about the HPA and Scar Rule alone does not create an injury in fact.

Doris Day Animal League v. Veneman 315 F.3d 297 (D.C. Cir. 2003) Animal rights group brought action challenging validity of regulation exempting breeders who sell dogs from their residences from licensure under Animal Welfare Act. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, J., held that regulation was invalid, and appeal was taken. The Court of Appeals, Randolph, Circuit Judge, held that regulation was reasonable interpretation of Congressional intent.
Dorman v. Satti 678 F.Supp. 375 (D.Conn.,1988) The federal district court here considered the constitutionality of Connecticut’s Hunter Harassment Act (Conn.Gen.Stat. Section 53a-183a) of 1985. The plaintiff was arrested under the Act after she approached hunters who were hunting waterfowl in public lands adjacent to her property and attempted to verbally dissuade them from hunting. The charge was ultimately dismissed, but plaintiff brought a Section 1983 action to adjudicate the constitutionality of the Act. In finding the Act unconstitutionally vague and overbroad, the Court found that it criminalized constitutionally protected speech. Specifically, the Court found that the Act failed to define “interference” and did not adequately limit the reach of “acts in preparation” to hunt.

Dubner v.City and County of San Francisco 266 F.3d 959

Photographer brought § 1983 claim and several state law claims against city, police officers, and chief of police alleging unlawful arrest. The Court of Appeals, D.W. Nelson, Circuit Judge, held that: (1) photographer established prima facie case of her unlawful arrest by police officers at animal rights demonstration; (2) police lacked probable to cause to arrest photographer for trespassing under California law; (3) police lacked probable cause to arrest photographer under California's unlawful assembly statute; and (4) police chief could be held liable in his individual capacity.

Dunham v. Kootenai County 690 F.Supp.2d 1162 (D.Idaho, 2010)

This matter involves the Defendant Kootenai County's motion for summary judgment this federal civil rights case filed by Dunham. The facts underlying the case stem from 2008, when county animal control officers went to Dunham's residence to investigate complaints of possible animal cruelty. During their investigation, Defendants entered Dunham's property to ascertain the condition of the horses residing there in a round-pen. Despite the conditions of the horses which necessitated their removal and relocation to an equine rescue facility, Dunham was ultimately charged and found not guilty of charges of animal cruelty. Dunham claims that Defendants violated her Fourth Amendment rights when they searched her property and seized her horses without a warrant. Defendants counter that the search was constitutional based on the open fields doctrine, and that the seizure was constitutional based on the plain view doctrine. Based on the open fields doctrine, the Court concluded that Dunham did not have an expectation of privacy in the searched area.

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