Cases

Case namesort ascending Citation Summary
Noah v. Attorney General appeal 9232/01

Court held that the forsed feeding of geese for making foie Gras was a violation of the laws of Israel.(In Hebrew)( English language .pdf - translated by CHAI)

Nikolic v. Seidenberg 610 N.E.2d 177 (Ill. App. Ct. 1993)

When the pet owner adopted a dog, she signed a contract agreeing to have her dog spayed at the vet's facility and to return the dog to the vet if it was sick. For days after the surgery the dog was ill so the other vet performed exploratory surgery and repaired a cut in the dog's intestine. The pet owner filed an action to recover the medical expenses and the lower court granted the vet's motion to dismiss.  The reviewing court held that the language in the contract was not sufficiently clear and explicit to exculpate the vet from negligence because the vet was not a party to the contract and thus not a direct beneficiary of the contract.

Nigro v. New York Racing Ass'n, Inc. 93 A.D.3d 647 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept. 2012)

An experienced exercise rider sued the owner of a race track seeking damages for personal injury after the horse she was riding fell on her while crossing a gravel-strewn asphalt road. The Supreme Court held that the rider assumed the risk that the horse might fall by choosing to cross the road despite being aware of the danger. The doctrine of “primary assumption of the risk” applied, and the owner of the premises was not at fault.

Nichols v. Sukaro Kennels 555 N.W.2d 689 (Iowa, 1996)

During a stay at defendant kennel, the kennel owner's dog tore off plaintiff's dog's left front leg and shoulder blade.  Plaintiff's petition sought damages to compensate for the injuries and suffering the dog incurred and the loss of aesthetic intrinsic value of the dog.  In upholding the district court's denial of damages for emotional injury and mental suffering, the Court of Appeals rejected plaintiff's argument for damages based on the intrinsic value of a pet for the negligent injury to the dog.

Nichols v. Lowe's Home Center, Inc. 407 F.Supp.2d 979 (S.D.Ill.,2006)

A customer brought an action against Lowe's home improvement store to recover for injury sustained when a "wild bird" flew into the back of her head while she was shopping in the gardening area.  The plaintiff argued that the defendant did not exercise reasonable care in making the premises safe and that the defendant did not warn customers that the birds were a dangerous condition on the premises.  In granting the owner's motion for summary judgment, the court held that the store owner did not owe customer a duty under Illinois law to protect her from wild bird attack since attack was not reasonably foreseeable.  Further, the store owner was not the "owner" or "keeper" of a "wild bird" within meaning of Illinois Animal Control Act.

Newton County Wildlife Ass'n v. U.S. Forest Service 113 F.3d 110 (8th Cir. 1997) Newton County Wildlife Association sued the United States Forest Service seeking judicial review of four timber sales in the Ozark National Forest. The Wildlife Association filed sequential motions to preliminarily enjoin the sales as violative of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (WSRA) and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The district court1 separately denied each motion, and the Wildlife Association separately appealed those orders. The Court held that because the Forest Service may limit WSRA plans to lands lying within designated river segments, failure to timely prepare the Plans cannot be a basis for enjoining timber sales on lands lying outside any designated area. With respect to the MBTA, the Court held that "it would stretch this 1918 statute far beyond the bounds of reason to construe it as an absolute criminal prohibition on conduct, such as timber harvesting, that indirectly results in the death of migratory birds." Therefore, the Court affirmed the district court's denial of injunctive relief.
Newsome v. Erwin 137 F.Supp.2d 934 (S.D. Ohio 2000)

Plaintiff brought § 1983 action against county sheriff and others alleging that defendants violated his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights when they shot and killed his pet lioness.

Newport v. Moran 721 P.2d 465 (Or.App.,1986)

In this Oregon case, an action was brought to recover damages for injuries after defendant's dog ran into plaintiff and knocked her down. The lower court entered a verdict against the defendant and she appealed. The Court of Appeals held that, after reviewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff, there was find no evidence that would put defendant on notice that the dog had a potentially dangerous propensity to run into people. Further, without some reason to foresee that the dog was likely to run into people, there was no common-law duty to confine the dog. The evidence also did not warrant submission of the case to the jury on the theory of negligence per se for violation of the dog control ordinance because this risk was not one anticipated by the ordinance. Reversed.

Newell v. Baldridge 548 F.Supp. 39 (D.C. Wash. 1982)

Newell was a tropical fish importer who became involved in a mislabeling scheme to import endangered sea turtles.  On appeal, Newell claimed he lacked the requisite knowledge or intent because he did not directly handle the imported sea turtles, he could not have known that they were mislabeled.  The court held that substantial evidence in the record supports the findings below that Newell knew or should have known of the mislabeling of the shipments of sea turtles.  Further, the court upheld the imposition of $1,000 penalty for each violation of the Lacey Act because of the mulit-violation, mislabeling scheme and the vital public interest in deterring illegal wildlife trade.

New York Pet Welfare Ass'n, Inc. v. City of New York 143 F.Supp.3d 50 (E.D. New York,2015)

(Aff'd on appeal to 2nd Circuit: New York Pet Welfare Association, Inc. v. City of New York, 850 F.3d 79 (2d Cir. 2017). Plaintiffs, a non-profit group trade association of pet stores ("NYPWA"), dog and cat breeders and dealers, veterinarians, and pet owners, brought this action against New York City, the city council, and council members, alleging that defendants have adopted laws that violate the Supremacy Clause, the Commerce Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution, as well as New York law that governs veterinary medicine, the treatment of animals, and equal protection. The challenged law relate to the sale of dogs and cats in the city that require pet stores to obtain pets from Class A USDA licensees in good standing and that the pet stores spay and neuter the pets before selling them. In rejecting NYPWA's federal preemption claim, the court found that the AWA specifically contemplates local regulation in § 2143(a)(8) and previous cases have found no conflict even where the local legislation bans what is otherwise allowed under the AWA. The court also found no conflict with state law (N.Y. Gen. Bus. § 753–d) or other laws concerning veterinary licensing, pet shops, and animal cruelty. In dismissing plaintiff's Equal Protection argument, the court was not persuaded that pet stores and shelters/rescues are "similarly situated" to support the claim. Additionally, the court found a rational basis to support any differential treatment. NYPWA also alleged that the Pet Shop Laws violate the dormant Commerce Clause, arguing that the laws impermissibly regulate extraterritorially and favor local interests. The court found that even if plaintiff's factual allegations were true, the law was not economic protectionism, but an attempt to curb problems with homeless animals and euthanasia. Finally, the court found not due process violations (substantive or procedural) where there is no interference with a constitutionally protected right. NYPWA's motion to dismiss the claims is granted and the motion for preliminary injunction was denied.

New York City Friends of Ferrets v. City of New York 876 F. Supp. 529 (S.D.N.Y. 1995)

New York City Friends of Ferrets, an unincorporated association of individuals in New York City who own or wish to own ferrets as household pets, bring this action challenging the legality of the City of New York's prohibition against the keeping of ferrets within the City limits and the requirement that in any case where a ferret is reported to have bitten a human being, the ferret be immediately surrendered to the New York City Department of Health and humanely destroyed in order to conduct a rabies examination.  The district court granted the city's summary judgment motion, and dismissed the ferret owners' equal protection claim. The court found a rational relationship between the city's ferret ban and its legitimate interest in protecting human safety.

New Orleans Bulldog Soc'y v. Louisiana Soc'y for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 200 So. 3d 996 (La.App. 4 Cir. 9/7/16), writ granted, 2016-1809 (La. 1/9/17), 214 So. 3d 859, and aff'd, 2016-1809 (La. 5/3/17), 222 So. 3d 679 The Plaintiff, the Bulldog Rescue Mission, is a nonprofit dog welfare organization organized under Louisiana law to advocate for dog welfare in New Orleans. The plaintiff sought information under Louisiana’s Public Records Law related to the dogs euthanized by the Defendant, the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LSPCA). LSPCA declared that they were not a public body and thus, not subject to the Public Records Law. The Bulldog Rescue Mission filed a petition for writ of mandamus in the district court, seeking a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. The trial court dismissed their petition and the plaintiff appealed. The Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit held that LSPCA was a quasi-public entity subject to Public Records Law because the organization performed municipal functions on behalf of the municipal government. The court found LSPCA receives an annual compensation of almost two million dollars for providing services for quasi-municipal functions such as enforcing code violations and taking and receiving animals. Thus, it cannot characterize the service as "voluntary" since it "clearly operates[s] under the color of City Authority." Bulldog rescue also claims error with the trial court ruling that, even if LSPCA is subject to public records laws, these obligations are met through its Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) reporting requirement. This court found that the CEA contractual agreement made between the city of Louisiana and LSPCA allowing the organization to provide mandated city services related to animal control could not be used to circumscribe Public Records Law compliance. In other words, the limited statistical reporting required under the CEA is not a valid substitute for a public record request that would show all governmental functions and duties performed. The judgment of the trial court was reversed where this court found the trial court clearly erred in dismissing the Bulldog Rescue petition for a writ of mandamus.
New Mexico State Game Commission v. Udall 410 F.2d 1197 (C.A.N.M. 1969)

The State of New Mexico filed an suit to prevent the U.S. Secretary of the Interior from killing deer in the Carlsbad Caverns National Park that were overbrowsing vegetation and posing a threat to the park's ecology without first having obtained the necessary state permit.  The Court held that the Secretary has the authority to kill the deer to protect the park property, and it is immaterial that the United States does not have exclusive jurisdiction over the lands within Carlsbad Caverns National Park as it has constitutional authority in the form of supervisory powers to manage national parks.  To New Mexico and the other states involved in an amicus capacity in the suit, the real concern was over the federal encroachment into state management of fish and game, particularly in those states where much of the land is under federal control.

New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau , et. al. v. U.S. Dep't of Interior, et. al. 952 F.3d 1216 (10th Cir. 2020) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") designated 764,207 acres in New Mexico and Arizona as critical habitat for the jaguar pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. The area was divided into six individual units. Units 5 and 6 were the ones at issue. Plaintiffs filed suit contending that the Service’s designation of Units 5 and 6 as critical habitat was arbitrary and capricious. The district court ruled in favor of the Service and this appeal followed. There was no concrete evidence that jaguars were present in Units 5 and 6 at any time before 1995. The Service’s reliance on sightings in 1995, 1996, and 2006 to support a conclusion of occupation in 1972 was not based on expert opinion. It was purely speculative. The Court agreed with the Plaintiffs that the Service’s designation of Units 5 and 6 as occupied critical habitat was arbitrary and capricious. The Court further found that in order for an unoccupied area to be designated as a critical habitat, the Service must first find that the designation of the occupied areas is inadequate to ensure conservation of the species. The Service addressed all units together, finding that to the extent they were occupied, they were essential for the conservation of the species. The Court ultimately found that the Service did not follow its own regulations or give a rational explanation for failing to do so and as a result, its designation of Units 5 an 6 as critical habitat was arbitrary and capricious. The decision of the district court was reversed and remanded.
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish v. United States Department of the Interior 854 F.3d 1236 (10th Cir. 2017) Defendant, The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) released two Mexican gray wolf pups on federal land in New Mexico without a permit. Their goal was to increase the recovery of the wolf population more rapidly. The Plaintiff, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish ("Department") brought action against FWS and the United States Department of Interior. The Department requested declaratory and injunctive relief to prohibit FWS from releasing more Mexican gray wolves within New Mexico’s borders. Other wildlife organizations and various states also intervened as Defendants. The United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, entered an order granting the Department a preliminary injunction. The Defendants appealed. The United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, reversed and remanded. The Court held that: (1) the Department failed to establish a significant risk of irreparable injury to its wildlife management efforts, and (2) the Department failed to establish a significant risk of irreparable injury to New Mexico’s sovereignty.
New Jersey Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v. Board of Education 219 A.2d 200 (N.J. Super. Ct. 1966)

In this action, the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, sought recovery against the Board of Education of the City of East Orange of penalties of the rate of $100 per alleged violation arising out of cancer-inducing experiments conducted by a student in its high school upon live chickens. By permission of the court, defendants, New Jersey Science Teachers’ Association and National Society for Medical Research Inc. were permitted by the court to participate as amicus curiae. The court found that because the board did not obtain authorization from the health department, an authorization which the health department did not think was needed, it was not thereby barred from performing living animal experimentation. The court concluded that the experiment at issue was not per se needless or unnecessary, and that such experiment did not fall within the ban of N.J. Stat. Ann. § 4:22-26 against needless mutilation, killing, or the infliction of unnecessary cruelty.

New Jersey Soc. for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v. New Jersey Dept. of Agriculture 2007 WL 486764 (N.J.Super.A.D.,2007)

This New Jersey case concerns several challenges to the adoption of livestock regulations by the state Department of Agriculture.   Specifically, several animal welfare groups contended that several of the regulations were inhumane and in violation of the state’s legislative mandate to issue humane livestock standards. The Superior Court of New Jersey, appellate division, agreed with the Department, holding that the challenged regulations are consistent with the agency's legislative mandate, and are neither arbitrary, nor unreasonable. This Judgment was Affirmed in Part, Reversed in Part by New Jersey Soc. for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v. New Jersey Dept. of Agriculture, 196 N.J. 366,955 A.2d 886 (N.J., 2008).

New Jersey Soc. for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v. New Jersey Dept. of Agriculture 955 A.2d 886 (N.J.,2008)

The issue in the case was whether the regulations promulgated by the NJDA pursuant to this authority were invalid for failing to comply with the “humane” standards requirement. Although the court held that the regulations in their entirety were not invalid, the court found that NJDA acted arbitrarily and capriciously in enacting its regulations by allowing all “routine husbandry practices,” as there was no evidence that those practices were “humane.” The court further rejected NJDA regulations allowing cattle tail docking, finding no evidence to support that the practices were “humane.” Finally, the court rejected the assertion of NJDA that certain controversial farm practices, such as castration, de-beaking, and toe-trimming, are “humane” if they are performed by a “knowledgeable individual” “in a way to minimize pain.”

New Hampshire Ins. Co. v. Farmer Boy AG, Inc. Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 2000 WL 33125128 (S.D.Ind.)

Lightning struck a hog breeding facility, which disabled the ventilation system and killed pregnant sows. Plaintiff Insurance Company sued defendant for damages. The Court held that evidence of damages relating to the lost litters and subsequent generations was excluded because damages for future unborn litters are not recoverable when damages are recovered for the injury to or destruction of the pregnant sows.

New England Anti-Vivisection Society v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service and Yerkes National Primate Research Center 208 F. Supp. 3d 142 (D.D.C. 2016) New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS), a non-profit organization that dedicates itself to animal-welfare, brought suit against the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for issuing an export permit to Yerkes National Primate Research Center (Yerkes). NEAVS filed suit against FWS arguing that FWS had violated the Endangered Species Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. NEAVS argued that FWS had violated the acts by allowing Yerkes to export chimpanzees in exchange for making a financial donation that would be put towards a program to help with “habitat destruction and disease, which face wild chimpanzees in East Africa.” The court reviewed the case and determined that it did not have subject-matter jurisdiction to address the claims made by NEAVS. The court found that NEAVS was not able to establish standing under Article III of the Constitution because NEAVS had not “suffered an injury in fact.” Ultimately, the court held that NEAVS was unable to show that it had a “concrete and particularized injury in fact that is actual or imminent” and that is “traceable” to FWS’ actions. As a result, the court granted summary judgment in favor of FWS.
Nelson v. Lewis 344 N.E.2d 268 (Ill.App. 1976)

Toddler accidentally stepped on the tail of the owner's dog, and the dog responded by scratching her eye, causing permanent damage to the tear duct.  The toddler sought damages under Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 8, para. 366 (1973), arguing that her unintentional act did not constitute provocation.  The court held that provocation under the statute referred to both intentional or unintentional acts.  Because the dog was provoked by the unintentional act, he did not react viciously.

Neita v. City of Chicago 830 F.3d 494 (7th Cir. 2016) Vaughn Neita brought this suit for damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Illinois law, alleging false arrest and illegal searches in violation of the Fourth Amendment arising from an animal cruelty arrest. He was ultimately found not guilty on all counts by an Illinois judge. In 2012, Neita owned a dog-grooming business and rescue shelter. He brought two dogs to the Chicago Department of Animal Care and Control because one dog had attacked another dog in Neita's care and another dog had become ill after whelping a litter of puppies. When Neita arrived with the dogs, an animal control employee contacted police officers who then arrested Neita and searched his business premises, resulting in 13 counts of animal cruelty. With regard to this § 1983 action and Illinois state claims, while Neita amended his complaint twice, it was ultimately dismissed with prejudice for failure to adequately plead any constitutional violation. This appeal then followed. The Seventh Circuit held that to prevail on a false arrest claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must show that there was no probable cause for his or her arrest. Neita arrived at Animal Control to surrender two dogs that showed no signs of abuse or neglect without evidence that he mistreated either dog. Those statements in the amended complaint are sufficient to permit a false arrest claim to proceed. As to the claim of illegal searches, the court found that a plausible claim for false arrest also allowed his claim for an illegal search incident to his arrest to move forward. The dismissal of Neita's claims was reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
Nebraska Beef, Ltd. v. United States Department of Agriculture 398 F.3d 1080 (8th Cir. 2005)

Eight Circuit Court of Appeals decided not to allow Nebraska Beef to pursue a Bivens remedy --remedy allows a party to recover damages when federal officials violate a person's constitutional rights when Congress has not provided an adequate remedy-- after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) allegedly breached a mutual consent decision agreed upon after the USDA issued Noncompliance Records for perceived regulatory violations.

Nava v. McMillan 176 Cal.Rptr. 473 (Cal.App.2.Dist.)

In a personal injury action brought by a pedestrian who was hit by an automobile when she stepped into a street, the trial court dismissed the complaint against occupiers of land who maintained fenced dogs, which plaintiff alleged frightened her, causing her to step into the street. The Court of Appeal affirmed. The court held that the complaint failed to set forth facts giving rise to tortious liability on the part of the owners of fenced dogs, either on the theory of simple negligence or strict liability.

Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. National Marine Fisheries Service 409 F.Supp.2d 379 (S.D.N.Y.2006)

The Natural Resources Defense Council sought material from the National Marine Fisheries Service about an incident of mass stranding of whales under the Freedom of Information Act because the Council thought it had to do with navy sonar use. The Service did not want to release the materials, saying they were protected from disclosure because they were discussions of agency decision-making. The court required disclosure of most of the materials because purely factual matters are not protected from disclosure.

Natural Resources Defense Council v. Rodgers 381 F.Supp.2d 1212 (2005, E.D.Cal.)

An environmental organization brought an action against United States Bureau of Reclamation, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service, alleging that agencies failed to examine critical issues in biological opinions (BiOps) before executing water contracts for delivery of California Water Project water to irrigation and water districts. On a cross motion for summary judgment, the District Court held that the agencies failed to conduct adequate adverse modification analyses, failed to conduct adequate jeopardy analyses, and that the conduct of BOR in relying on the issued BiOps was arbitrary and capricious.

Natural Resources Defense Council v. Evans 232 F. Supp. 2d 1003 (N.D. Cal. 2002)

Plaintiffs, various environmental organizations and a concerned individual, sought a preliminary injunction against federal officials to prevent the United States Navy's peacetime use of a low frequency sonar system for training, testing and routine operations. The defendants temporarily enjoined from deploying Low Frequency Active Sonar until a carefully tailored preliminary injunction can be issued which would permit the use of Low Frequency Active Sonar for testing and training in a variety of ocean conditions, but would provide additional safeguards to reduce the risk to marine mammals and endangered species.

Nationwide Horse Carriers, Inc. v. Johnston 519 S.W.2d 163 (Tex.,1974)

A pregnant mare was injured during transport and lost her foal. The owner sued carrier for damages. The Court of Civil Appeals held that horse owner was not entitled to recover damages for loss of mare’s unborn foal; that award for mare's diminished ability to produce healthy foals was excessive in light of fact that she subsequently produced a foal that survived; and that horse owner was not entitled to attorney fees since the horse was considered freight.

National Wildlife Federation v. Norton 386 F.Supp.2d 553 (D. Vt. 2005)

Conservation groups brought action against Final Rule promulgated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reclassify the gray wolf from endangered to threatened in most of the United States.  The Rule created Eastern and Western Distinct Population segment and simultaneously downlisted them from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act [ESA].  The Final Rule deviated significantly from the Proposed Rule and thus failed to provide adequate notice and opportunity for comment to the public, and the court also found the Final Rule an arbitrary and capricious application of the ESA.

National Meat Ass'n v. Harris 680 F.3d 1193 (9th Cir., 2012)

This opinion vacates National Meat Ass'n v. Brown, 599 F.3d 1093 (9th Cir., 2010) and affirms the judgment of the district court.

National Meat Ass'n v. Harris 32 S.Ct. 965 (2012)

Trade association representing packers and processors of swine livestock and pork products sued the State of California for declaratory and injunctive relief barring a ban on slaughter and inhumane handling of nonambulatory animals on federally regulated swine slaughterhouses. The Supreme Court held that the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) preempted the California Penal Code provision prohibiting the sale of meat or meat product of “nonambulatory” animals for human consumption and requiring immediate euthanization of nonambulatory animals.

National Meat Ass'n v. Brown 599 F.3d 1093 (C.A.9 (Cal.), 2010)

This is an interlocutory appeal brought by the State of California and defendant-intervenors The Humane Society, et al., from a preliminary injunction prohibiting the enforcement of California Penal Code § 599f, which bans the slaughter and inhumane handling of nonambulatory animals, against federally regulated swine slaughterhouses. The district court granted the preliminary injunction. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) did not expressly preempt California statute banning slaughter of nonambulatory animals. On the humane handling requirement of section 599f, the court did find that Section 599f(e) prohibits dragging of unconscious downer animals which the federal law does not. However, NMA failed to show a likelihood of irreparable injury or that the balance of the equities and the public interest tip in its favor for this provision. This court found that the lower court abused its discretion in granting a preliminary injunction, and the injunction was vacated. This case was later vacated by: National Meat Ass'n v. Harris , 680 F.3d 1193 (9th Cir., 2012).

National Audubon Society, Inc. v. Davis 307 F.3d 835 (9th Cir. 2002)

In 1998, California voters passed Proposition 4, which restricted the use of certain kinds of traps, specifically steel-jawed leghold traps.  The National Audubon Society, among other groups, challenged the statute, arguing that it was preempted by the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), and the and National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act (NWRSIA).  The Ninth Circuit held that the statute was preempted by the Endangered Species Act and the National Wildlife Refuge System Act.  Contrary to the trapper-plaintiffs contentions, the statute, however, did not violate the Commerce Clause.

National Audubon Society, Inc. v. Davis 312 F.3d 416 (9th Cir. 2002)

This order accompanies the Ninth Circuit's decision in National Audubon v. Davis, 307 F.3d 835 (9th Cir. 2002).

Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc. v. U.S. Dep't of the Interior 397 F. Supp. 3d 430 (S.D.N.Y. 2019) This case centers on the Trump Administration's new interpretation of incidental takings under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). In December 2017, the Principal Deputy Solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) issued a memorandum that countered almost 50 years of the agency’s interpretation of “takings” and “killings” under the MBTA (the "Jorjani Opinion"). According to the DOI in that opinion, the MBTA does not prohibit incidental takes or kills because the statute applies only to activities specifically aimed at birds. Environmental interest groups and various states brought three now-consolidated actions to vacate the memorandum and subsequent guidance issued in reliance on the memorandum. Both parties moved for summary judgment. In essence, the question before the court is whether DOI’s interpretation of the MBTA must be set aside as contrary to law under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) or upheld as a valid exercise of agency authority. The court first observed that, from the early 1970s until 2017, the DOI interpreted the MBTA to prohibit incidental takes and kills, imposing liability for activities and hazards that led to the deaths of protected birds, irrespective of whether the activities targeted birds or were intended to take or kill birds. To conserve migratory birds and ensure compliance with the MBTA’s prohibition on “incidental take,” the DOI's Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) used a range of strategies: sending companies notice of the risks their facilities and equipment posed to migratory birds; issuing industry guidance; informally negotiating remediation efforts; and issuing permits authorizing takes. In fact, the court noted that the agency prioritized a cooperative approach with industry over enforcement actions. In 2015, the DOI formalized this approach by undergoing a rulemaking process regulating incidental take. In early 2017, the DOI's Solicitor then issued a memorandum that reaffirmed the long-standing interpretation that the MBTA prohibited incidental take that became known as the "Tomkins Opinion." Once presidential administrations changed and Tomkins departed, the new Principal Deputy Solicitor issued a new memorandum that stated any agency comments, recommendations, or actions not be based on the principle that the MBTA prohibited incidental take (the Jorjani Opinion). This triggered the instant lawsuits by conservation organizations and several states. On July 31, 2019, the lower court found that the plaintiffs sufficiently demonstrated standing and denied the DOI's motion to dismiss. On appeal here, this court first noted that both parties agree with longstanding precedent that the MBTA's misdemeanor provision creates strict liability. In contrast, the Jorjani Opinion contends that the criminal penalty provisions under the MBTA is limited to only acts directed at birds and those activities whose purpose is to "render an animal subject to human control" like hunting or capturing. In reviewing the Jorjani Opinion under the lessened deference standard afforded by administrative law, this court found the DOI overstated the any conflicts in interpretation of the MBTA among circuit courts (a "dramatized representation"). In addition, the court found the Jorjani Opinion "is a recent and sudden departure from long-held agency positions backed by over forty years of consistent enforcement practices." The court found the Jorjani Opinion was an unpersuasive interpretation of the MBTA's unambiguous prohibition on the killing of birds and is contrary to the plain language of the law itself. Such an interpretation runs contrary to legislative history, decades of enforcement practices by the DOI, and caselaw. Because the agency's action was held unlawful under the APA, the court found the only appropriate remedy was vacatur. Thus, Plaintiffs’ motions for summary judgment were granted, and Interior’s motion was denied.
Nat'l Pork Producers Council v. Ross 598 U.S. 356, 143 S. Ct. 1142, 215 L. Ed. 2d 336 (2023) Following the adoption of California’s Proposition 12, two organizations – the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation (Petitioners) – filed this lawsuit on behalf of the members of these organizations that are in the business of raising and processing pigs for the sale of pork meat. Petitioners allege that Proposition 12, which forbids the sale of whole pork meat in California that is made from breeding pigs (or their immediate offspring) that are confined in a cruel manner, violates the dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution by placing an impermissible burden on interstate commerce. Under Proposition 12, confinement of pigs is cruel if it prevents a pig from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs, or turning around freely. Petitioners allege that the cost of compliance with Proposition 12 will increase production costs, but concede that those costs will fall on both California and out-of-state pork producers. Petitioners also allege that, because California imports most of the pork it consumes, the cost of compliance with Proposition 12 will be dealt to mostly out-of-state producers. The district court concluded that petitioners’ complaint failed to state a claim as a matter of law and dismissed the case, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. The Supreme Court granted certiorari and affirmed the judgment of the Ninth Circuit, rejecting petitioners’ arguments that Proposition 12 violates the dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Court found no violation of the dormant Commerce Clause because: (1) petitioners concede that Proposition 12 did not implicate the antidiscrimination principle, because it imposes the same burdens on in-state pork producers that it imposes on out-of-state pork producers, and (2) petitioners’ reliance on the Pike line of cases to prevent a state from regulating the sale of a consumer good within its borders on nondiscriminatory terms was rejected, as that line of cases had never yielded such a result. The judgment of the Ninth Circuit was affirmed.
Nat'l Pork Producers Council v. Ross 6 F.4th 1021 (9th Cir. 2021), aff'd, 598 U.S. 356, 143 S. Ct. 1142, 215 L. Ed. 2d 336 (2023) This case concerns a challenge to Proposition 12, a measure passed by California voters in 2018 that bans the sale of whole pork meat (no matter where produced) from animals confined in a manner inconsistent with California standards. Proposition 12 amended sections 25990–25993 of the California Health and Safety Code to “prevent animal cruelty by phasing out extreme methods of farm animal confinement." The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation (collectively referred to as “the Council”) filed an action for declaratory and injunctive relief on the ground that Proposition 12 violates the dormant Commerce Clause. The court noted that under its precedent, a state law violates the dormant Commerce Clause only in narrow circumstances. Here, the Council argues that Proposition 12 places an undue burden on interstate commerce and that Proposition 12 has an impermissible extraterritorial effect. The court disagreed, finding that Proposition 12 does not function as a price-control nor price-affirmation statute, as it neither dictates the price of for pork products nor does it tie the price of pork products sold in California to out-of-state prices. The Council also suggests that the law effectively violates the dormant Commerce Clause because of the interconnected nature of the pork industry. Pork producers would either have to produce all pork according to California standards or segregate California pork production to comply with the enhanced welfare standards. Again, the court found the argument unpersuasive based on precedent because a a state law is not impermissibly extraterritorial unless it directly regulates conduct that is wholly out of state. The "upstream" effects of Proposition 12 apply to both California and out-of-state entities equally, and a state is entitled to regulate commerce within its state. Finally, the court dismissed the argument that the dormant commerce clause is violated because it create inconsistent regulations where there is a need for "national uniformity in regulation." The court was unpersuaded that pork production rises to the level of need like taxation or interstate travel. The court held that the complaint here does not plausibly allege that such narrow circumstances apply to Proposition 12; thus, the court ruled that the district court did not err in dismissing the Council's complaint for failure to state a claim.
Nason v. Stone Hill Realty Association 1996 WL 1186942 (Mass. 1996) A tenant with multiple sclerosis took in her mother's cat when her mother became ill. The housing authority had a no pets policy and requested that the tenant remove the pet from the premises. The tenant in turn offered a letter from her physician stating that "there would be serious negative consequences for her health if she was compelled to remove the cat." The court held that the tenant did not meet her burden of proving a nexus between the cat and her multiple sclerosis, reasoning that the physician's note does not state that the cat is necessary to alleviate her symptoms and that a more reasonable accommodation may be available.
Naruto v. Slater 888 F.3d 418 (9th Cir. Apr. 23, 2018) A seven-year-old monkey named Naruto that lived in a reserve on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia got ahold of a wildlife photographer’s unattended camera in 2011 and took several photos of himself. David Slater, the owner of the camera, and Wildlife Personalities, Ltd., (“Wildlife”) published the photos in a book that identifies Slater and Wildlife as the copyright owners of the photographs. In 2015 PETA and Dr. Engelhardt filed a complaint against Slater, Wildlife, and Blurb (the website that helped create the book) for copyright infringement on behalf of Naruto. The defendants filed motions to dismiss on the grounds that the complaint failed to state facts sufficient to establish standing under Article III or statutory standing under the Copyright Act. The district court granted the motions to dismiss. PETA and Dr. Engelhardt appealed on Naruto’s behalf. Dr. Engelhardt ended up withdrawing from the litigation, so PETA remained as the next friend of Naruto. The Court of Appeals held that PETA cannot validly assert a “next friend” status to represent Naruto because they failed to allege any facts to establish the required significant relationship between a next friend and a real party in interest and secondly an animal cannot be represented by a “next friend” under the laws of the United States. The Court pointed out, however, that lack of a next friend does not destroy an incompetent party’s standing entirely. “Article III standing does not compel a conclusion that a statutorily authorized suit in the name of an animal is not a case or controversy.” Based on precedent, the Court concluded that Naruto did not have standing to sue under the Copyright Act because the statute did not expressly state that animals have standing. The Court affirmed the district court’s ruling that held that Naruto and animals in general lack statutory standing to sue under the Copyright Act. The Court also awarded the defendants attorneys’ fees. Circuit Court Judge N.R. Smith wrote a concurring opinion agreeing that the case must be dismissed but disagreeing with the Majority’s conclusion that next friend standing is non-jurisdictional. Judge Smith stated that “the Majority ignores its own conclusion by determining that 1) next-friend standing is non-jurisdictional; and 2) even if the elements of next-friend standing are not met, any third party may still bring suit on behalf of anyone or anything – without the real party in interest’s permission – as long as the real party in interest has an Article III injury; and the real party in interest is adequately protected by the purported next friend’s (or self-appointed lawyer’s) representation. In his opinion, this fails to follow both Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit precedent. Judge Smith further concludes that Supreme Court precedent bars next friend standing for animals because the scope of next friend standing is limited by historical practice and there is no historical evidence that animals have ever been granted authority to sue by next friend, absent an act of Congress. There is also no textual support in the habeas corpus statute or Rule 17 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. This is because only a natural person can have a habeas corpus petition filed on their behalf. Rule 17 only authorizes next friend suits on behalf of “a minor or an incompetent person.” The Majority’s conclusion that next friend standing is non-jurisdictional and, therefore, allowed the case to go forward is incorrect and is legally unsupportable by precedent. In his opinion, the case must be dismissed if there is no next friend standing and the Majority should have never reached the merits of the Copyright Act question. The question before the court was whether a third-party had next friend standing allowing it to invoke the authority of the court and stand in Naruto’s shoes to advance his claims. The question was not whether Naruto was properly protected or was brought into the litigation as a defendant.
Naples v. Miller No. CIV.A.08C-01-093PLA, 2009 WL 1163504 (Del. Super. Ct. Apr. 30, 2009) In this case, the plaintiff brought a lawsuit against the defendant alleging damage to property, which included past and future veterinary bills, emotional distress, mental anguish, and punitive damages caused by the attack of “Ricky”, defendant’s rescue dog to the plaintiff’s terrier “Peanut”. Peanut's veterinary treatment cost over $14,000. Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment were filed by both parties. Defendants alleged that veterinary expenses were not compensable in a property damage case. Additionally, defendants argued that there was no basis for recovery for emotional distress and mental anguish as noneconomic damages were not available for damage to personal property either. Finally, defendants contended that facts did not support an argument for punitive damages as this claim required conduct that is "outrageous" or the result of an "evil motive" or a "reckless indifference to the rights of others," Plaintiff’s moved for summary judgment as well. Plaintiff argued that defendants responsibility was based on 7 Del. C. § 1711 that makes the owner of a dog liable in damages for "any loss to person or property." However, the issue as to the measure of damages was not addressed. The court granted partial summary judgment for the defendant. In its opinion, the court stated that “under Delaware law, dogs were seen as personal property, and the damages to Peanut could not be measured as if Peanut was a human being.” As personal property, a dog is “subject to the same measure of damages as a sofa, a car, a rug, a vase, or any other inanimate item of property.” For that reason veterinary expenses in excess of market value and emotional damage could not be recovered. On the punitive damages allegations, the court did not find that the plaintiff had presented any evidence as to the defendant’s conduct that would satisfy the standard of behavior required.
Nantucket Residents Against Turbines v. U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Mgmt. 100 F.4th 1 (1st Cir. 2024) In this case, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) approved the construction of Vineyard Wind, a wind power project off the coast of Massachusetts after consulting with the National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”). A group of Nantucket residents, organized as "Nantucket Residents Against Turbines" (“Residents”), allege that the federal agencies violated the Endangered Species Act by concluding that the project's construction likely would not jeopardize the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts granted summary judgment for BOEM and NMFS. On appeal of summary judgment, the Residents further allege that BOEM violated the National Environmental Policy Act by relying on NMFS's flawed analysis. The court rejected the Residents' argument, finding that NMFS's biological opinion properly analyzed the current status and environmental baseline of the right whale. Further, the biological opinion properly analyzed the effects of the project (e.g., noise) on the right whale, along with mitigation measures, and did not ignore the project's additive effects on the right whale's long-term recovery prospects. Finally, BOEM's reliance on the biological opinion did not violate NEPA. The judgment of the district court was affirmed.
N.Y. Pet Welfare Ass'n, Inc. v. City of N.Y. 850 F.3d 79 (2d Cir. 2017)

In 2015, New York City enacted a group of laws aimed at dealing with problems associated with the companion animal business in the city by regulating the sale of dogs and cats in pet shops. On the day the laws were to go into effect, the New York Pet Welfare Association (NYPWA) filed suit challenging two of the laws. The first law, the “Sourcing Law,” required that pet shops sell only animals acquired from breeders holding a Class A license issued under the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The second law law, the “Spay/Neuter Law,” required that pet shops sterilize each animal before releasing it to a consumer. NYPWA argued that the Sourcing Law violated the “dormant” Commerce Clause and is preempted by the AWA, and that the Spay/Neuter Law is preempted by New York law. The district court dismissed NYPWA’s complaint and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision. First, the 2nd Circuit determined that the Sourcing Law did not violate the Commerce Clause because it did not discriminate against interstate commerce. The 2nd Circuit found that the Sourcing Law may make it difficult for certain out of state breeders to sell to city shops, but so long as breeders from other states are allowed to sell in the city, then it is not considered to be discriminatory. Also, the 2nd Circuit found that NYPWA was unable to show that any incidental burden that the Sourcing Law placed on out of state breeders was excessive and therefore the law passed under the Pike Balancing test. Lastly, the 2nd Circuit determined that the Spay/Neuter Law was not preempted by New York Law because NYPWA failed to identify a single New York statute or case that suggests that the new law would be preempted in any way. As a result, the 2nd Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling.

Murrell v. Hooter 892 So.2d 680 (5th Cir., 2004)

A champion jumping horse was struck and killed by a van after escaping through an open gate.  The horse owner sued the property owners for negligence and the trial court granted defendants' summary judgment.  The Court of Appeals reversed the decision holding the defendants were not entitled to immunity under the Equine Immunity Statute.

Murga v. Yarusso 215 A.D.3d 979, 187 N.Y.S.3d 762 (2023) This New York case involved action to recover damages for personal injuries sustained after defendant's dog allegedly ran into street and pushed the plaintiff pedestrian to the ground. The plaintiff described the dog as acting like a "big puppy" and the dog did not bite the plaintiff. In contrast, the defendant testified that the dog was chasing a ball in the defendant's front yard and did not actually go in the street. Rather, defendant asserts that plaintiff tripped upon seeing the dog in the yard. The complaint alleged that the defendant was negligent in failing to keep the dog under control and to take protective measures knowing of the aggressive propensity of the dog. The Supreme Court, Suffolk County granted the defendant-owner's motion for summary judgment. On appeal by the plaintiff, the plaintiff also suggested that defendant might be liable for throwing the ball which caused the dog to run in the street and knock the plaintiff down. The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that the plaintiff cannot recover under such a theory, as New York does not recognize a common-law negligence cause of action to recover damages for an owner's alleged negligence in the handling of a dog. The summary judgment was affirmed as the court found the owner was not liable to pedestrian for injuries sustained.
Muela v. Gomez 343 S.W.3d 491 (Tex.App.-El Paso, 2011)

Defendant Samuel Muela appeals a judgment for damages in the amount of $30,279.45 after plaintiff was attacked by a pit bull. Samuel contends that the evidence is legally insufficient to establish that he owned or possessed the pit bull and thus had no knowledge of its vicious propensities. The court concluded that there is no evidence that Samuel lived at his parents' trailer or owned the pit bull. Additionally, while Samuel did visit his parents' house to feed their pet dog, there was no direct evidence that he had ever seen the pit bull or knew of it. The court reversed and rendered judgment that Gomez take nothing against Samuel.

Muehlieb v. City of Philadelphia 574 A.2d 1208 (Pa.Cmwlth.,1990)

In this case, the city of Philadelphia filed a suit against a homeowner seeking to restrain her from violating the health, housing and zoning provisions of city code by owning more than ten dogs.  On appeal, the homeowner challenged the local ordinance as being preempted by the state Dog Law.  The Commonwealth Court held that the state Dog Law, which permitted holder of private kennel class I license to house up to 50 animals did not preempt city's animal control law which set limit of 12 dogs, and the homeowner's housing of 20 dogs was a public nuisance that the city could enjoin.

Mouton v. State 513 S.W.3d 679 (Tex. App. 2016)

San Antonio Animal Care Services (ACS) responded to a call about 36 pit bull terriers that were chained, significantly underweight, and dehydrated. The dogs also had scarring consistent with fighting. Police obtained a search warrant and coordinated with ACS to seize the dogs. While the dogs were being secured, Appellant Terrence Mouton arrived at the residence. He told the officers that he had been living at the residence for a couple of weeks, but that he did not own all of the dogs and was holding them for someone else. Mouton was convicted in the County Court of cruelty to non livestock animals. On appeal, Mouton argued that the trial court erred in denying his motion for directed verdict because the Appellee, the State of Texas, failed to prove that the animals were in his custody. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment. The court held that there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find that Mouton was responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of the dogs on his property and that the dogs were subject to his care and control, regardless of whether he was the actual owner of each animal. A reasonable jury could have also found that Mouton was “aware of, but consciously disregarded, a substantial and unjustifiable risk” that he failed to provide proper nutrition, water, or shelter for the dogs.

Mouton v. State 2008 WL 4709232 (Tex.App.-Texarkana)

Defendant was convicted of cruelty to an animal, and sentenced to one year in jail, based upon witness testimony and photographs depicting several dogs in varying states of distress.   On appeal, the Court of Appeals of Texas, Texarkana, found that the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motions for a directed verdict or for a new trial to the extent that both motions challenged evidentiary sufficiency, and that ineffective assistance of counsel had not been shown, because the Court could imagine strategic reasons on Defendant’s counsel’s part for not calling a particular witness to testify on Defendant’s behalf, and for allowing Defendant to testify in narrative form during the punishment phase.  

Mountain States Legal Foundation v. Hodel 799 F.2d 1423 (10th Cir. 1986)

Horses protected by the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act are not instruments of the federal government, and therefore incursions by wild horses onto private land do not constitute a Fifth Amendment taking requiring just compensation.  

Motta v. Menendez 46 A.D.3d 685 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept., 2007)

This New York case arose following an incident that occurred on December 13, 2003, in which the appellant's two pit bull terriers entered the petitioner's property, and one of appellant's dogs ("Duke") attacked and injured the petitioner's pet dog. Following a special proceeding, the lower court determined that appellant's pit bull terrier named “Duke” was a dangerous dog and directed that it be destroyed. On appeal, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division found that the dangerous dog statute in effect on December 13, 2003, did not provide that one dog attacking another was conduct subject to the penalty of destruction (Agriculture and Markets Law former §§ 108, 121).

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