|THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT AT FORTY: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY|
|Animal Legal Defense Fund v. United States Department of Agriculture||The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regularly posted documents about the enforcement activities of the Defendant, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, (“APHIS”). The documents were posted on two online databases. However, APHIS grew concerned that its Privacy Act system was insufficient. Therefore, the USDA blocked public access to the two databases so that it could review and ensure that the documents did not contain private information. However, the Plaintiffs, animal welfare non-profit organizations, asserted that by blocking access to the databases, the USDA breached its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act's (“FOIA”)'s reading-room provision. The Plaintiff’s also asserted that the USDA's decision to block access was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”). Plaintiff's motioned for a mandatory preliminary injunction. The United States District Court, N.D. California denied the Plaintiffs motion and held that the Plaintiffs are not likely to succeed on their FOIA claim because (1) there is no public remedy for violations of the reading room provision and they have not exhausted administrative remedies. (2) The Plaintiffs are not likely to succeed on their claim under the APA because FOIA provides the Plaintiffs an adequate alternative remedy. The Plaintiffs cannot establish that they are likely to suffer irreparable harm absent an injunction or that the balance of harms weighs in their favor in light of the on-going review and privacy interests asserted by the USDA.|
|American Bird Conservancy v. Harvey||
Plaintiff, American Bird Conservancy, is a non-profit organization that was dedicated to the conservation of the Piping Plover (a threatened species) in this case. The individual Plaintiffs, David A. Krauss and Susan Scioli were also members of the organization, who observed Piping Plovers at Jones Beach, in New York State for many years. The Planitiffs brought an action against Defendant Rose Harvey, the Commissioner of the New York State “Parks Office”. The Plaintiffs asserted that the Commissioner failed to act while members of the public routinely fed, built shelters, and cared for the feral cats on Jones Beach. As the cat colonies flourished, the Piping Plover population decreased due to attacks by the cats. The Plaintiffs contended that by failing to take measures to decrease the feral cat population, the Commissioner was allowing the cats to prey on the Piping Plover, in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Commissioner moved to dismiss the complaint. The District Court, held that: (1) the affidavit and documentary evidence provided by the Alley Cat Allies (ACA) organization was outside the scope of permissible supporting materials for the motion to dismiss. (2)The Plaintiffs had standing to bring action alleging violation of the Endangered Species Act. The Commissioners motion to dismiss was denied.