United States

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Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Weber


An environmental group sued the U.S. Forest Service claiming it violated the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) when it permitted the implementation of the Flathead National Forest Precommercial Thinning Project. The court that the defendants' designation of matrix habitat was not arbitrary and that there was no showing of irreparable harm to lynx habitat to require the Service to be enjoined from implementing project. Likewise, plaintiffs’ claims regarding the grizzly bear’s critical habitat did not prevail; nor did the plaintiffs’ claims regarding the National Forest Management Act’s Inland Native Fish Strategy. The court, therefore, granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment and denied the plaintiffs' motion.


Alliance for Wild Rockies v. Lyder


Plaintiffs challenge the USFWS' 2009 designation of approximately 39,000 sq. miles of critical habitat for the United States distinct population segment of the Canada lynx. Specifically, they contend that the Service: (1) arbitrarily failed to designate occupied critical habitat in certain national forests in Montana and Idaho, as well as in Colorado entirely; (2) arbitrarily failed to designate any

unoccupied

critical habitat whatsoever; and (3) failed to base its decision on the "best scientific data available." The court concluded that the FWS arbitrarily excluded areas occupied by lynx in Idaho and Montana and failed to properly determine whether areas occupied by the lynx in Colorado possess the attributes essential to the conservation of the species.

Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos v. New York City Police Dept Kaporos is a customary Jewish ritual which entails grasping a live chicken and swinging the bird three times overhead while saying a prayer. Upon completion of the prayer, the chicken's throat is slit and its meat is donated. The practice takes place outdoors, on public streets in Brooklyn. The Plaintiffs include the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos and individual Plaintiffs who reside, work or travel, within Brooklyn neighborhoods. The Defendants included City defendants such as the New York City Police Department and non-City defendants such as individual Orthodox Jewish rabbis. The Plaintiffs alleged that Kaporos is a health hazard and cruel to animals. Plaintiffs requested the remedy of mandamus to compel the City Defendants to enforce certain laws related to preserving public health and preventing animal cruelty. The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York affirmed the Supreme Court's dismissal of the proceedings against the City defendants. The Court reasoned that none of the laws or regulations that the Plaintiffs relied on precluded the City Defendants from deciding whether or not to engage in Kaporos. Also, the Plaintiffs did not have a “clear legal right” to dictate which laws are enforced, how, or against whom. The Court stated that determining which laws and regulations might be properly enforced against the non-City defendants without infringing upon their free exercise of religion could not be dictated by the court through mandamus.
Allison v. Johnson


Appellant was injured by appellee’s horse when appellant was standing outside a horse arena waiting for the appellee.

 

The horse began to shuffle backwards and backed into a gate, which popped out of a bracket and struck the appellant in the face.

 

The trial court found and the court of appeals upheld the finding that the appellant was an “equine activity participant” because she was a

spectator

to the “normal daily care of an equine.” In addition, the appellee was determined to be an “equine activity sponsor” due to the fact that he was an “operator” of a stable where the equine activity occurred.

 

Thus, the equine immunity statute of Ohio is applicable to the appellee.

Alternative Research & Dev. Found. v. Veneman



An animal rights foundation sought to have the definition of “animal” amended, so that birds, mice and rats used for research would not be excluded.

 

USDA agreed to consider the animal rights foundation petition to have the definition amended, and agreed to do so in reasonable amount of time.

 

The National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR), a biomedical research group that used birds, mice and rats in its research, attempted to intervene and prevent USDA from considering the petition.

 

However, NABR was prohibited from doing so because there was no showing that preventing intervention would result in its interests not being violated.

Alternatives Research & Development Foundation v. Glickman


In this case, the plaintiffs, a non-profit organization, a private firm and an individual, alleged that the defendants, the USDA and APHIS violated the mandate of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) by promulgating regulations that exclude birds, mice and rats from the definition of “animal” under the Act. Defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that all three plaintiffs lack standing to bring suit. Defendants also moved to dismiss on the grounds that the exclusion of the three species is within the agency's Congressionally delegated discretion, not subject to judicial review. The court denied defendant's motion, holding that based on

Lujan

, defendants challenge to standing failed. Further, the AWA does not grant the USDA "unreviewable discretion" to determine what animals are covered under the AWA.

Altieri v. Nanavati


This is an action against a veterinarian for negligence, claiming that the defendant performed unwanted sterilization surgery on the plaintiff's dog, a Lhasa Apso.  The court held that there is also a question of fact regarding whether performing an unwanted operation on the dog is, under the circumstances, actionable as reckless conduct.  However, the court observed that, at the time of the trial it is unlikely that the plaintiffs will be able to recover, as an element of damages, any alleged emotional distress they may have experienced as a result of the surgery on their dog.

Altman v. City of High Point


This case arises out of several shooting incidents in the City of High Point, North Carolina.  In each incident, a High Point animal control officer shot and killed one or more dogs that were running at large in the city. Plaintiffs, the owners of the animals, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the officers' actions violated their Fourth Amendment rights.  The Court of Appeals concluded that the dogs at issue in this case do qualify as property protected by the Fourth Amendment and that the officers seized that property. However, because in each instance the seizure involved was reasonable, it concluded that the officers did not violate the plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights.

Alvarez v. Clasen


Plaintiff sued neighbors who trapped cat outside and brought it to an animal shelter where it was euthanized. This court held that private parties trapping a stray cat were not liable for conversion because local ordinances permitted animal shelters to hold stray cats. 

Ambros-Marcial v. U.S.


Eleven illegal aliens tragically died in Arizona while attempting to cross the Sonoran Desert in May 2001. Plaintiffs, the aliens' surviving relatives, filed suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act, claiming that the manager of the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge where decedents were found, caused their deaths by refusing to allow an immigrant rights group to erect water drums on the refuge in April 2001. Defendant moved to dismiss, arguing that (1) the Court lacks jurisdiction because the decision was a “discretionary function” under 28 U.S.C. § 2680(a), and (2) Plaintiffs failed to state a claim because Defendant owed no duty to Plaintiffs. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment and motion to dismiss. The District Court held that defendant's concerns about the safety of aliens (who might be encouraged to cross the area because of the presence of water drums), the safety of refuge visitors (who have been victimized by a small percentage of illegal crossers), and environmental harm (arising from habitat disruption and littering of debris) gave Defendant the discretion to decline to authorize the erection of water drums on Cabeza Prieta, and therefore the Court has no jurisdiction to hear this case. In addition, Defendant owed no duty to affirmatively assist trespassers illegally crossing Cabeza Prieta in avoiding the obvious dangers of a hostile desert. Therefore, Defendant's motion for summary judgment is granted.

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