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Titlesort ascending Summary
Western Watersheds Project v. USDA APHIS Wildlife Services This action considers motions for summary judgment by both parties. At issue here is a plan by a branch of the USDA called Wildlife Services (WS), which is responsible for killing or removing predators and other animals that prey on wild game animals, threaten agricultural interests, or pose a danger to humans. The decision to kill the animals comes from requests from individuals or other state and federal agencies rather than a decision by WS. For this case, the facts center on an expanded operation to kill game animals and protected species in Idaho (mainly coyotes and ravens) known as PDM. As part of this process, WS prepared and circulated a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) to other federal agencies, stakeholders, and the public seeking comment to the expanded plan. However, instead of taking the criticisms and suggestions from the EA and then undertaking a more comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), WS instead rejected most responses and labeled them as unconvincing or invalid. This led plaintiff to file suit against WS, arguing that the agency acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner by not preparing the EIS after comments to the EA. For example, the BLM, the Forest Service, and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), found that the EA was not an "objective analysis" and instead sounded "like a pre-decisional defense of lethal methods." These agencies warned WS that the predator control methods were "likely to be futile over the long-term" and did not consider cascading effects on both cyclic and non-cyclic prey populations. In analyzing the factors, this court found that WS failed to consider "several federal agencies with long experience and expertise in managing game animals and protected species" when proposing to expand the expanded PDM program. There was a lack of crucial data to support WS' assumptions in its modeling that was exacerbated by use of unreliable data, according to the court. In addition, the court found that WS failed to "explain away scientific challenges to the effectiveness of predator removal." Not only was the court troubled by the lack of reliable data used by WS, but the WS’ “unconvincing responses” to agencies that had substantial experience managing wildlife and land-use concerns demonstrated to the court that the PDM is controversial and the environmental impacts were uncertain. This in and of itself necessitated an EIS under NEPA. The court held that the lack of reliable data, the unconvincing responses from WS, combine to trigger three intensity factors that combine to require WS to prepare an EIS. The plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment was granted and the defendant's motion for summary judgment was denied (the motion by plaintiff to supplement the administrative record was deemed moot).
Western Watersheds Project v. Kraayenbrink


Plaintiff environmental advocacy organization sued the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for revisions to nationwide grazing regulations for federal lands. Plaintiff argued that the 2006 Regulations violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). The Court of Appeals found for the plaintiff, holding that BLM violated NEPA by failing to take a “hard look” at the environmental consequences of the proposed regulatory changes. BLM also violated the ESA by failing to consult with Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) before approving the revisions. The FLPMA claim was remanded.

Western Watersheds Project v. Kraayenbrink


Plaintiff environmental advocacy organization sued the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for revisions to nationwide grazing regulations for federal lands, arguing that the revisions violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). The Court of Appeals held that BLM violated NEPA by failing to take a “hard look” at the environmental consequences of the proposed changes, and violated the ESA by failing to consult with Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) before approving the revisions.

Opinion Amended and Superseded on Denial of Rehearing en banc by:


Western Watersheds Project v. Kraayenbrink,

632 F.3d 472 (9th Cir., 2010).


Western Watersheds Project v. Hall


Plaintiff Western Watersheds Project filed the instant action challenging the “90-Day Finding” issued by the Defendants United States Fish and Wildlife Service that denied protection of the Interior Mountain Quail as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Service determined that the Petition had failed to provide information demonstrating that the Interior Mountain Quail population is discrete under the ESA. The District Court stated that, in order to qualify as a DPS, a population must “be both discrete and significant.” The court found that the Service's conclusion appropriately determined that this discreteness standard was not met and it provided a rational basis for concluding the Petition had failed to provide evidence of a marked separation between the populations of the same taxon.

Western Watersheds Project v. Dyer


The plaintiff, Western Watersheds Project (WWP), is an environmental group that brought this lawsuit to ban livestock grazing in certain areas of the Jarbidge Field Office (1.4 million acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho and northern Nevada). WWP alleges that continued grazing destroys what little habitat remains for imperiled species like the sage grouse, pygmy rabbit, and slickspot peppergrass (deemed “sensitive species” by the BLM).  After ten days of evidentiary hearings, the court found that three sensitive species in the JFO are in serious decline and that livestock grazing is an important factor in that decline. However, the court found that a ban on grazing was not required by law at this point since the Court was "confident" in the BLM's ability to modify the 2009 season in accordance with the Court's interpretation of the existing RMP.

Westberry v. Blackwell


In this Oregon case, plaintiff filed this action to recover for personal injuries sustained when she was bitten by defendants' dog. The complaint alleged a cause of action for strict liability and another for negligence. The trial court granted a judgment of involuntary nonsuit on both causes of action. On appeal, this court found the previous biting, which had occurred only one hour before, could reasonably lead a jury to believe that the dog had dangerous propensities, and that the defendants had knowledge of them. Thus, the court found that the involuntary nonsuit on the strict liability cause was improperly granted. Further, the question of whether the owner, who knew the dog had bitten the guest while on her way into the owner's house, was negligent in failing to control or confine the dog, was for the jury. Reversed and remanded.

WERTMAN v. TIPPING


The plaintiffs, owners of a seven-year-old trained, registered full blood German Shepherd dog, sued the defendants for the loss of this dog from the kennels at the animal hospital owned and operated by the defendant. The dog had been boarded at defendant's place and while there escaped from the kennel and was never found. This case set the wheels in motion for companion animals damages in Florida when the court affirmed a verdict of $1000, for a purebred dog. The court declined in only applying the fair market value and held that recovery could include special or pecuniary value to the owner.

Wemer v. Walker

In this case, James Wemer appealed the lower courts decision to grant summary judgment in favor of the defendant John Walker. Wemer initially filed suit against Walker alleging that the injuries he suffered from a horse-bite at Walker’s barn was due to negligence and wanton recklessness of Walker. The trial court reviewed the issue and granted summary judgment in favor of Walker based on the Equine Immunity statute. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the trial court’s decision on appeal. However, the trial court once against granted summary judgement in favor of Walker and Wemer appealed. On the second appeal, the Court of Appeals determined whether or not Walker was immune from liability under the Equine Immunity statute. The Court of Appeals found that Walker was immune from liability under statute because of the fact that Walker had warned Werner that his horses had a tendency to fight and Wemer voluntarily chose to get involved in separating the horses which led to his injuries. The Court of Appeals focused on the fact that both parties had a knowledge regarding equine activity and that Wemer was unable to establish that Walker’s conduct was willful or wanton under the circumstances presented. As a result, the Court of Appeals affirmed the summary judgment in favor of Walker.

Wells v. Brown


In this California case, damages were assessed beyond the purchase price of a dog involved in a hit and run case where the defendant negligently ran over and killed a 15 month old pure-bred Waeimaraner. After the defendant ran over the dog, he shot the dog and buried it. The next morning he contacted the veterinarian listed on the collar, as well as the owner of the dog. The court upheld the jury verdict of $1,500 since the purchase price was determined to not reflect the market value at the time of the dog’s death.

WELFARE IMPROVEMENTS FOR ORGANIC ANIMALS: CLOSING LOOPHOLES IN THE REGULATION OF ORGANIC ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

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