Federal

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Titlesort ascending Summary
Daskalea v. Washington Humane Society


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.

Daskalea v. Washington Humane Soc.


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.


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.

Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Zinke 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.
Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. NSF


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.

Crowder v. Kitagawa


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.

Criscuolo v. Grant County 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.
Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, L.L.C. v. Department of Agriculture
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.
Creekstone Farms Premium Beef v. United States Department of Agriculture
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.

Crawford v. Van Buren County, 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.

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