Federal

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Titlesort ascending Summary
Conservation Congress v. U.S. Forest Service


When two federal agencies authorized the Mudflow Vegetation Management Project, a conservation group sued the agencies for failing to adequately evaluate the project's effects on the Northern Spotted Owl's critical habitat, in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Upon appeal of the lower court's decision, the Ninth Circuit concluded that the conservation group's challenge to the district court's denial of a preliminary injunction was premised on a misunderstanding of regulatory terms, on an unsupported reading of a duty to consider cumulative effects under the Endangered Species Act,and on selected portions of the record taken out of context. The district court's decision was therefore affirmed.


Conservancy v. USFWS


In this case, many environmental advocacy groups petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate critical habitat for a species, the Florida panther, which was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1967. The petition was denied. Claiming the agency's action was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act, the groups filed a citizens suit under the ESA in district court. At district, the group's complaints were dismissed and the groups subsequently lost on appeal.

Committee for Humane Legislation v. Richardson


At issue in this case are the statutory limitations on the authority of the Secretary of Commerce to adopt regulations, pursuant to the MMPA, that provide for the issuance of permits for the "taking" of dolphins incidental to commercial fishing activities.

Colorado Wild Horse v. Jewell Finding the number of horses too high to maintain ecological balance and sustain multipurpose land use in Colorado's White River Resource Area, the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) invoked its authority under the Wild Free–Roaming Horses and Burros Act (“Wild Horses Act”), to declare those horses to be “excess animals” and scheduled to remove them from the land. Plaintiffs—organizations challenged BLM's “excess” determinations and its decision to remove these horses. They asked the district court to enjoin BLM's planned gather. Because the Wild Horses Act authorized BLM's excess determination and BLM appeared to have used reasonable methods to estimate the total wild-horse population, the Court found that Plaintiffs were unlikely to prevail on their Wild Horses Act claims. And because the record reflected that BLM considered the cumulative effects of the proposed gather and permissibly relied on the Environmental Assessment written for a previous East Douglas HMA gather, the Court found that Plaintiffs were also unlikely to prevail on their National Environmental Policy Act claims. The Court further found that Plaintiffs were unlikely to suffer irreparable harm as a result of the gather and that the balance of equities and the public interest weighed in favor of BLM. Accordingly, the Court denied Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction.
Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition, Inc. v. Salazar


In this action, the plaintiffs (associations organized to protect wild horses and one equine veterinarian) challenged the decision of the BLM to remove all the wild horses from the West Douglas Herd Area in Colorado. Plaintiffs argued that the BLM's decision violated the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Defendants countered that BLM's decision was a reasonable exercise of BLM's discretion and was thus entitled to Chevron deference. This Court held that BLM's decision to remove the West Douglas Herd exceeded the scope of authority that Congress delegated to it in the Wild Horse Act.

Coffey v. Bureau of Land Mgmt. As the court here states, "Plaintiff Debbie Coffey knows a great deal about wild horses and burros—and how those animals are treated by the federal Bureau of Land Management—but she wants to learn more." As such, Plaintiff, a hose welfare advocate, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the BLM to obtain communications between its officials and private citizens, namely those with long-term holding contracts, involved in the Wild Horse and Burro Program. In conjunction with her request, the BLM charged plaintiff $1,680 in processing fees, but ultimately refunded her the fees a year and half later because it failed to meet FOIA statutory response deadlines. On appeal, Coffey filed a FOIA suit and both sides moved for summary judgment. Plaintiff first argues that the BLM violated FOIA when it failed to give her interest on her processing fees. The court, however, found that awarding interest here would violate the longstanding "no-interest rule," where there was no congressional intent to award interest in such cases. As to plaintiff's argument that BLM's search for records was inadequate, the court agreed with plaintiff that the words and phrases used by BLM were too limiting to meet plaintiff's request and were thus unreasonable. The court held that BLM must choose a different set of search terms (including those suggested by plaintiff) and conduct the FOIA search again. However, the court found that plaintiff's additional contentions that: (1) the search terms were too vague; (2) the database and software needed to be identified; and (3) BLM needed to also include phone records in its search to be without merit. The parties' motions for summary judgment were granted in part and denied in part.
City of Sausalito v. O'Neill


A City sought to prevent the National Park Service from implementing a development plan in a nearby recreational area claiming the Park service had violated various environmental statutes.  The trial court held the City did not have standing to assert most of its claims and lost on the merits of the remaining claims.  The Court of Appeals held the City did have standing to assert all of its claims, but lost on the merits of all its claims except those under the Coastal Zone Management Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. 

City of Sausalito v. Brian O'Neill


In considering standing under the MMPA, the court found that the plaintiff city had only pure economic injury and had not shown that any harm would result to marine mammals protected under the MMPA. 

City of Delray Beach v. St. Juste
In this Florida case, the city of Delray Beach appealed from a judgment for damages in favor of appellee plaintiff, who was injured by two loose dogs. The theory of liability was based on the city's knowledge, from prior complaints, that these dogs were loose from time to time and dangerous. The plaintiff suggested that the city's failure to impound the dogs after prior numerous complaints contributed to the attack. The court concluded that decisions made by the city's animal control officer and police to not impound the dogs were discretionary decisions, and therefore the city was immune.
City of Canton v. Harris


Detainee brought civil rights action against city, alleging violation of her right to receive necessary medical attention while in police custody. The Supreme Court held that inadequacy of police training may serve as basis for § 1983 municipal liability only where failure to train amounts to deliberate indifference to rights of persons with whom police come into contact.

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