Federal

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Titlesort descending Summary
Chadd v. U.S. The issue in this case was whether the United States may be sued under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for the actions of the National Park Service (NPS) relating to a mountain goat that attacked and killed a Park visitor. Wife of the visitor, on her own behalf and as representative of his estate, sued the NPS, claiming officials breached their duty of reasonable care by failing to destroy the goat in the years leading up to her husband’s death. The District Court dismissed the case due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction. On appeal, the court sought to determine whether an exception to the FTCA’s waiver of sovereign immunity applied. The court found the NPS’s management policies manual did not direct or mandate the NPS to take action to kill the mountain goat, and thus the NPS's management of the goat fell within the discretionary function exception. Further, the NPS’s decision to use non-lethal methods to manage a mountain was susceptible to policy analysis, which fell within the discretionary exception as well. The lower court’s decision was therefore affirmed. Senior Circuit Judge Kleinfield filed a dissenting opinion.
Chavez v. Aber Plaintiffs sought damages stemming from Defendants' refusal to accommodate Plaintiffs’ minor son's mental health disabilities by allowing Plaintiffs to keep a mixed-breed pit bull as an emotional support animal in their rented duplex. Plaintiffs asserted (1) housing discrimination under the Federal Housing Act (“FHA”), (2) unlawful retaliation under the FHA, (3) discrimination under the Texas Fair Housing Act (“TFHA”), and (4) unlawful retaliation under § 92.331 of the Texas Property Code. Defendants filed the Motion, seeking dismissal of the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). The court found Plaintiffs had adequately pleaded all claims and denied the Defendant’s motion to dismiss.
Chimps, Inc., International Primate League, and Marguerite Gordon v. Primarily Primates, Inc.
Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah


Local ordinance prohibiting animal sacrifices under the guise of an anti-cruelty concern was an unconstitutional infringement on church's First Amendment rights because (1) ordinances were not neutral; (2) ordinances were not of general applicability; and (3) governmental interest assertedly advanced by the ordinances did not justify the targeting of religious activity.

Citizens for Better Forestry v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture


Plaintiffs Citizens for Better Forestry brought an action against Defendant U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging failure to adhere to certain procedures required by NEPA and the ESA after Defendant promulgated regulations governing the development of management plans for forests within the National Forest System upon preparation of an allegedly insufficient Environmental Impact Statement and without preparation of a Biological Assessment or consultation with the Fisheries and Wildlife Service or the


National Marine Fisheries Service. On parties’ cross motions, the United States District Court granted Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and denied Defendant’s motion for summary judgment, finding that Plaintiffs had standing, that Defendant did not comply with its requirements under the NEPA because the Environmental Impact Statement prepared by Defendant did not adequately evaluate the environmental impacts of the proposed regulations, and that Defendant did not comply with its requirements under the ESA because Defendant did not prepare an adequate Biological Assessment.

Citizens to End Animal Suffering and Exploitation v. The New England Aquarium


The primary issue addressed by the court was whether a dolphin, named Kama, had standing under the MMPA. The court found the MMPA does not authorize suits brought by animals; it only authorizes suits brought by persons. The court would not impute to Congress or the President the intention to provide standing to a marine mammal without a clear statement in the statute.

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.

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 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 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. 

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