Federal

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Titlesort descending Summary
Coos County Board of County Com'rs v. Kempthorne
The issue here is whether FWS has an enforceable duty promptly to withdraw a threatened species from the protections of the ESA after a five-year agency review mandated by the Act found that the species does not fit into a protected population category. The species at issue here are murrelets-small, dove-sized birds that feed primarily on sea life and nest in coastal mature and old-growth forests. This Court concluded that Coos County has not alleged a failure to perform a nondiscretionary act or duty imposed by the ESA, whether premised on the petition process deadlines or on the agency's more general duty to act on its own determinations.
Cordoves v. Miami-Dade Cnty This case arises out of an incident at the Dadeland Mall, during which plaintiff had a confrontation with security personnel that ended with her arrest. The incident was precipitated by the presence of a small dog plaintiff was toting in a stroller while shopping with her mother and daughter. Plaintiff alleged discrimination in public accommodations under the ADA, and excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment under § 1983. Defendants moved for summary judgment.The District Court denied the motion in part and granted the motion in part, finding that an issue of material fact existed as to whether the dog was a service animal; that the patron was precluded from bringing negligence claim premised on intentional torts; that officer's use of force in arresting patron was de minimis; and that the right to be free from officer's application of force was not clearly established.
Cotton v. Ben Hill County In this case, Cotton filed suit against Ben Hill County after Cotton’s cattle was seized for alleged animal cruelty and roaming at large. Cotton filed suit against Ben Hill County and the Sheriff’s Department arguing that he had been deprived of his property in violation of the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and in the violation of the Constitution of Georgia. The court reviewed the issue and granted summary judgment in favor of Ben Hill County and the Sheriff's Department. The court granted summary judgment because Cotton was unable to establish that his rights were violated under the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Cotton was unable to establish that his Due Process rights were violated because he was unable to provide any evidence that the allegations against Ben Hill County and the Sheriff’s Department were “the result of an official policy, custom or practice of the county or that the County acted with deliberate indifference to these rights.” Also, the court found that there was not a violation of the procedural requirements of the Due Process Clause because under state law, Georgia provided for a “post deprivation remedy for the loss.” Lastly, the court found that Cotton’s claims against the Sheriff's Department failed as a matter of law because Cotton was unable to establish that anyone from the Sheriff’s Department actually participated in the seizure and impoundment of the cattle. For those reasons, the court held in favor of Ben Hill County and granted summary judgment.
Cox v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture


USDA had suspended a kennel owner’s license for 90 days and imposed a fine on the owner for violating AWA regulations.

 

These violations included delivering dogs for transportation in commerce, that were under eight weeks old, failing to hold dogs for at least five days after acquiring them, and refusing APHIS inspections.

 

Owner claimed that such sanctions were excessive.

 

However, the court found that there was willful violation of the AWA, since inspections were refused.

 

Also, ignorance is not considered a defense, and although the owners claimed they did not know the age of the eight-week old puppies, they could have found out.

 

Thus, the sanction was appropriate.

Coyote v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


Defendant brought a motion after the USFWS denied his application to obtain eagle feathers for religious use where defendant failed to obtain certification from the Bureau of Indian Affairs that he was a member of a federally-recognized tribe.  The court held that this requirement is both contrary to the plain reading of that regulation and arbitrary and capricious.  For discussion on formerly recognized tribes and the BGEPA, see

Detailed Discussion.

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.

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.

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.
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.
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.

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