Federal

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Titlesort descending Summary
Big Cats of Serenity Springs, Inc. v. Vilsack In an amended complaint, Plaintiffs asserted four claims against Defendants relating to a May 7, 2013 United States Department of Agriculture inspection of Big Cats of Serenity Springs, Inc. The claims included a Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures; a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim against the Inspector Defendants “because they acted under color of state law when they induced the deputies to cut the chains and enter the premises;” a declaratory judgment “declaring that [Defendant] Thompson inappropriately overrode the medical advice of [Plaintiff] Big Cats' veterinarians and declaring that, in the future, the USDA cannot force [Plaintiff] Sculac to choose between following the medical advice of his veterinarians and the mandates of a USDA inspector;” and a declaratory judgment that the USDA must follow its own regulations and that it cannot conduct a warrantless search of the Big Cats facility outside of ‘normal business hours' solely because an inspector ‘want [s] to’ or because an inspector subjectively ‘believe[s][it] necessary to determine the welfare status of the animals....' ” In addition to declaratory relief, Plaintiffs also sought compensatory and punitive damages, costs, expenses, and prejudgment interest. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. US Magistrate Judge issued a recommendation that, to the extent the Motion argued that the declaratory judgment claims should be dismissed because Plaintiffs lack standing, the Motion be granted in part and denied in part and that the declaratory judgment claims asserted by Plaintiffs Nick Sculac, Julie Walker, and Jules Investment, Inc. be dismissed without prejudice. In all other aspects, the Magistrate recommended that the Motion be denied. A District Court judge approved and adopted these recommendations and denied defendant’s objections to the recommendations.
Bjugan v. State Farm Fire and Cas. Co.


After a house was damaged by a tenant’s 95 cats and 2 dogs, a landlord sought to recover expenses through State Farm Insurance. State Farm, however, denied the landlord coverage due to a provision in the insurance policy that excluded damages caused by domestic animals. In a diversity action brought by the landlord, the district court found the damage caused by the tenant’s cats fell within State Farm’s policy exclusion and therefore granted State Farm’s motion for summary judgment.

Black v. Coughlin


Prisoner brought action under § 1983 against commissioner of state department of correctional services to recover damages for punishment imposed as a result of improperly conducted disciplinary hearing.

Bogart v. Chapell


A woman was housing hundreds of animals in her residential home, the animals were seized and more than two hundred of them were euthanized.  The woman brought a section 1983 claim against the county sheriff's department and human society.  The trial court granted defendants summary judgment and the Court of Appeals affirmed holding no viable due process claim existed arising from the euthanization. 

Born Free USA v. Norton


The zoo sought to import wild elephants from a foreign country, but advocates contended that the officials did not follow CITES properly for the import. The court held that the advocates failed to show a likelihood of success to warrant preliminary injunctive relief, since no overall detriment to the species was shown.

Brandon v. Village of Maywood


Plaintiffs brought § 1983 action against village and police officers after botched drug bust in which bystander and dog were wounded.  The court held that the police officers were entitled to qualified immunity in shooting of dog and the village did not have policies on police conduct that warranted liability.  However, issues of fact precluded summary judgment on false imprisonment claim based on officers' assertion of immunity.


Brief Summary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Brinkley v. County of Flagler


Appellee county sought to enjoin appellant from mistreating animals by filing a petition against her under Fla. Stat. ch. 828.073 (1997). The animals on appellant's property were removed pursuant to Fla. Stat. ch. 828.073, a statute giving law enforcement officers and duly appointed humane society agents the right to provide care to animals in distress. The entry onto appellant's property was justified under the emergency exception to the warrant requirement for searches. The hearing after seizure of appellants' animals was sufficient to satisfy appellant's due process rights.

Bronk v. Ineichen


Plaintiffs appealed decision of district court denying their claim that defendants violated the Federal Fair Housing Act for failing to allow a hearing dog in their rental unit as a reasonable accommodation for their hearing disability. The landlord denied the request, alleging that the dog was not a "hearing dog," and that the tenants did not have a legitimate need for the dog because the dog lacked professional training. The Court of Appeals held that if the dog was not necessary as a hearing dog then the plaintiffs were not entitled to the dog as a reasonable accommodation under the FHA. Also, the court held that a disabled person must meet two standards in arguing that an accommodation be made: (1) the accommodation must facilitate the disabled person's ability to function; and (2) the accommodation must survive a cost-benefit balancing that takes both parties' needs into account. The court vacated the decision of the lower court and ordered a new trial because of misleading jury instructions. 

Brower v. Daley


Based on the Secretary of Commerce’s decision to weaken the dolphin-safe standard, David Brower, Earth Island Institute, The Humane Society of the United States, and other individuals and organizations challenged the finding as arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to law.  The District Court for the Northern District of California found that the Secretary’s Initial Finding was not in accordance with the law and was an abuse of discretion because the Secretary failed to properly consider these studies.

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