Justia U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Animal / Dog Law

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Plaintiffs appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants regarding the roundup, or "gather," of approximately 1,600 wild horses and 160 burros from the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area (HMA). Plaintiffs claimed that the gather violated the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, 16 U.S.C. 1331-1340, and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321-4370. The court held that the BLM did not violate the Act by implementing the 2010 gather on the Twin Peaks HMA; the BLM did not violate NEPA when it decided not to issue an environmental impact statement; and the BLM did not act arbitrarily and capriciously when it responded to comments highlighting the possibility of scientific dissent regarding the administration of the immunocontraceptive PZP. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "In Defense of Animals v. Dep't of the Interior" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, foie gras producers and sellers, appealed the district court's denial of their motion to preliminarily enjoin the State of California from enforcing California Health & Safety Code 25982. Section 25982 banned the sale of products that were the result of force feeding birds to enlarge their livers beyond normal size. The court affirmed the district court's denial of Eleventh Amendment immunity to the Attorney General. The court dismissed the State of California and Governor Brown from the lawsuit because they were immune from suit. The court concluded that the only product covered by section 25982 at issue in this appeal was foie gras; plaintiffs' Due Process Clause challenge failed because section 25982's definition for force feeding was not vague and the statute gave fair notice of prohibited conduct; and section 25982 did not violate the Commerce Clause because it was not discriminatory, did not directly regulate interstate commerce, and did not substantially burden interstate commerce. Accordingly, the court affirmed the denial of plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction because plaintiffs failed to raise a serious question that they were likely to succeed on the merits. View "Ass'n des Eleveurs de Canards v. Harris" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a photojournalist, contended that viewing restrictions at a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) horse roundup violated her First Amendment right to observe government activities. The district court denied plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction, concluding that most of the relief sought was moot because the roundup ended in October 2010. Alternatively, the district court concluded that plaintiff was unlikely to succeed on the merits because the restrictions did not violate the First Amendment. The court held that, because the preliminary injunction motion sought unrestricted access to future horse roundups, and not just the one that took place in 2010, the case was was not moot. With regards to plaintiff's First Amendment claim, the district court erred by failing to apply the well-established qualified right of access balancing test set forth in Press-Enterprise Co. v. Superior Court. Accordingly, the court remanded the case to the district court to consider in the first instance whether the public had a First Amendment right of access to horse gathers, and if so, whether the viewing restrictions were narrowly tailored to serve the government's overriding interests.

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This case involved the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (Service) removal of the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the threatened species list. The court affirmed the district court's ruling that the Service failed to articulate a rational connection between the data in the record and its determination that whitebark pine declines were not a threat to the Yellowstone grizzly, given the lack of data indicating grizzly population stability in the face of such declines, and the substantial data indicating a direct correlation between whitebark pine seed availability and grizzly survival production. The court held, however, that the Service's determination regarding the adequacy of the existing regulatory mechanisms was reasonable and reversed the district court.

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This interlocutory appeal arose from an action instituted in the district court to stop the government from rounding up, destroying, and auctioning off wild horses and burros in the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area on the California-Nevada border. Plaintiffs alleged that the government's actions would violate the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (Wild Horses Act), 16 U.S.C. 1331 et seq., and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq. The court held that the injunction was moot because the roundup sought to be enjoined had taken place. The court noted that, in the event plaintiffs prevailed on the merits of their claims, the district court should consider what relief was appropriate.

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This case involved the seizure and administrative forfeiture of two leopard trophies by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service from two hunters (plaintiffs) who attempted to import the leopards from African countries without proper export permits. Plaintiffs contended that the district court erred in dismissing their Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA) claim for lack of jurisdiction. The court held that the district court properly held that plaintiffs' CAFRA claim was barred from judicial review where plaintiffs received proper notice of the proposed forfeitures; plaintiffs chose to pursue an administrative path and filed petitions for remission and petitions for supplemental remission; and plaintiffs' choice to pursue such administrative remedies waived the opportunity for judicial forfeiture proceedings. Accordingly, the court affirmed the dismissal of the action.