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Dolphin: Related Cases

Case Name Citation Summary
Animal Welfare Institute v. Kreps   561 F.2d 1002 (1977)   These appeals arise from a complaint filed in the District Court challenging a decision by the Government appellees to waive the moratorium imposed by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) [FN1] so as to permit importation into the United States from South Africa of baby fur sealskins.  We reverse, holding that appellants do have standing and that the Government's decision to waive the ban on importing baby fur sealskins violates the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  
Balelo v. Baldridge   724 F.2d 753 (1983)   Defendants, secretary and government agencies, appealed the decision fo the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, in favor of plaintiff captains invalidating an agency regulation pertaining to the taking and related acts incidental to commercial fishing.  
Brower v. Daley   93 F. Supp. 2d 1071 (2000)   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.  
Brower v. Evans   257 F.3d 1058 (2001)   The district court held that the Secretary's Initial Finding, triggering a change in the dolphin-safe label standard, was not in accordance with the law and constituted an abuse of discretion because the Secretary failed to (1) obtain and consider preliminary data from the congressionally mandated stress studies and (2) apply the proper legal standard to the available scientific information. We affirm.  
Cetacean Cmty. v. President of the United States   249 F. Supp. 2d 1206 (D.C. Hawaii, 2003)   Plaintiff, a community of whales, dolphins, and porpoises, sued Defendants, the President of the United States and the United States Secretary of Defense, alleging violations of the (NEPA), the (APA), the (ESA), and the (MMPA).  The Plaintffs were concerned with the United States Navy's development and use of a low frequency active sonar (LFAS) system. The community alleged a failure to comply with statutory requirements with respect to LFAS use during threat and warfare conditions.  
Citizens to End Animal Suffering and Exploitation v. The New England Aquarium   836 F. Supp. 45 (1993)   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.  
Committee for Humane Legislation v. Richardson   414 F. Supp. 297 (1976)   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.  
Defenders of Wildlife v. Dalton   97 F. Supp. 2d 1197 (2000)   Plaintiff sought a preliminary injunction to prevent defendant government official from lifting the embargo against tuna from Mexico's vessels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Plaintiffs alleged irreparable injury if three stocks of dolphins became extinct. The court found plaintiffs failed to produce evidence showing irreparable injury.   
Defenders of Wildlife v. Hogarth   177 F. Supp. 2d 1336 (2001)  

Environmental groups challenge implementations of the International Dolphin Conservation Program Act ("IDCPA") which amended the MMPA and revised the criteria for banning tuna imports.

 
Earth Island Inst. v. Evans   256 F. Supp. 2d 1064 (N.D. Cal. 2003)   Plaintiff, groups seeking to protect animals, sought to enjoin implementation of a final finding of defendant, the Secretary of Commerce and his Assistant Administrator of Fisheries, that the encirclement of dolphins with purse seine nets was not having an adverse impact on dolphin stocks as arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion. The court granted the groups' motion for preliminary injunction, enjoined the Secretary from taking any action to allow any tuna product to be labeled as "dolphin safe" that was harvested using purse seine nets, pending final disposition of the groups' action, and defined what "dolphin safe" would continue to mean.  
Earth Island Institute v. Brown   865 F. Supp. 1364 (1994)   Plaintiffs sought to prevent the Secretary of Commerce from allowing the American Tunaboat Association ("ATA") to continue killing northeastern offshore spotted dolphins that had been listed as depleted.  Defendants argued that such killings were permissible under the ATA's permit, and that the MMPA provisions relied on by the plaintiffs were irrelevant to the dispute.  The court concluded that Congress did not intend to allow the continued taking of dolphin species or stock, once the Secretary had determined that their population level was depleted.   
Earth Island Institute v. Evans   2004 WL 1774221 (N.D. Cal. 2004) (No reporter citation)   The Secretary of Commerce made a final finding that the intentional deployment on or encirclement of dolphins using purse seine nets did not have a significant adverse effect on any depleted dolphin stock in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean.  Several organizations challenged that finding under the Administrative Procedures Act, and the matter came before this Court along with simultaneous motions for summary judgment from both the plaintiff and defendant.  The Court concluded that Plaintiff's met their burden of demonstrating that they are entitled to judgment, and the finding of the Secretary is set aside.  
Earth Island Institute v. Hogarth   484 F.3d 1123 (9th Cir. 2007)   This case concerns the practice of catching yellowfin tuna by encircling dolphins with purse-seine nets. The dispute centers over whether tuna sellers may label tuna as dolphin-safe if caught with such nets. An environmental group brought suit against the Secretary of Commerce after he concluded that there was insufficient evidence to show that tuna purse seine fishing harmed depleted dolphin stocks in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP). The Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's decision that the action by the Secretary was arbitrary and capricious where the agency's decision-making process was influenced to some degree by foreign policy considerations rather than science alone. Further, the finding of no significant impact (FONSI) was not rationally connected to the best available scientific evidence.  
Federation of Japan Salmon Fisheries Cooperative Association v. Baldridge   679 F. Supp. 37 (1987)   Petitioners, Japanese fishing federation, fisherman's association, and environmental group, filed motions for a preliminary injunction against respondent Secretary of Commerce who entered a final decision that approved the federation for an incidental take permit under the MMPA and adopted regulations that authorized the taking of Dall's porpoise within the fishery conservation zone.  
In the Matter of: Akiko Kawahara, Respondent   1980 WL 26513 (N.O.A.A.)   The principle issue in this case is whether the planned stopover of a few hours in Kennedy Airport in New York constitutes an "importation" within the meaning of the MMPA.  The respondent in this case was employed by a business dealing in the international trade of animals and was attempting to bring four dolphins captured off the coast of Argentina back to Japan.  The respondent only landed the dolphins in New York as a stopover on their way to Tokyo, but the court found that there was no requirement of knowledge or specific intent under the MMPA to constitute civil violations.  
In the Matter of: Darcy Lynn Shawyer   1980 NOAA LEXIS 2   This case is a civil penalty proceeding under the MMPA for the unlawful importation of eight bottlenose porpoises into the United States.  In this case, the court found that specific intent is not required for importation under the MMPA. The court found that the route taken over the United States, the requirement to land for customs clearance purposes, or weather conditions was known or should have been foreseeable to all parties.   
In the Matter of: Richard O'Barry   1999 NOAA LEXIS 1   In 1999, civil penalties in the amount of $59,500 were assessed for the release of two dolphins from captivity.  The dolphins were not prepared to survive in the wild and sustained life-threatening injuries as a result of their release.  An administrative law judge found that the release of two dolphins without providing them with the necessary skills for survival resulted in harassment and injury to them, and therefore, constituted a violation of the MMPA.  
In the Matter of: Thomas E. Rainelli   1999 NOAA LEXIS 10   This case involves violations of the MMPA by taking, in the form of harassment by feeding or attempting to feed wild dolphins.  The respondents, a captain of a vessel used in a dolphin-feeding encounter, and the sole shareholder of a boat renal company, were both found guilty and assessed civil penalties in the amount of $4500.  Though the shareholder was not on the vessel when it committed the feeding violations, he was found guilty of violating the MMPA, by providing a platform from which feeding is conducted or supported.   
In the Matters of: Kyle C. Mueller, et al   1991 WL 288705 (N.O.A.A.)   The question in this case was whether respondents, members of a marine mammal conservation group, violated the MMPA by interfering with the authorized capture of six dolphins.  As result of this case, which was a civil penalty proceeding, only one of the respondents was found guilty of taking under the MMPA. The court found that the respondent's actions, although taken with noble intentions, endangered the lives of the dolphins, was improper, and dangerous.  He was assessed a fine in the amount of $2,000.  
Kokechik Fishermen's Association v. Secretary of Commerce   839 F.2d 795 (1988)   The Secretary of Commerce issued a regulation authorizing appellant salmon federation to take a fixed number of porpoise in connection to commercial fishing for salmon.  Appellee commercial fishermen opposed the permit.  The federation sought review of a judgment which preliminarily enjoined the Secretary from issuing the permit.  
Marine Wonderland & Animal Welfare Park, Ltd., v. Kreps   610 F.2d 947 (1979)   The facts of this case deal with an Canadian amusement park that had dolphins in its possession en route to Canada when it was forced to land  in the United States.  In this case, the court found that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ("NOAA"), which is the agency charged with the administration of the MMPA, must be accorded first opportunity to interpret the meaning of "importation."  The NOAA, as fact-finder and record-builder, is best suited to determine legal and factual determinations.   
Ocean Mammal Inst. v. Gates   Slip Copy, 2008 WL 2185180 (D.Hawai'i)   Plaintiffs sued the Navy over the use of sonar; the Plaintiffs feared that the sonar would kill whales and other marine life.  This case dealt with the required production of documents the Defendant claimed were privileged and or work product material.  The Court found that the Defendant must hand over the material to the Plaintiffs because the documents were not in fact privileged.  
Progressive Animal Welfare Society v. Department of Navy   725 F. Supp. 475 (1989)   The Progressive Animal Welfare Shelter ("PAWS") and fourteen other environmental and animal rights groups brought this action for a preliminary injunction against the Navy's plan to "deploy" Atlantic bottlenose dolphins at the Bangor submarine base.  
State v. LeVasseur   613 P.2d 1328 (1980)   The trial court convicted defendant of first degree theft after he freed dolphins from a university laboratory. The court affirmed the conviction on appeal. It reasoned that the choice of evils defense was unavailable to defendant because the definition of "another" under Hawaii statute clearly did not include dolphins.  
Strong v. United States   5 F.3d 905 (1993)   The appeal in this case does not contest the denial of a permit to conduct dolphin feedings cruises. The position of the plaintiffs-appellees is that the Secretary of Commerce has no authority to consider feeding to be a form of harassment or to regulate it. The court disagreed with the plaintiffs-appellees and found it clearly reasonable to restrict or prohibit the feeding of dolphins as a potential hazard to them.  
U.S. v. Hayashi   22 F.3d 859 (1993)   Appellant challenged the decision of the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii, which convicted him of taking a marine mammal in violation of the MMPA.  The court reversed appellant's conviction for taking a marine mammal under the MMPA.  It held that the MMPA and the regulations implementing the act did not make it a crime to take reasonable steps to deter porpoises from eating fish or bait off a fisherman's line.   
United States v. Mitchell   553 F.2d 996 (1977)   This appeal turns on whether the Marine Mammal Protection Act ("MMPA"), and related regulations, apply to an American citizen taking dolphins within the territorial waters of a foreign sovereign state. The defendant-appellant, Jerry Mitchell, is an American citizen convicted of violating the Act by capturing 21 dolphins within the three-mile limit of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The court held that the criminal prohibitions of the MMPA do not reach conduct in the territorial waters of a foreign sovereignty and reversed the conviction.  

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