Case Details

Navigation

Full Site Search

Loading...

The navigation select boxes below will direct you to the selected page when you hit enter.

Topical Explanations

Primary Legal Materials

Select by Subject

Select by Species

Select Administrative Topic


World Law

Secondary Legal Materials

Great Apes and the Law

Great Apes and the Law

Maps of State Laws

Map of USA

Endangered Species: Related Cases

Case Name Citation Summary
ARFF, Inc. v. Siegel   867 So.2d 451 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2004)   Resort developer and president of an animal performance company received an injunction against an animal rights group limiting their ability to both picket the resort and distribute pamphlets claiming that the big cats were abused.  Appellate court reversed, finding that the picketing regulations burdened more speech than necessary and that the restriction on distributing pamphlets was a prior restraint not justified by a compelling state interest.  
Humane Society v. Merriam   2007 WL 333309 (D.Minn.)   Minnesota allowed trapping and snaring activities. Plaintiffs sued the state, arguing that this policy was causing the death of some endangered Canada lynx, in violation of the Endangered Species Act. The plaintiffs and defendants had the case dismissed after they agreed that Minnesota would seek a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act, and that conservation measures would be taken for the protection of the lynx.  
Center for Biological Diversity v. Salazar   Slip Copy, 2011 WL 6000497 (D.Ariz.)   Plaintiffs filed action against Interior and FWS to set aside FWS's finding that the desert bald eagle does not qualify as a distinct population segment (“DPS”) entitled to protection under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). Plaintiff's motions for summary judgment was granted. The Court found that FWS' 12–month finding was based on the 2007 delisting rule, which failed to comport with the notice, comment, and consultation requirements of the ESA. The Court set aside the 12–month finding as an abuse of discretion.
 
Animal Rights Front, Inc. v. Planning & Zoning Com'n of Town of Glastonbury   2002 WL 31761999 (Conn.Super.)   The plaintiff, Animal Rights Front, Inc., an environmental intervenor, appeals from a final decision of the defendant that gave subdivision and special permit approval to an application by defendant Rejean Jacques d/b/a Rejean Realty, Inc.  The basic issue of the plaintiff's appeal relates to preservation of the Eastern Timber Rattlesnake, an endangered species common to the Diamond Lake section of Glastonbury, and its migration across the development project, which would inherently lead to mortality.  On appeal, defendants questioned plaintiff's standing because they contended that rattlesnakes do not fall under the category of "natural resources."  Relying on a companion case, the court noted that endangered species are inherently deemed natural resources.  However in dismissing plaintiff's appeal, the court found that the defendant made changes that provided for the protection of the rattlesnake and the commission reasonably relied upon these assertions by the defendant to support its conclusions so it was not required to consider alternatives to the proposed development.  
Coos County Bd. of County Com'rs v. Norton   Slip Copy, 2006 WL 1720496 (D.Or.)   Alleging violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), plaintiffs sought to compel defendants to publish in the Federal Register proposed and final rules to remove the Washington, Oregon and California population of the marbled murrelet (a coastal bird) from the list of threatened species. Plaintiffs alleged that after defendants completed a five year review of the murrelet, defendants violated the ESA and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by failing to publish proposed and final rules "delisting" the murrelet. However, the court found that under the subsection upon which plaintiffs rely, the Secretary need publish a proposed regulation only after receiving a petition to add or remove species from the lists of threatened and endangered species and making certain findings. Because plaintiffs have not alleged or demonstrated that they filed a petition, they cannot establish that the Secretary has a duty to publish a proposed regulation. Thus, defendant's motion to dismiss was granted.  
Center for Biological Diversity v. California Fish & Game Com'n   2008 WL 4055216 (Cal. App. 3 Dist.)   The California Fish & Game Commission (Commission) rejected a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (Center) to add the California tiger salamander to the Commission’s list of endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), on grounds that the petition lacked sufficient information to indicate that the listing may be warranted. The Court of Appeal, Third District, California, held that the Trial Court did not err in directing the Commission to enter a decision accepting the Center’s petition, as inferences drawn from evidence offered in support of the petition clearly afforded sufficient information to indicate that listing action may be warranted. The Court found that information in the administrative record indicating that the salamander species “does not breed prolifically, is vulnerable to several significant threats, has lost most of its original habitat, and has been displaced by a hybrid from a significant portion of its range” was not outweighed by the Commission’s evidence and arguments regarding the introduction of artificial ponds which could provide increased breeding habitat, and the listing of the species under the Federal Endangered Species Act.  
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.  
Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida v. U.S.   697 F.Supp.2d 1324 (S.D.Fla., 2010)  

This case examines the requirements surrounding the issuance of an Incidental Take Statement (ITS), a statement that authorizes harm to an endangered species, but that must include a trigger for reviewing the decision (known as “re-consultation”) at the point when there is a risk of jeopardizing the species. The trigger must be a numerical trigger describing the “take” (e.g., the capturing or killing of members of an endangered species) in terms of specific population data unless it is impractical to do so.  Specifically, this case explores whether the Army Corps of Engineers and FTS were able to use an ecological surrogate in place of a numerical trigger in an ITS that was promulgated in the process of conservation work in the Everglades.  This conservation work involved manipulating water levels in the Everglades and impacted the viability of three species protected under the Endangered Species Act (the Cape Sable seaside sparrow, the Everglade snail kite, and the wood stork), as well as the well-being of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians.

 
Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Inc. v. Servheen   665 F.3d 1015 (C.A.9 (Mont.), 2011)   Coalition sued for a review of a United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) final rule to remove grizzly bears from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) threatened species list. The Court of Appeals held that there was no rational connection between data that showed a relationship between pine seed shortages, increased bear mortality, and decreased female reproductive success and FWS’ conclusion that whitebark pine declines were not likely to threaten grizzly bears. FWS could reasonably conclude that National Forest Plans and National Park Compendia (Plans) provided adequate regulatory mechanisms to protect grizzlies as recovered species. The portion of the District Court's ruling vacating the Final Rule was affirmed.  
Stout v. U.S. Forest Service   2011 WL 867775 (2011)   Plaintiff ranch owners grazed cattle within the Murderer's Creek Wild Horse Territory (WHT), an area in which the threatened Middle Columbia River steelhead was present. The Forest Service approved a wild horse management plan in the area, but failed to prepare a Biological Assessment (BA) to determine whether the plan was likely to affect the threatened species, and whether formal consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) was necessary. The Forest Serviceís failure to comply with section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was arbitrary and capricious, and was ordered to consult with NMFS on its plan.  
U.S. v. Lewis   349 F.3d 1116 (9th Cir. 2003)   Defendant was convicted of a number of offenses related to his role in a wildlife smuggling operation. If trial did not begin within the requisite time period and defendant moved for dismissal prior to trial, the court had to dismiss the indictment, either with or without prejudice. The court held that the circumstances in the case, where it was clear that the delay in the trial caused the delay in the hearing, rather than the other way around, and where defendant repeatedly asked the court to set the case for trial and was otherwise ready to proceed to trial, plaintiff United States' pending pretrial motion could not serve as a basis for exclusion for a 117 day period. Because the delay violated the Speedy Trial Act, defendant's convictions had to be reversed, his sentences vacated, and his indictments dismissed.  
U.S. v. Crutchfield   26 F.3d 1098 (11th Cir. 1994)   The court reversed the district court's judgment of convictions against defendants for the illegal importation and the intent to sell iguanas in the United States because of prosecutorial misconduct. The court held that the prosecutor wasted valuable money in pursuing irrelevant testimony, and improperly questioned defendants and their witnesses after repeated warnings from the district court judge.  
Fund for Animals, Inc. v. Hogan   428 F.3d 1059 (D.C. Cir. 2005)   The Fund for Animals petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to list as endangered the trumpeter swans living in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.  The Fish and Wildlife Service denied the petition without giving a good explanation why, so the Fund for Animals sued.  The court found that because the Fish and Wildlife Service had subsequently provided a letter finding that the swans were not "markedly separated from other populations" and were part of the Rocky Mountain population, which was growing in numbers, the FWS had provided a sufficient explanation and the case against it was therefore moot.   
Humane Soc. of U.S. v. Locke   626 F.3d 1040 (C.A.9 (Or.),2010)   The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) authorized several states to kill California sea lions under section 120 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), which allows the intentional lethal taking of individually identifiable pinnipeds. Plaintiffs filed action for declaratory and injunctive relief against Defendants. The Court held that NMFS 1) did not adequately explain its finding that sea lions were having a “significant negative impact” on the decline or recovery of listed salmonid populations; and 2) NMFS did not adequately explain why a California sea lion predation rate of 1 percent would have a significant negative impact on the decline or recovery of these salmonid populations. Therefore, the agency's action was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.” under the Administrative Procedure Act.  
U.S. v. Paluch (unpublished)   84 Fed. Appx. 740 (9th Cir. 2003)   The court first concluded that venue was proper for the smuggling charges and the conspiracy charge. Turning to the convictions, the court found that his convictions of felony conspiracy and smuggling were supported by sufficient evidence. The court rejected his argument that the general smuggling law was inapplicable to the acts for which he was convicted because Congress had separately criminalized this conduct as a misdemeanor under the Endangered Species Act.  
Humane Soc. of U.S. v. Dirk Kempthorne   527 F.3d 181 (D.C. Cir., 2008)  

The Humane Society of the United States sought an injunction to prevent the lethal depredation of gray wolves. The district court granted the injunction but, while the case was on appeal, the United States Department of the Interior removed the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List.  After the gray wolf was removed from the Endangered Species List, all parties agreed that the delisting of the gray wolf rendered the appeal moot.  The Court of Appeals vacated the district court's ruling.

 
Northwest Ecosystem Alliance v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service   475 F.3d 1136 (9th Cir. 2007)   The Endangered Species Act protects not just species, but also "distinct population segments" of species. The Fish and Wildlife Service refused to list the Western Gray Squirrel as endangered in Washington State, even though its numbers are low there, because it determined that the squirrels in Washington are not significant to the species as a whole. The court upheld this decision.  
Viva! v. Adidas   63 Cal.Rptr.3d 50 (Cal., 2007)   Viva, an animal protective organization, filed action against Adidas shoe retailer alleging that it was violating a state statute banning the import of products made from Australian kangaroo hide into California. On cross motions for summary judgment, the original court sided with Adidas, on the ground that state statute was preempted by federal Endangered Species Act of 1973.  The appeals court affirmed, however the California Superior Court reversed, holding that the state statute was not preempted by federal law.   
Cabinet Resource Group v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service   465 F.Supp.2d 1067 (D. Mont. 2006)   The Forest Service builds roads in National Forests, and has to determine what density of road coverage is safe for grizzly bear survival in making its Land Use Plan. Here, the Land Use Plan did not violate the Endangered Species Act, because an agency action is not required to help the survival of an endangered species, it simply may not reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of the endangered species, grizzly bears. However, because the Forest Service relied upon a scientific study with acknowledged weaknesses to make its road standards, but failed to adequately address those weaknesses in its Final Environmental Impact Statement, the Forest Service violated NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act).  
Turtle Island Restoration Project v. U.S. Department of Commerce   438 F.3d 937 (9th Cir. 2006)  

Environmental Groups sued the National Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the United States Department of Commerce for making regulations which allowed swordfish longline fishing along the Hawaii coast, alleging violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Court found that because the regulations were made under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 (Magnuson Act), and because that Act had a 30-day time limit for when challenges to regulations could be made, the environmental groups has not brought their challenge to the regulations in time.

 
Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. National Marine Fisheries Service   409 F.Supp.2d 379 (S.D.N.Y.2006)   The Natural Resources Defense Council sought material from the National Marine Fisheries Service about an incident of mass stranding of whales under the Freedom of Information Act because the Council thought it had to do with navy sonar use. The Service did not want to release the materials, saying they were protected from disclosure because they were discussions of agency decision-making. The court required disclosure of most of the materials because purely factual matters are not protected from disclosure.  
Defenders of Wildlife v. Kempthorne   2006 WL 2844232   Ten non-profit groups sued the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) alleging that the FWS had not adequately explained why the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Southern Rockies were not a significant area of lynx habitat under the Endangered Species Act, as the FWS had previously been ordered by the court to do. Additionally, the non-profit groups claimed that the FWS had violated Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by passing regulations which made it easier for federal agencies to thin trees in lynx habitat under the Healthy Forest Initiative. The Court ordered the FWS to explain why the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Southern Rockies were not a significant area of lynx habitat, but found that the challenged regulations making it easier to thin trees in lynx habitat were permissible.  
Animal Rights Front, Inc. v. Jacques   869 A.2d 679 (Conn. 2005)   An environmental nonprofit organization sought an injunction to prevent a housing development from being constructed.  The nonprofit organization claimed the development was in violation of the Connecticut Endangered Species Act because it would destroy the habitat of an endangered rattlesnake.  The trial court held the development was lawful and the Court of Appeals affirmed.  
Joy Road Area Forest and Watershed Association v. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection   47 Cal.Rptr.3d 846 (2006)   The California Department of Forestry approved a developer's Timber Harvest Plan of cutting trees down to build a housing development. The court found that The California Department of Forestry abused its discretion by approving the Timber Harvest Plan because it had not given the public sufficient information about the plan, including the impact on the Northern Spotted Owl before approving it, and because the Timber Harvest Plan did not adequately address the issue of how the plan would affect water quality in the area.  
United States v. Bengis   2006 WL 3735654 (S.D. N.Y. 2006)   Defendants were caught illegally over-fishing off the coast of South Africa and selling the fish in the United States, in violation of the Lacey Act. The United States Government could not seek compensation for South Africa under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act because the fish were not property belonging to South Africa. However, the United States Government may be able to seek restitution for the South African Government under the discretionary Victim and Witness Protection Act. Opinion Vacated and Remanded by: U.S. v. Bengis, 631 F.3d 33 (2nd Cir., 2011).  
U.S. v. Molt   631 F.2d 258 (3rd Cir. 1980)   The court affirmed a judgment of sentence entered following defendant's conditional plea of guilty to smuggling and to violating the Lacey Act. The court held that the district court properly denied defendant's Speedy Trial Act motion where defendant incorrectly computed the number of excludable days. Therefore, the court concluded that more than 120 non-excludable days did not elapse between the indictment and the trial.  
U.S. v. Guthrie   50 F.3d 936 (11th Cir. 1995)   The court affirmed the decision of the district court which convicted defendant of violations of the Lacey Act (Act) and the Endangered Species Act. The court held that the Act was not unconstitutional, that defendant was not permitted to collaterally challenge an agency regulation on the grounds of new scientific evidence, and that the Secretary of the Interior's finding that the turtle was a valid species was not arbitrary.  
U.S. v. Molt   599 F.2d 1217 (3rd Cir. 1979)   Defendants were indicted for conspiracy to smuggle snakes and other reptiles into the United States in violation of the Lacey Act, 18 U.S.C.S. § 43. The district court granted defendants' motion to dismiss counts based on alleged violations of the laws of Fiji and of Papua New Guinea, finding that foreign laws and regulations referred to in the statute were designed and intended for the protection of wildlife in those countries. On appeal, the trial court's order dismissing an indictment against defendants for smuggling wildlife was affirmed as to Fiji, where the regulation relied on was a revenue ordinance. The court reversed as to Papua New Guinea where the law was intended to protect wildlife in the country of origin.  
U.S. v. Lewis   240 F.3d 866 (10th Cir. 2001)   A jury convicted defendant of one count of violating the Lacey Act, 16 U.S.C.S. §§ 3371-3378. The jury found that defendant had violated Oklahoma law by capturing wild elk, holding them captive, and organizing at least one commercial elk hunt, without a license for those activities. The court affirmed. Violation of a state hunting law was an adequate basis for a Lacey Act prosecution. There was sufficient evidence to prove that the Oklahoma statute regarding commercial hunting licenses applied to defendant, and that defendant had knowledge of the statute's requirements.  
Dehart v. Town of Austin   39 F.3d 718 (7th Cir. 1994)   The breeder was in the business of buying, breeding, raising, and selling of exotic and wild animals. The town passed an ordinance making it unlawful to keep certain wild animals, and the breeder filed suit challenging the constitutionality of a local ordinance.  On appeal, the court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the town because: (1) the ordinance was not preempted by the Animal Welfare Act; (2) the ordinance was not an impermissible attempt to regulate interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause; and (3) the town did not deprive him of his property interest in his federal and state licenses without due process.  
Save the Pine Bush, Inc. v. Common Council of City of Albany   56 A.D.3d 32, 865 N.Y.S.2d 365 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept.,2008)  

An Organization dedicated to the protection of the Karner Blue Butterfly and other species that live in an area of land used as a nature preserve brought challenge against the City Common Councilís; (ďCouncilĒ) approval of a Developerís rezoning application for the land.  The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, New York, held that the Organization had standing to bring suit, because the Organization showed the existence of an actual injury different from that of the general public, due to the Organizationís regular use of the preserve, at least one memberís nearby residency to the preserve, and the Organizationís historic involvement in the protection and preservation of the preserve. (2010 - Order Reversed by Save the Pine Bush, Inc. v. Common Council of City of Albany, 13 N.Y.3d 297, 918 N.E.2d 917, 890 N.Y.S.2d 405, 2009 N.Y. Slip Op. 07667 (N.Y. Oct 27, 2009) (NO. 134)). 

 

Back to top