DAKOTA RURAL ACTION, et al., Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, et al., Defendants. Additional Party Names: Animal Legal Def. Fund, Ass’n of Irritated Residents, Citizens Action Coal. of Indiana, Farm Serv. Agency, Food & Water Watch, Inst. for Agric. & Trade Policy, Iowa Citizens for Cmty. Improvement, Richard Fordyce, Sonny Perdue, White River Waterkeeper, No. CV 18-2852 (BAH), 2019 WL 1440134 (D.D.C. Apr. 1, 2019)
The plaintiffs—Dakota Rural Action, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, Association of Irritated Residents, White River Waterkeeper, Food & Water Watch, and Animal Legal Defense Fund—have sued the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”), the Farm Service Agency (“FSA”), and two federal officials—Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture; and Richard Fordyce, Administrator of FSA. The suit alleges violations of both the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 4321, et seq.; 40 C.F.R. § 1500, et seq., and the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. § 500, et seq., pertaining to the FSA’s allegedly unlawful promulgation of a 2016 rule that categorically excludes FSA assistance loans provided for construction of medium-sized concentrated animal feeding operations (“CAFOs”) from requiring a prior environmental assessment or environmental impact statement. Simultaneously with the Complaint, the plaintiffs filed a Notice of Related Case, ECF No. 2, representing that the present case “involves common issues of fact” with Food & Water Watch v. United States Department of Agriculture, No. 17-cv-1714 (BAH), an earlier-filed case assigned to the undersigned judge. Under this Court’s rules, the present case was then also assigned to the undersigned judge. See LCvR 40.5(c)(1) (“Where the existence of a related case in this Court is noted at the time … the complaint is filed, the Clerk shall assign the new case to the judge to whom the oldest related case is assigned.”). The defendants promptly filed an Objection to Plaintiffs’ Notice of Related Case (“Defs.’ Obj.”), The defendants’ objection was sustained and this case will be transferred to the Calendar and Case Management Committee for random reassignment. LCvR 40.5(c)(1).
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. United States Dep’t of Agric. & Animal & Plant Health Inspection Serv., 918 F.3d 151 (D.C. Cir. 2019)
A coalition of animal rights advocates led by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (collectively “PETA”) appeals the dismissal of their FOIA claims seeking records relating to animal welfare laws and regulations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”). Plaintiffs sued after the agency had removed certain records posted online, explaining its action in language consistent with an intention to restore them except for redactions required by privacy interests (but without a clear commitment to such restorations).
The district court dismissed all claims on varying grounds: (1) on the merits—as to certain issues not appealed; (2) on mootness with regard to material restored by USDA to the website, and (3) as to redactions from restored materials, on the ground that plaintiffs’ complaint did not address them. We reverse on the last issue without reaching the merits, and we remand for further factual clarification bearing on plaintiffs’ contention that USDA’s voluntary cessation of unlawful activity renders mootness inapplicable. The Court affirmed the district court’s refusal to grant discovery against the agency.
STARR SURPLUS LINES INSURANCE COMPANY, as Subrogee to ADVANCEPIERRE FOODS, INC., Plaintiff, Appellant, v. MOUNTAIRE FARMS INC., Defendant, Appellee., No. 18-1818, 2019 WL 1467052 (1st Cir. Apr. 3, 2019)
This appeal concerns a suit in the District of Maine by the insurer of a chicken products manufacturer to recoup the losses that it paid to the manufacturer for the losses that the manufacturer incurred when its products were recalled following a salmonella outbreak. Subrogated to the rights of the manufacturer, the insurer sought damages from the manufacturer’s chicken supplier for claims under Maine law for breach of warranty and strict product liability. In support of those claims, the insurer’s complaint alleged that the manufacturer received two truckloads of raw chicken from the supplier that was contaminated with Salmonella Enteriditis and was therefore “defective” under Maine law. The supplier filed a motion to dismiss, which the District Court granted as to all claims. The District Court did so after ruling that the complaint’s allegations did not suffice to plausibly allege that the raw chicken that the supplier sent to the manufacturer was “defective.” The District Court also concluded that the insurer’s strict liability claim was independently barred by the economic loss doctrine. The Court affirms