Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hill v. Gould

Feb 13: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, DC Circuit, Case No. 07-5026. After winning a lawsuit against the Secretary of the Interior, Joyce M. Hill filed an application to recover her attorney’s fees and expenses under the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412. The district court denied the application on the basis that the Secretary’s position at the merits stage was substantially justified. Hill appealed. The Appeals Court affirmed the district court denial.

The original case involved numerous charges of wrongs the mute swan species had allegedly suffered. Hill's principal claim was that the Secretary of the Interior improperly denied the species the protection of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The district court held that the Secretary’s List of Migratory Birds rested on "a permissible construction of the Treaty Act" and granted the Secretary’s motion for summary judgment. The DC Circuit overruled saying, "the court held that the Secretary’s exclusion of the mute swan from the protected bird list was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act."

Access the complete opinion (
click here).

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