Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Citizens for Better Forestry v. USDA

Jun 9: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 07-16077. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which includes the Forest Service, appeals the district court’s award of attorneys’ fees to Citizens for Better Forestry and eleven other environmental groups (collectively, Citizens) under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). In the underlying action, Citizens sought declaratory and injunctive relief against the USDA for its promulgation of a new national forest management rule.

In a prior action, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of Citizens’ suit on standing and ripeness grounds and remanded for a ruling on Citizens’ motion for injunctive relief. However, before the district court could reconsider the motion, the USDA withdrew the contested rule. Citizens then stipulated to dismiss its case and moved for attorneys’ fees. The Appeals Court ruled that because Citizens received no relief from any court, it does not qualify as a “prevailing party” under the EAJA and, therefore, is not entitled to fees.

Access the complete opinion (click here).

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