Thursday, May 13, 2010

WildEarth Guardians v. National Park Service

May 12: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, Case No. 08-1479. According to the Appeals Court, the appeal arises from WildEarth Guardians' lawsuit challenging the National Park Service's proposal to reduce the elk population in Rocky Mountain
National Park. Safari Club International and Safari Club International Foundation (referred to together as Safari Club) are two organizations representing hunting and conservation interests which participated in the administrative proceedings that led to the promulgation of the National Park Service's elk population management plan. Safari Club sought to intervene as of right in WildEarth's lawsuit as a party defendant pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2), or, in the alternative, to intervene permissively, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(b).
    The district court denied Safari Club's motion to intervene and Safari Club appealed. The Appeals Court said, "Because '[a]n order denying intervention is final and subject to immediate review if it prevents the applicant from becoming a party to an action,' Coal. of Ariz./N.M. Counties for Stable Econ. Growth v. DOI, 100 F.3d 837, 839 (10th Cir. 1996), we have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We find the district court erred in ruling on Safari Club's motion to intervene. Safari Club demonstrated that it has a substantial interest in the district court proceedings and that its interest might be impaired as a result of the litigation. Further, on the record presented, we decline to determine whether any of the existing parties can adequately represent Safari Club's interest.
Accordingly, we reverse and remand with instructions to consider whether the National Park Service can adequately represent Safari Club's interest."
    Access the complete opinion (click here).