Monday, February 28, 2011

Center For Food Safety v. Monsanto

Feb 25: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 10-17719 & 10-17722. The Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Intervenors Monsanto et al. appeal the district court's decision granting a preliminary injunction that mandates the destruction of juvenile Roundup Ready sugar beets planted pursuant to permits issued by the agency. The Appeals Court said, "Because the plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate irreparable harm, we reverse and vacate the preliminary injunction and direct that the permits be given full force and effect." The Appeals Court said further in its final conclusion, ". . .without expressing any views on the merits of the ultimate issues in
this case or other pending related litigation, we vacate the preliminary injunction, reverse, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."
    Additionally, the Appeals Court explained, "At the time Plaintiffs sought the preliminary injunction, none of the irreparable harms they sought to prevent were likely. Their alleged irreparable harms hinged on future APHIS decisions, and nothing prevented Plaintiffs from filing a new legal challenge if and when those decisions were made. The alleged irreparable harms are little more than an expression that 'life finds a way.' Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park 159 (Ballantine 1990). However, an invocation to chaos theory is not sufficient to justify a preliminary injunction. Monsanto warned against premature review of APHIS's regulatory actions under the Plant Protection Act. See 130 S. Ct. at 2759–61. Plaintiffs are unlikely to face irreparable substantive harm from the stecklings, and if a subsequent APHIS decision aggrieves them, they may challenge it and seek appropriate preliminary relief. Id. at 2761. Under these circumstances, we conclude that injunctive relief 'is not now needed to guard against any present or imminent risk of likely irreparable harm.' Id. at 2760. Because Plaintiffs have failed to show that they are 'likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief,' Winter, 129 S. Ct. at 374, we need not address the district court's analysis of the remaining elements of the preliminary injunction standard."
    Access the complete opinion (click here).