Update on Sea Otter legal battle from Pacific Legal Foundation

Good morning all,

Last Friday, the district court held a hearing on our motion for summary judgment in the sea otter case. As you’ll all undoubtedly recall, there are two cases challenging the termination of the management zone. This is the original one, in which we won the right to challenge the decision in the Ninth Circuit last summer.

Despite Damien’s excellent oral argument, the court ruled against us. That was not unexpected, since the judge’s easiest way to rule in the case was to follow the earlier decision in the other case.

A bright spot in the ruling, however, is that the judge disagreed with the earlier decision on your “standing” to bring the case in federal court. According to the latest decision, standing is clearly satisfied. This is a significant positive step, which should make things easier on appeal.

As we’ve discussed, these cases were always going to the appellate courts, regardless of who won in the district court. So although this decision is disappointing, it’s just a temporary setback and doesn’t change our strategy on appeal. Once the judgment is final, we’ll get the notice of appeal filed. The Ninth Circuit will likely expedite our briefing of the appeal so that both cases can be argued together later this year. That’s where the judge’s ruling that we have standing will particularly come in handy, since it will allow us to focus on the merits of the case in the appeal.

Best regards,

Jonathan Wood

Environmental Attorney

Pacific Legal Foundation

3033 Wilson Blvd.

Arlington, VA 22201

(202) 888-6881


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