Florida Supreme Court Gives Green Light to Greyhound Ballot Initiative

by John M. Simpson.

On September 7, 2018, the Supreme Court of Florida reversed a lower court decision that had enjoined, from inclusion on the November 2018 Florida ballot, a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution on the ground that the ballot language was clearly and conclusively defective.  Department of State v. Florida Greyhound Ass’n, Inc., No. SC18-1287 (Fla. Sept. 7, 2018).  The measure — Amendment 13 — would, if adopted, prohibit commercial dog racing in Florida by gaming or pari-mutuel operations in Florida and would prohibit wagering on dog races within Florida.   The Supreme Court ordered “that Amendment 13 appear on the ballot for the November 2018 general election” and ordered that “[n]o motion for rehearing will be allowed.”  Slip op. at 21. Continue reading “Florida Supreme Court Gives Green Light to Greyhound Ballot Initiative”

APHIS to Involve Attending Vets Directly in Inspections

by John M. Simpson.

In a recent letter and an accompanying video directed at veterinarians, the Deputy Administrator for Animal Care of the USDA Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS), Bernadette Juarez, described a new initiative that will involve attending veterinarians more directly in APHIS inspections of persons and entities licensed under the Animal Welfare Act. Continue reading “APHIS to Involve Attending Vets Directly in Inspections”

Petting a Protected Species Can Cost You

by John M. Simpson.

A recent action by the Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) illustrates how seriously the agency takes incidents of “harassing” protected species.  According to a NOAA report, the agency fined a tourist $1,500 for “harassing” a monk seal and sea turtle on the Hawaiian island of Kau’i.  Continue reading “Petting a Protected Species Can Cost You”

Endangered Species Act Case Founders on Lack of 60-Day Notice

By John M. Simpson

A federal district court in New Hampshire recently dismissed a citizen suit making novel claims under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) because the plaintiff could not prove that he had provided the required 60-day notice to the defendants prior to suit.  Strahan v. Nielsen, 2018 WL 3966318 (D.N.H. Aug. 17, 2018).  Continue reading “Endangered Species Act Case Founders on Lack of 60-Day Notice”

D.C. Circuit Rejects PETA Nonhuman Primate FOIA Claim

by John M. Simpson

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently affirmed a summary judgment in favor of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which had denied a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for information about the importation of nonhuman primates.  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. U.S. Dep’t of Health and Human Serv., No. 16-5269 (D.C. Cir. August, 17, 2018).  The appellate court agreed with the lower court that the release of such information would cause substantial competitive injury to the importers who had provided such information to HHS and therefore was properly withheld under FOIA Exemption 4, which exempts “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential” from disclosure.  5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(4).   Continue reading “D.C. Circuit Rejects PETA Nonhuman Primate FOIA Claim”

Third Circuit Decides Service Dog Issue of First Impression

by John M. Simpson

In Berardelli v. Allied Services Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, No. 17-1469 (3rd Cir. Aug. 14, 2018), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that, as to service animals, the 1973 Rehabilitation Act’s mandate of “reasonable accommodations” must be interpreted and applied in the same manner as the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) standard of “reasonable modifications.”  Therefore, even though there was no Rehabilitation Act regulation specifically so stating, the ADA regulation on public accommodations and public entities controlled.  As a result, a request to an institution covered by the Rehabilitation Act for an individual to be accompanied by a service animal is “per se reasonable in the ordinary course.”   Slip op. at 4.  Continue reading “Third Circuit Decides Service Dog Issue of First Impression”

Fourth Circuit Vacates Incidental Take Statement for Gas Pipeline

by John M. Simpson

On August 6, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit granted a petition setting aside an Incidental Take Statement (ITS) of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) which had been issued under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)  in connection with the approval of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 600-mile natural gas pipeline proposed to run through parts of West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.  Sierra Club, et al., v. U.S. Dep’t of the Interior, Nos. 18-1082 & 18-1083 (4th Cir. Aug. 6, 2018).   Continue reading “Fourth Circuit Vacates Incidental Take Statement for Gas Pipeline”