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NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH v. ANDRUS

May 5, 1981

NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Cecil D. ANDRUS and Richard A. Frank, Defendants, Atlantic Richfield Company, et al., Intervenor-Defendants. NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Cecil D. ANDRUS and Richard A. Frank, Defendants, Atlantic Richfield Company, et al., Intervenor-Defendants. VILLAGE OF KAKTOVIK, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Cecil D. ANDRUS and Richard A. Frank, Defendants, Atlantic Richfield Company, et al., Intervenor-Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBINSON, JR.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Before the Court are Plaintiff's Motions for Attorneys' Fees in the above captioned action. The history of this litigation may be summarized as follows:

 Three sets of Plaintiffs, North Slope Borough (NSB), the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), and the Village of Kaktovik (VOK) brought suit against then Secretary of Interior Cecil D. Andrus, et al., alleging certain violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq., the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), 43 U.S.C. § 1331 et seq., the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq., the Federal Trust Responsibility (FTR) to the Inupiat Indians, and various other environmental statutes. *fn1" These alleged violations resulted from a proposed (and now consummated) OCSLA lease sale, in the Beaufort Sea, off the North Slope of Alaska. Subsequent to the filing of the complaint, the Court permitted the intervention of the Atlantic Richfield Co., and other potential lessees, and permitted the State of Alaska to participate as amicus. The intervenors and the State of Alaska assumed the posture of defendants in this litigation.

 On December 7, 1979, after receipt of extensive briefs from the parties and oral argument, this Court denied Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction. The Court held that, while Plaintiffs had shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, *fn2" an expedited briefing schedule precluded serious irreparable harm prior to a final determination on the merits. *fn3"

 On January 22, 1980, the Court resolved the merits of the instant case, holding, inter alia, that consummation of the proposed lease sale would violate the ESA *fn4" and NEPA. *fn5" The Court found no violations of the OCSLA. *fn6" On May 1, 1980, the Court ruled that Plaintiffs were entitled to "reasonable attorneys' fees for all litigation involving the (ESA and OCSLA)," that they were not so entitled for litigation involving other aspects of the instant case, and that "in areas common to both fee-providing and non fee-providing statutes, such as the preparation of facts, Plaintiffs are to be awarded reasonable attorneys' fees for all time spent on those common issues." *fn7"

 On October 9, 1980, the Court of Appeals reversed this Court's ruling on all issues in which Plaintiffs had prevailed, except for the issue of entitlement of attorneys' fees, *fn8" and affirmed all rulings favorable to Defendants. *fn9" While the Court of Appeals may have lacked jurisdiction over the merits of this action because this Court had not determined the amount of the attorneys fees to be awarded, and thus there was arguably no appealable final judgment, *fn10" this issue is not presented here. On January 21, 1981, the parties filed a Stipulation of Settlement Between Plaintiffs and Federal Defendants Regarding Attorneys Fees. Prior to approval of that settlement agreement by the Court, Federal Defendants filed a Notice of Withdrawal of the Stipulation, thereby breaching the Agreement. *fn11" The Court has subsequently become embroiled in attorneys' fees litigation.

 On February 3, 1981, the Court reaffirmed its prior ruling that Plaintiffs were entitled to reasonable attorneys fees. In its Order, the Court analyzed the attorneys' fees issue in light of Metropolitan Washington Coalition for Clean Air v. D.C., 205 U.S. App. D.C. 280, 639 F.2d 802 (D.C.Cir.1981), and Copeland v. Marshall, 205 U.S. App. D.C. 390, 641 F.2d 880 (D.C.Cir.1980). After finding that Metropolitan Washington mandated an award of fees, *fn12" the Court stated that

 The Court then awarded, under Copeland, the exact amount stipulated to by the parties.

 Underlying this Court's February 3, 1981 Order was the hope further litigation on this issue would be unnecessary. Unfortunately, Federal Defendants expressed the desire to further pursue the issue. This Court noted, on February 20, 1981

 
(if) the Federal Defendants appeal this Court's February 3, 1981 Order, which effectively enforced the Stipulation, Plaintiffs will have been deprived of the major benefit of compromise permanent resolution of the attorneys' fees issue.... Plaintiffs made substantial financial concessions when they entered into the Stipulation. The records submitted with Plaintiffs' Motion to Reconsider indicate that Plaintiffs may be entitled to an aggregate sum approaching $ 200,000 for their efforts in this litigation. This figure more closely approximates this Court's rough evaluation of the amount Plaintiffs may be entitled to receive under Copeland.

 North Slope Borough v. Andrus, No. 79-3193 (February 20, 1981), slip op. at 3. The Court therefore determined that Plaintiffs were entitled to judicial resolution of the amount of attorneys' fees, consistent with Copeland.

 Defendants have once again challenged Plaintiffs' entitlement to attorneys fees, and requested a hearing on the issue. On April 24, 1981, this Court set a hearing for April 29, 1981. By Order, the Court indicated that it would hear oral argument on Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration, and would consider any evidence presented by Defendants to rebut Plaintiffs' attorneys' fees claims. Defendants informed the Court at the April 29, 1981 hearing that they did not intend to review the costs, hours and fees claimed by Plaintiffs, and thus waived their right to an evidentiary hearing. See Copeland v. Marshall, At 905.

 Defendants are joined by Intervenor-Defendants in their opposition to an award of attorneys' fees. First, they attempt to distinguish this cause from Metropolitan Washington, alleging that that case is inapposite to the instant litigation because it involved a different statute. This contention is meritless. Metropolitan Washington involved analysis of the citizen's suit provision in the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. § 7607(f). That statute provided the model for the virtually identical citizen's suit provisions in the ESA and OCSLA, and the reason for enactment of the citizen's suit provision in ...


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