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Navistar, Inc v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

August 25, 2011

NAVISTAR, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert L. Wilkins United States District Judge

SUMMARY MEMORANDUM AND OPINION; NOT INTENDED FOR PUBLICATION

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Before the Court is Plaintiff Navistar Inc.'s ("Navistar") Motion for a Preliminary Injunction (Docket No. 17). That motion is now fully briefed and ripe for resolution. Having considered the Motion, Opposition, and Reply, and for the reasons set forth below, Navistar's Motion is denied.

FACTUAL SUMMARY

Navistar, a manufacturer of heavy-duty diesel engines, has requested several agency records from the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552. Navistar served the EPA with five FOIA requests, seeking various categories of documents relating to, inter alia, the agency's testing and certification of certain SCR-equipped vehicles or engines. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 12-15). Navistar claims that these agency records are critically important to determine whether certain Model Year 2010 and 2011 heavy-duty diesel engines equipped with urea-based SCR technology are in compliance with the EPA standards. (Am. Compl. ¶ 8). Additionally, Navistar asserts that these records are essential to determine whether the EPA is failing to enforce requirements against SCR engine manufacturers whose engines exceed the new EPA oxides of nitrogen ("NOx") emissions standards.*fn1

Navistar's five FOIA requests were served on the EPA on August 19, 2010; August 30, 2010; October 5, 2010; November 24, 2010; and March 23, 2011. (Am. Compl. ¶ 12). Navistar alleges that, with the exception of a set of documents responsive to its August 30 request, the EPA has effectively ignored all five of Navistar's FOIA requests. (Am. Compl. ¶ 16).

Navistar now moves this Court for a preliminary injunction enjoining the EPA from continuing to withhold records responsive to Navistar's FOIA requests and seeks an order directing the EPA to immediately produce non-exempt documents responsive to Navistar's requests.

ANALYSIS

A.Standard of Review

As the Supreme Court has held, "a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion." Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997) (emphasis added).

On a motion for a preliminary injunction, the court must balance four factors: (1) irreparable harm to the movant, (2) the movant's showing of a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, (3) substantial harm to the non-movant, and (4) public interest. CFGC v. England, 454 F.3d 290, 297 (D.C. Cir. 2006). The four factors have typically been evaluated on a "sliding scale and must be balanced against each other."*fn2 Davenport v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, 166 F.3d 356, 361 (D.C. Cir. 1999). "Despite this flexibility, though, a movant must demonstrate at least some injury for a preliminary injunction to issue, . . . for the basis of injunctive relief in the federal courts has always been irreparable harm." Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches v. England, 454 F.3d 290, 297 (D.C. Cir. 2006).

Thus, "[a] movant's failure to show any irreparable harm is therefore grounds for refusing to issue a preliminary injunction, even if the other three factors entering the calculus merit such relief." Id. However, even if this Court concludes that Navistar has not demonstrated irreparable injury, the District of Columbia Circuit has instructed that it should set forth its reasoning on all four injunction factors. See Gordon v. Holder, 632 F.3d 722, 725 (D.C. Cir. 2011).

1.Irreparable Harm

Navistar argues that it will suffer irreparable harm with each passing day until the EPA produces the requested documents. Specifically, Navistar argues that it stands to suffer irreparable harm because "(1) its competitive advantage is impaired since its competitors are able to disregard the NOx regulations, and (2) it risks losing current and future sales because the public has been deceived in to believing that Navistar's competitors are compliant with these regulations." (Plaintiff's ...


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