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The Humane Soc'y of the United States v. Pritzker

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

November 14, 2014

THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES, ET AL., Plaintiffs
v.
PENNY PRITZKER, in her official capacity as Secretary of Commerce, ET AL., Defendants

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff: Ralph E. Henry, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES, Washington, DC; Anna E.J. Frostic, THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES, Washington, DC.

For WILDEARTH GUARDIANS, 11ca1417, Plaintiff: James Jay Tutchton, LEAD ATTORNEY, DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE, Centennial, CO; Kelly Deanne Davis, LEAD ATTORNEY, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Environmental Law Clinic, Denver, CO; Courtney Renee McVean, STUDENT LAW OFFICES, Denver, CO.

For REBECCA M. BLANK, in her official capacity as Acting Secretary of Commerce, ERIC C. SCHWAAB, in his official capacity as Assistant Administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service, NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, Defendants: Kristen Byrnes Floom, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, DC.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION

BARBARA J. ROTHSTEIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

I. INTRODUCTION

Before the Court are motions for summary judgment by the parties: Plaintiff Humane Society of the United States' (" HSUS" ), Plaintiff WildEarth Guardians' (" WildEarth" ) and Defendants Penny Pritzker, National Marine Fisheries Service (" NMFS" ), and Eric C. Schwaab[1]. Upon consideration of the parties' arguments, the relevant case law, and the entire record, the Court grants Plaintiffs' Motions for Summary Judgment and denies Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.

II. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The instant case was filed on August 4, 2011, by Plaintiff HSUS. On September 29, 2012, this case was consolidated with two other related cases, WildEarth Guardians v. Blank, Civil Action No. 11-1417, and Humane Society of the United States v. Blank, Civil Action No. 11-1407. On June 14, 2013, this case was transferred from the Honorable Richard W. Roberts to the undersigned.

This case concerns three rulemaking petitions filed by the plaintiffs. Two petitions, filed separately by HSUS and WildEarth, requested that NMFS list the porbeagle shark as endangered or threatened pursuant to the terms of the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. § § 1531, et seq. HSUS' petition sought listing of the Northwest Atlantic population of porbeagles, while WildEarth's petition sought listing of the porbeagle shark without limitation to a specific geographic population. NMFS denied the petitions at the initial 90-day stage of review, discussed in more detail below. Plaintiffs ...


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