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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's decision to uphold HHS's redaction of certain types of information in response to PETA's request for information about the importation of nonhuman primates under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The court noted that it would have little difficulty concluding that the market for importing nonhuman primates was competitive even without PETA's waiver. The court held that releasing shipment-by-shipment quantity, crate size, and airline carrier information would cause substantial harm to the competitive position of each importer. Therefore, such information was confidential and protected from disclosure by FOIA Exemption 4. Finally, the court held that the district court did not err by granting HHS's Rule 60(b)(6) motion for reconsideration of the judgment regarding three importers, which the district court had mistakenly assumed their silence was intentional. View "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. HHS" on Justia Law

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Defendant Emily St. Peter appealed her conviction on five counts of cruelty to animals, arguing the trial court erred in declining to suppress evidence about five horses she voluntarily surrendered during a cruelty investigation. In particular, defendant contended that because the humane officer failed to have the horses timely examined and assessed by a licensed veterinarian within seventy-two hours of her voluntary surrender of them, as required by 13 V.S.A. 354(b)(1), the court should have excluded any evidence acquired by a humane officer, veterinarian, or other witness following that surrender. The Vermont Supreme Court concluded, based on reasoning in Vermont v. Sheperd, 170 A.3d 616 (2017), the trial court properly declined to grant defendant’s suppression motion, and accordingly affirmed. View "Vermont v. St. Peter" on Justia Law

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Based on allegedly deceptive pictures on pet food packaging, Wysong alleged false advertising under the Lanham Act, requiring proof that the Defendants made false or misleading statements of fact about their products, which actually deceived or had a tendency to deceive a substantial portion of the intended audience, and likely influenced the deceived consumers’ purchasing decisions, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a). The Sixth Circuit affirmed the complaint's dismissal. If a plaintiff shows that the defendant’s advertising communicated a “literally false” message to consumers, courts presume that consumers were actually deceived. Wysong claimed the Defendants’ messaging was literally false because the photographs on their packages tell consumers their kibble is made from premium cuts of meat—when it is actually made from the trimmings. A reasonable consumer could understand the Defendants’ packaging as indicating the type of animal from which the food was made but not the precise cut used so that Wysong’s literal-falsity argument fails. A plaintiff can, alternatively, show that the defendant’s messaging was “misleading,” by proving that a “significant portion” of reasonable consumers were actually deceived by the defendant’s messaging, usually by using consumer surveys. Wysong’s complaints do not support a plausible inference that the Defendants’ packaging caused a significant number of reasonable consumers to believe their pet food was made from premium lamb chops, T-bone steaks, and the like. Reasonable consumers know that marketing involves some level of exaggeration. View "Wysong Corp. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc." on Justia Law

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Animal Control Officer Laurie Deus responded to a report of a vicious dog. When she arrived on scene, a black and white pit bull, later identified as “Bo,” aggressively charged anyone who got near him. Bo was declared aggressive, and later dangerous. Mark and Robyn Munkhoffs’ son Sam Munkhoff (“Sam”) was Bo’s owner, and Bo was kept on the Munkoff’s property. Months later, Officer Deus received a report of a dog bite that occurred near the Munkhoffs’ home. The owner of the dog was identified as Sam. Sam was cited for having an animal running at large, an animal attacking, biting or chasing, and Bo was declared dangerous. The responding animal control officer cited Mark too, whose dog Dexter was also running at large. Mark told the officer that “Sam is absolutely not allowed to move back in nor is he allowed to bring Bo back even for a visit.” Officers tried to locate Sam and Bo; Mark told officers on the phone that “if that dog shows up [I] will shoot it.” Bo bit the Munkoffs’ neighbor, Klaus Kummerling. The Kummerlings filed a complaint, alleging claims for negligence, gross negligence, outrage, and nuisance against the City of Coeur d’Alene, Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Ron Clark, the Munkhoffs, and Sam. The Kummerlings did not allege in their complaint that the Munkhoffs were vicariously liable for Sam’s conduct. The district court dismissed the claims against the City and Chief Clark. The Munkhoffs filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted as to all claims except the claim for negligence. Sam, who represented himself, did not join in the Munkhoffs’ summary judgment motion. This case was tried to a jury, and the jury returned a special verdict, finding that the Munkhoffs and their son Sam were negligent, negligent per se, and that their negligence was the actual and proximate cause of Kummerling’s injuries. The jury allocated fault and calculated damages. Kummerling was awarded $16,603.00 in economic damages and $185,000.00 in non-economic damages. The Munkhoffs moved for a new trial pursuant to Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure 59(a)(1)(A), (F), and (G), for remittitur pursuant to Idaho Code section 6-807 and Rule 59.1, and for relief from judgment pursuant to Rule 60(b)(3). The district court denied the motions, and a judgment was entered on November 7, 2016. On December 14, 2016, the Munkhoffs timely appealed. After review, the Idaho Supreme Court found no reversible error in the trial court’s decision and affirmed. View "Litke v. Munkhoff" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of copyright infringement claims brought by a monkey over selfies he took on a wildlife photographer's unattended camera. Naruto, a crested macaque, took several photos of himself on the camera, and the photographer and Wildlife Personalities subsequently published the Monkey Selfies in a book. PETA filed suit as next friend to Naruto, alleging copyright infringement. The panel held that the complaint included facts sufficient to establish Article III standing because it alleged that Naruto was the author and owner of the photographs and had suffered concrete and particularized economic harms; the monkey's Article III standing was not dependent on the sufficiency of PETA; but Naruto lacked statutory standing because the Copyright Act did not expressly authorize animals to file copyright infringement suits. Finally, the panel granted defendants' request for attorneys' fees on appeal. View "Naruto v. Slater" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of copyright infringement claims brought by a monkey over selfies he took on a wildlife photographer's unattended camera. Naruto, a crested macaque, took several photos of himself on the camera, and the photographer and Wildlife Personalities subsequently published the Monkey Selfies in a book. PETA filed suit as next friend to Naruto, alleging copyright infringement. The panel held that the complaint included facts sufficient to establish Article III standing because it alleged that Naruto was the author and owner of the photographs and had suffered concrete and particularized economic harms; the monkey's Article III standing was not dependent on the sufficiency of PETA; but Naruto lacked statutory standing because the Copyright Act did not expressly authorize animals to file copyright infringement suits. Finally, the panel granted defendants' request for attorneys' fees on appeal. View "Naruto v. Slater" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against defendants under the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq., seeking to enjoin defendants' mistreatment of endangered species. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's order that the endangered species be transferred to another facility and denied plaintiffs' request for attorney fees and costs. Determining that plaintiffs had standing, the court held that the district court did not err in finding defendants had harassed the lemurs by keeping them in social isolation; by not developing, documenting, and following an appropriate plan for environmental enhancement; and by not providing clean water and sanitary conditions. The district court also did not err by ruling that defendants had injured, and thereby harmed, the tigers by failing to provide timely and appropriate veterinary care. Furthermore, the decision to imposed upon defendants the responsibility of finding an appropriate, licensed facility for the lemurs and tigers was well within the district court's broad equitable powers. The court held that the circumstances of this case justified the denial of attorney fees and costs. The court rejected the remaining arguments and affirmed the judgment. View "Kuehl v. Sellner" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against defendants under the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq., seeking to enjoin defendants' mistreatment of endangered species. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's order that the endangered species be transferred to another facility and denied plaintiffs' request for attorney fees and costs. Determining that plaintiffs had standing, the court held that the district court did not err in finding defendants had harassed the lemurs by keeping them in social isolation; by not developing, documenting, and following an appropriate plan for environmental enhancement; and by not providing clean water and sanitary conditions. The district court also did not err by ruling that defendants had injured, and thereby harmed, the tigers by failing to provide timely and appropriate veterinary care. Furthermore, the decision to imposed upon defendants the responsibility of finding an appropriate, licensed facility for the lemurs and tigers was well within the district court's broad equitable powers. The court held that the circumstances of this case justified the denial of attorney fees and costs. The court rejected the remaining arguments and affirmed the judgment. View "Kuehl v. Sellner" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's denial of plaintiff's petition for writ of administrative mandate after the county planning commission and board of supervisors denied her application for a conditional use permit (CUP) to keep up to five tigers on her property. The court held that substantial evidence supported the Board's findings that the project was not compatible with the planned uses in the general area and the project was detrimental to the public interest, health, safety or welfare. In this case, tigers did not belong in a residential area and there was more than ample evidence to support a finding that plaintiff's tigers posed a danger to the public. View "Hauser v. Ventura County Board of Supervisors" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's denial of plaintiff's petition for writ of administrative mandate after the county planning commission and board of supervisors denied her application for a conditional use permit (CUP) to keep up to five tigers on her property. The court held that substantial evidence supported the Board's findings that the project was not compatible with the planned uses in the general area and the project was detrimental to the public interest, health, safety or welfare. In this case, tigers did not belong in a residential area and there was more than ample evidence to support a finding that plaintiff's tigers posed a danger to the public. View "Hauser v. Ventura County Board of Supervisors" on Justia Law