"Citizens for Better Forestry" Denied Fees Where Ninth Circuit Concludes Environmental Organization Was Not The "Prevailing Party"

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The Ninth Circuit decided a “prevailing party” issue in the environmental context in Citizens for Better Forestry, et al. v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2009 DJDAR 8323 (2009). Citizens for Better Forestry and other environmental groups sued the USDA alleging violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other environmental statutes. The Plaintiffs alleged that the USDA committed procedural violations of NEPA and other statutes when promulgating a new national forest management rule and sought declaratory and injunctive relief.

The district court dismissed the suit on standing and ripeness grounds. On appeal the Ninth Circuit court reversed and remanded, holding that the USDA had violated NEPA and directed the district court to determine whether injunctive relief was proper. That matter was decided at Citizens for Better Forestry v. U.S. Department of Agriculture 341 F.3d 961, 965 (9th Cir. 2003).

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