NRDC V. County of Los Angeles, No. 15-55562 (9th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed suit against the County Defendants in 2008, alleging that the County Defendants were discharging polluted stormwater in violation of the terms of their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, issued pursuant to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (the Clean Water Act), 33 U.S.C.1251 et seq. The court held in 2013 that as a matter of law, the County Defendants had violated their permit. In 2012, during the pendency of appellate proceedings, the County Defendants sought and received a new NPDES permit from the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (the Regional Board), which now governs the County Defendants’ stormwater discharges. In January 2015, the County Defendants filed a motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ entire lawsuit on mootness grounds, arguing that the 2012 Permit supplanted the 2001 Permit and therefore relief was not available to plaintiffs. Plaintiffs filed an interlocutory appeal from the district court's dismissal of their claims for injunctive relief. The court held that it has jurisdiction over the appeal under 28 U.S.C. 1292(a)(1). The court also held that plaintiffs' injunctive claims are not moot because the County Defendants are still subject to receiving water limitations, which are substantially the same as the limitations in the 2001 Permit. The County Defendants have not met their burden of making it “absolutely clear” that no violation will recur in the future. Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment.