Friends of Animals v. Bernhardt, No. 19-5147 (D.C. Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Appellants, conservative organizations and a safari guide, filed suit challenging the Service's actions governing the import of sport-hunted animal trophies from Africa. Initially, appellants challenged certain findings the Service made, the Service then withdrew some findings following the outcome of a similar case, and then the Service announced that in the future it would proceed by informal adjudication.
The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's rejection of appellants' claims on appeal, holding that appellants' challenges to the 2017 Zimbabwe findings are moot because the March Memo had already eliminated their legal effects. The court rejected appellants' challenges to the March Memo's withdrawal of more than twenty prior enhancements and on-detriment findings, and held that the district court's approach of evaluating the effect of each withdrawal in the March Memo individually was proper under the circumstances. Finally, the court rejected appellants' argument that it was unlawful for the Service to announce it would proceed in the future to implement the Endangered Species Act through informal adjudication.