Citizens for Balanced Use v. Fish, Wildlife & Parks Comm’nAnnotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed claims against the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission (FWP) for violating their rights to know and participate under Sections 8 and 9, Article II, of the Montana Constitution by, among other things, failing to provide prior public notice and opportunity to participate in FWP’s decision to close certain areas to wolf hunting during a meeting. The district court issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting FWP from further enforcing its decision. Thereafter, the Legislature acted to ban these types of closures in the future, and the FWP ultimately allowed the wolf season to expire on its own. Subsequently, the court granted FWP’s motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims as moot. The court then awarded attorney’s fees and costs to Plaintiffs after determining that it had prevailed on its constitutional claims by obtaining the preliminary injunction. The Supreme Court affirmed the award of attorney’s fees and costs to Plaintiffs, holding that because Plaintiffs obtained the relief they sought to procure through litigation, they must be considered a “prevailing party” under the relevant statute.