San Francisco Herring Association v. United States Department of the Interior et al

Filing 146

ORDER GRANTING LEAVE TO FILE MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND by Judge Jon S. Tigar granting 140 Administrative Motion Requesting that the Court Comply with the Mandate by Dismissing Case Without Prejudice. (wsn, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/25/2017)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 SAN FRANCISCO HERRING ASSOCIATION, 7 8 Plaintiff, 9 v. ORDER GRANTING LEAVE TO FILE MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND Re: ECF No. 140 10 UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, et al., 11 United States District Court Northern District of California Case No. 13-cv-01750-JST Defendants. 12 13 Before the Court is Plaintiff‟s motion requesting dismissal without prejudice and leave to 14 15 file a motion for leave to amend. ECF No. 140. The Court will grant Plaintiff‟s motion. 16 I. BACKGROUND Plaintiff San Francisco Herring Association (“Plaintiff” or “SFHA”) appealed this Court‟s 17 18 order granting Defendants‟ motion for summary judgment, ECF No. 127.1 On March 17, 2017, 19 the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a memorandum opinion 20 concluding that this Court “lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the SFHA‟s complaint” because 21 Plaintiff failed to “establish that it is challenging some final agency action.” ECF No. 136 at 2-4. 22 The court also held that it “need not consider the doctrine of exhaustion, because the SFHA has 23 not identified any final agency action over which we have jurisdiction,” id. at 4, and further 24 concluded that, “[b]ecause the SFHA does not challenge a final agency action, we need not 25 1 26 27 28 Defendants are the United States Department of the Interior; Ryan Zinke, in his official capacity as Secretary of the Interior; National Park Service; Michael T. Reynolds, in his official capacity as Acting Director of the National Park Service; and Cicely Muldoon, in her official capacity as Acting General Superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Secretary Zinke, Acting Director Reynolds, and Acting General Superintendent Muldoon are substituted for their respective predecessors in office pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 25(d). 1 consider whether the case is ripe,” id. at 5. The court remanded the case “with instructions to 2 DISMISS for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.” Id. On July 12, 2017, the Ninth Circuit denied 3 Plaintiff‟s petition for panel rehearing and petition for panel rehearing en banc, ECF No. 139, and 4 the mandate issued on July 20, 2017, ECF No. 141. 5 Plaintiff filed an administrative motion requesting that the Court dismiss this case without 6 prejudice and allow Plaintiff an opportunity to move for leave to amend the complaint. ECF No. 7 140. The Court specially set a briefing schedule because, “[a]lthough Plaintiff characterized the 8 filing as an administrative motion under Local Rule 7-11, the motion requests substantive relief.” 9 ECF No. 143. Defendants filed a timely opposition, ECF No. 144, and Plaintiff filed a timely reply, ECF No. 145. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 II. LEGAL STANDARD When a case is remanded by the appellate court, the district court must “execute the terms 12 13 of a mandate” but is “free as to anything not foreclosed by the mandate, and, under certain 14 circumstances, an order issued after remand may deviate from the mandate if it is not counter to 15 the spirit of the circuit court‟s decision.” United States v. Kellington, 217 F.3d 1084, 1092-93 (9th 16 Cir. 2000) (internal citations, quotation marks, and alterations omitted). “[I]n construing a 17 mandate, the lower court may consider the opinion the mandate purports to enforce as well as the 18 procedural posture and substantive law from which it arises. . . . [T]he ultimate task is to 19 distinguish matters that have been decided on appeal, and are therefore beyond the jurisdiction of 20 the lower court, from matters that have not.” Id. at 1093 (citing In re Sanford Fork & Tool, 160 21 U.S. 247, 266 (1895)). 22 III. 23 DISCUSSION The Ninth Circuit remanded this case with instructions to dismiss for lack of subject matter 24 jurisdiction but was silent as to whether dismissal should be with or without leave to amend. The 25 opinion includes a statement that this Court “lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the SFHA’s 26 complaint,” ECF No. 136 at 2 (emphasis added), but it elsewhere states that, “the SFHA has not 27 identified any final agency action over which we have jurisdiction,” id. at 4, and “the SFHA does 28 not challenge a final agency action,” id. at 5. Defendants argue that these latter statements, 2 1 combined with the quantity of briefing on appeal and discussion at oral argument about whether 2 Plaintiff was challenging a final agency action, demonstrate that “[t]he Circuit determined that 3 SFHA‟s claim was factually deficient and therefore incurable on this record.” ECF No. 144 at 25. 4 But Defendants point to nothing in the record demonstrating that the Ninth Circuit considered 5 whether Plaintiff could allege facts constituting a final agency action, as opposed to whether 6 Plaintiff actually did allege such facts. 7 Likewise, the record does not establish that Plaintiff presented to the Ninth Circuit the 8 question of whether leave to amend should be granted. Matter of Beverly Hills Bancorp, 752 F.2d 9 1334 (9th Cir. 1984), on which Defendants rely, is therefore distinguishable. In that case, the Ninth Circuit remanded with instructions for the district court “to remand the case to the 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 bankruptcy court for the purpose of determining the proper interpretation of „interest earned‟” as 12 used in the settlement agreement. Id. at 1336. “Bancorp‟s Trustee petitioned [the Ninth Circuit] 13 for rehearing or in the alternative for clarification of the opinion to advise the bankruptcy court to 14 allow the Trustee to amend his pleadings to assert mutual mistake or fraud in the drafting of the 15 term „interest earned‟ in the Settlement Agreement.” Id. The court denied that petition. Id. The 16 Trustee nonetheless sought and was granted leave to amend by the bankruptcy court. Id. The 17 Ninth Circuit found error in the bankruptcy court‟s decision because it was inconsistent with the 18 mandate, “particularly in light of our denial of the Trustee‟s petition for rehearing or clarification.” 19 Id. at 1337-38. Here, by contrast, Plaintiff‟s petition for rehearing asserted that its complaint 20 alleged a final agency action, and Plaintiff at no time requested leave to amend or remand with 21 instructions to grant leave to amend. 9th Cir. Case No. 15-16214, ECF No. 61 at 3-6. 22 Accordingly, this Court cannot say that the propriety of granting leave to amend was 23 “decided on appeal.” Kellington, 217 F.3d at 1093. Plaintiff might well be unable to allege 24 sufficient facts giving rise to subject matter jurisdiction, but the Court will give Plaintiff an 25 opportunity to make its case by proposing specific amendments to the complaint in a motion for 26 leave to amend. Defendants remain free to argue in opposition to Plaintiff‟s motion that the 27 proposed amendments are foreclosed on the merits by the Ninth Circuit‟s opinion or that leave to 28 amend is otherwise futile. 3 1 CONCLUSION 2 Pursuant to the Ninth Circuit‟s instruction, this case is dismissed for lack of subject matter 3 jurisdiction. Dismissal is without prejudice to Plaintiff‟s filing a motion for leave to amend. Any 4 such motion must be filed on or before November 21, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. If Plaintiff does not file a 5 timely motion, the Clerk shall enter judgment and close the file. 6 7 8 9 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: October 25, 2017 ______________________________________ JON S. TIGAR United States District Judge 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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