Wildearth Guardians v. Zinke et al
ORDER re consolidation. Show Cause Response due by 11/29/2017. Signed by Judge Dana L. Christensen on 11/13/2017. (ASG)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA
WILDEARTH GUARDIANS, a nonprofit organization,
NOV 13 2017
Clerk, U.S Diatrict Court
District Of Montana
RYAN ZINKE, as Secretary of the
Department of the Interior; UNITED
STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE
INTERIOR, a federal department; GREG
SHEEHAN, as acting director of the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service; and the
UNITED STATES FISH AND
WILDLIFE SERVICE, a federal agency,
STATE OF WYOMING,
Before the Court are five cases involving the delisting of the Greater
Yellowstone ecosystem grizzly bear ("GYE grizzly bear") from the Federal List of
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife under the Endangered Species Act ("ESA"):
Crow Indian Tribe et al. v. United States ofAmerica et al., CV 17-89-M-DLC;
Humane Soc '.Y of the US. et al. v. US. Fish & Wildlife Serv. et al., CV
17-117-M-DLC; Wildearth Guardians v. Zinke et al., CV 17-118-M-DLC; N.
Cheyenne Tribe et al. v. Zinke et al., CV 17-119-M-DLC; and All. for the Wild
Rockies et al. v. Zinke et al., CV 17-123-M-DLC. These cases appear to involve
common questions of law or fact.
Rule 42 (a) provides that:
If actions before the court involve a common question of law or fact,
the court may:
(1) join for hearing or trial any or all matters at issue in the
(2) consolidate the actions; or
(3) issue any other orders to avoid unnecessary cost or delay.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 42(a). The purpose of Rule 42(a) "is to give the court broad
discretion to decide how cases on its docket are to be tried so that the business of
the court may be dispatched with expedition and economy while providing justice
to the parties." Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, § 2381
(1971). In exercising this discretion, a court should weigh the time and effort
consolidation would save with any inconvenience or delay it would cause. Huene
v. United States, 743 F.2d 703, 704 (9th Cir. 1984).
Common questions of law and fact are present in these cases. First, all
cases allege violations of the ESA and Administrative Procedure Act. Second, all
causes of action arise from the same factual situation; namely, the delisting of the
GYE grizzly bear from the endangered species list. In addition, all cases identify
the United States Department of the Interior as a defendant. Furthermore, all cases
seek similar relief from this Court; specifically, that the United States Fish and
Wildlife Service's 2017 Final Rule regarding the GYE grizzly bear be vacated.
This case is therefore particularly appropriate for consolidation. The Court is
inclined to consolidate these cases under Rule 42(a) for purposes of briefing and
oral argument, but will retain their separate characters and issue a separate
judgment in each case.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that the parties shall show cause as to why
these five cases should not be consolidated under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
42(a). The parties shall file their responses to this Order no later than November
29, 2017. The responses shall comply with Local Rule 7 and shall not exceed 8
pages with 14-point proportional font.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that in the event all parties in all five cases
agree to consolidation, the parties shall coordinate amongst themselves and no
later than November 29, 2017, propose procedures regarding briefing, with the
Court having an interest in not receiving the same briefs on the same subject. The
parties shall also propose a briefing schedule.
DATED this I 3 .ff.,day of November,
Dana L. Christensen, Chief Judge
United States District Court
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