Legal Action Update, October 2002

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* MONTANA WILDERNESS ASSOC. vs. U.S.F.S. (U.S. District Court - Montana & 9th Circuit)--No change. Briefing has been completed and the case will be assigned to a three--judge panel who will decide how to resolve the case, including deciding whether to hear oral argument.

* SOUTHERN UTAH WILDERNESS ALLIANCE vs. NORTON (U.S. District Court - No change. Utah & 10th Circuit)--On August 29, 2002, a three--judge panel with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision. Circuit Judge Ebel, writing for the majority, determined that the district court had improperly analyzed SUWA's claims and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings. Under the majority's view, the district court must consider the merits of SUWA's claim that OHV use is illegally causing "impairment" to BLM Wilderness Study Areas and adversely affecting other BLM areas. Circuit Judge McKay penned a strong dissent, disagreeing with the majority and characterizing the majority opinion as an "unwarranted and unsupported decision to judicially expand 'jurisdiction in a way never envisioned by any other court or Congress.'" The Recreationists intend to seek panel rehearing and/or en banc review. If these efforts are successful the same panel or all active judges in the 10th Circuit will reconsider the majority's decision.

* FRIENDS OF BLACK SANDS BEACH vs. POOL (U.S. District Court - ED California)--No change. The parties will meet again via telephone on November 18, 2002, to revisit scheduling and possible settlement issues. The litigation schedule remains "on hold."

* HEARTWOOD vs. USFS (U.S. District Court - S.Dist. of Illinois & 7th Circuit) --No change. Oral argument on Heartwood's interlocutory appeal was held on November 28, 2001, in Chicago, and the appeal remains under advisement.

* ISMA vs. NORTON (Yellowstone National Park) (U.S. District Court - Wyoming)--The parties have agreed to modify their stipulated schedule for analysis of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. Originally, a decision was to be issued on or before November 15, 2002. Under the new schedule, a final decision will be released in March, 2003.

* KOOTENAI TRIBE, ET AL. vs. GLICKMAN (ROADLESS II) (U.S. District Court - Idaho & 9th Circuit)-- No change. Argument was held on the Idaho Conservation League, et al. appeal on October 15, 2001. No decision has been issued on the appeal. Judge Lodge has stayed all proceedings in the district court cases pending this decision from the Ninth Circuit.

* USFS REGION 1 "40 INCH RULE" LITIGATION (U.S. District Court - Montana)- At the Court's direction, the parties have conducted additional discussions following the July 8th argument to address procedural issues. These discussions have resulted in apparent agreements regarding the physical status of "improvements" in the Fish Lake area and an agreement by the Plaintiffs to dismiss Count III of their complaint, which focused on the Clearwater Forest's 1995 OHV update. A recent telephone conference with counsel and Court staff suggests that the Court may order supplemental briefing on key issues.

* SUWA VS. BLM (Interior Board of Land Appeals - UT) --No change. SUWA has not filed any further response(s) requested in the Interior Board of Land Appeals' March 26, 2002, decision denying SUWA's Petition for Stay.

* USA-ALL VS. CARPENTER (U.S. District Court - Utah)--The parties continue to address discovery and administrative record issues.

* CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY vs. BLM (U.S. District Court - Northern California)--This case challenging BLM OHV management in southern California is in its initial stages. The OHV plaintiffs, including BlueRibbon, are represented by David Hubbard of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch, San Diego, CA.

* SHAWNEE TRAIL CONSERVANCY vs. STARKEY (U.S. District Court - Southern District of Illinois)--On August 30, 2002, the Court issued a scheduling order in this case. The Forest Service must submit the administrative record on or before October 1, 2002. Summary judgment motions, which will likely resolve the case, are presently due on February 7, 2003.

* CENTER FOR SIERRA NEVADA CONSERVATION vs. BERRY (U.S. District Court - Eastern California)--The parties are presently reviewing vehicle route maps generated by the Forest Service. We anticipate additional meetings between the parties to determine whether settlement can be reached. The parties have agreed to provide the Court with a status update sometime in October.

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