- Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
- Area(s) of Law: Wildlife Law
- Date Filed: 09-28-2022
- Case #: 21-35480
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Hawkins, J. for the Court; McKeown, J.; & Sanchez, J.
- Full Text Opinion
Plaintiffs Save the Bull Trout, Friends of the Wild Swan, and Alliance for the Wild Rockies (“Friends”) initiated a new action challenging the legality of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“Service”) 2015 Bull Trout Recovery Plan. Friends appealed the Montana district court decision awarding summary judgment to Service. On appeal, Friends argued that there was not a final judgment on the merits in Oregon district court. In response, Service argued claim preclusion. Claim preclusion applies where “the earlier suit (1) involved the same ‘claim’ or cause of action as the later suit, (2) reached a final judgment on the merits, and (3) involved identical parties or privies.” Mpoyo v. Litton Electro-Optical Sys., 430 F.3d 985, 987 (9th Cir. 2005). The Court reasoned that Save the Bull Trout was in privity with Friends of the Wild Swan and Alliance for the Wild Rockies, the parties in the prior Oregon action, because they share the common interest of wildlife and habitat conservation, and brought the identical claim as in the Oregon litigation. The Court held that Oregon’s dismissal for failure to state a claim constituted a final judgment on the merits, and claim preclusion applied when Friends failed to amend their original complaint. Affirmed.