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Exxon Corp. v. Fischer

Citation: 17 ELR 20416
No. No. 85-6572, 817 F.2d 1429/25 ERC 1489/(9th Cir., 01/07/1987) Rev'd

The court holds that the Secretary of Commerce's dismissal of an oil company's appeal of the California Coastal Commission's consistency objection under § 307 of the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) to the company's outer continental shelf oil exploration plan estops the oil company from challenging the validity of the Commission's objection in a collateral judicial proceeding. The court first holds that the Eleventh Amendment does not bar federal jurisdiction, since the oil company's claim that the Commission's consistency objection violated the CZMA raises a question of federal law. The court then holds that the oil company is precluded from raising its challenge to the Commission's objection because it already did so before the Secretary of Commerce. The court holds that the Secretary's decision should be given preclusive effect because the Secretary acted in a judicial capacity, the issue of whether the Commission's objection was proper under the CZMA was actually litigated before the Secretary, and a finding on this issue was necessary to the Secretary's decision.

[The district court decision is published at 17 ELR 20286.]

Counsel are listed at 17 ELR 20287.

Before Wallace and Boochever, JJ.