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California v. Kleppe

Citation: 9 ELR 20617
No. No. 76-2807, 601 F.2d 603/13 ERC 1381/(9th Cir., 07/09/1979)

The court affirms the district court's dismissal, based on res judicata, of a suit challenging sales of oil and gas leases on the outer continental shelf (OCS) off southern California. In 1974, appellant sought to block appellees' accelerated OCS development program, particularly Lease Sale No. 35, on grounds of noncompliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. After failing in the first lawsuit, appellant challenged Lease Sale No. 35 again, asserting claims under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Upholding the lower court's decision that the issue of the validity of the lease sale was decided in the prior lawsuit, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals holds that the two lawsuits involved the same "cause of action" for res judicata purposes, even though violations of different statutes were alleged. All underlying grounds of the second suit were available and should have been raised in the first action.

Counsel for Appellant
Anita Rund, Deputy Attorney General
800 Tishman Bldg., 3580 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angels CA 90010
(213) 736-2304

Counsel for Appellees
Jacques B. Gelin, Deputy Solicitor
Department of the Interior, Washington DC 20240
(202) 343-5985

Philip Verleger
McCutchen, Black, Verleger & Shea
3435 Wilshire Blvd., 30th floor, Los Angeles CA 90010
(213) 381-3411

Merrill and Hug, JJ. and Bohanon,* D.J.