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Anchustegui v. Department of Agric.

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20802
Nos. No. 99-35755, 257 F.3d 1124/(9th Cir., 07/17/2001)

The court reverses a district court decision granting summary judgment in favor of the U.S. Forest Service and held that the agency violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when it cancelled an individual's grazing permit. The individual received a letter citing various permit violations and requiring the individual to show cause as to why his permit should not be cancelled. When the individual failed to show cause by the letter's deadline, the Forest Service cancelled the permit. The court first holds that the cancellation of the individual's grazing permit was not valid. The APA requires written notice and an opportunity to demonstrate or achieve compliance before the institution of agency proceedings. Here, however, the show cause letter stated that "permit action is warranted." The Forest Service therefore instituted agency proceedings against the individual without prior written notice and an opportunity to demonstrate compliance. The court also holds that because the Forest Service did not find that the individual's conduct was willful and the record does not establish that it was, the APA's exception for willful conduct is not applicable in this case.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Joanne P. Rodriguez, Ass't U.S. Attorney
U.S. Attorney's Office
First Interstate Center
877 W. Main St., Ste. 201, Boise ID 83702
(208) 334-1211

Counsel for Defendant
Daniel V. Steenson
Ringert Clark Chartered
455 S. Third Ave., Boise ID 83702
(208) 342-4591

Wood,1 J. Before Trott and Paez, JJ.