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West Coast Seafood Processors Assn. v. Natural Resources Defense Council

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20228
Nos. 09-16245, -16796, (9th Cir., 07/06/2011)

The Ninth Circuit held that a seafood processor association may not intervene in environmental groups' lawsuit challenging the National Marine Fisheries Service's program to preserve groundfish species off the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington. A lower court denied the association's motion as untimely. The association appealed, arguing that the lower court erred by basing its decision on the age of the litigation (eight years) rather than the time that had elapsed between the filing of groups' amended complaint and the motion to intervene (two days). While this appeal was pending, however, the underlying litigation ended. Their appeal, therefore, is moot. Contrary to arguments by the association, the "capable of repetition, yet evading review" exception to mootness does not apply. It is not reasonable to expect that this dispute about timeliness will arise again. Nor does the intervention controversy evade review since it is not "inherently limited in duration" nor "likely always to become moot."