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Sierra Club alleges Fish & Wildlife Service failed to timely review snake's endangered status

By Jenie Mallari-Torres | Feb 13, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) – A nonprofit organization is seeking a court to order a federal agency to complete a status review of an endangered snake.

Sierra Club filed a complaint on Jan. 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service citing the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). 

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges the defendant failed to timely conduct a five-year status review of the San Francisco garter snake's endangered status under the ESA. The suit states the last review was conducted in September 2006.

The plaintiff alleges it provided the defendant a notice of its intent to sue for the failure to timely conduct the review, and the defendant responded that a review was planned to begin in 2019. 

The plaintiff alleges when it requested records concerning the review schedule under the Freedom of Information Act, "USFWS provided no records nor an estimated completion date on which defendant would respond to the FOIA request."

The plaintiff holds US Fish & Wildlife Service responsible because the defendant allegedly violated the rights of plaintiff under the FOIA by failing to comply the FOIA's decision deadlines and by failing to conduct a review under the ESA.

The plaintiff seeks judgment against the defendant for declaratory and injunctive relief, costs, attorney's fees and further relief as the court may deem just. It is represented by Brian Gaffney of Law Offices of Brian Gaffney APC in Pacifica, California.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California case number 3:19-cv-00493

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