Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Ass'n des Eleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec v. Harris

United States District Court, C.D. California

January 7, 2015

ASSOCIATION DES É LEVEURS DE CANARDS ET D'OIES DU QUÉ BEC, a Canadian nonprofit corporation; HVFG LLC, a New York limited liability company; and HOT'S RESTAURANT GROUP, INC., a California corporation., Plaintiffs,
v.
KAMALA D. HARRIS, in her official capacity as Attorney General of California; et al., Defendants

Page 1137

For Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d Oies du Quebec, a Canadian nonprofit corporation, HVFG LLC, a New York limited liability company, Hots Restaurant Group Inc, a California corporation, Gauge Outfitters Inc, Plaintiffs: Michael A Tenenbaum, The Tenenbaum Law Firm, Santa Monica, CA.

For Kamala J Harris, in her official capacity as Attorney General of California, Edmund G Brown, in his official capacity as Governor of California, State of California, the, Defendants: Constance Lynn LeLouis, Stephanie F Zook, CAAG - Office of Attorney General, Sacramento, CA; Peter H Chang, CAAG - Office of the Attorney General, San Francisco, CA.

For Animal Protection and Rescue League, Amicus: Bryan W Pease, Law Offices of Bryan W Pease, San Diego, CA; David R Simon, David R Simon Law Offices, Santa Ana, CA.

For Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, The Humane Society of the United States, Inc., Marin Humane Society, Intervenors: Arnab Banerjee, Melissa Grant, Capstone Law APC, Los Angeles, CA; Jeremy B Esterkin, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, Los Angeles, CA; Tiffany R Hedgpeth, Bingham McCutchen LLP, Los Angeles, CA.

Page 1138

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS [116] AND GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT AS TO PREEMPTION CLAIM [117] AND PARTIAL JUDGMENT AS TO PREEMPTION CLAIM

STEPHEN V. WILSON, United States District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This action for declaratory and injunctive relief touches upon a topic impacting gourmands' stomaches and animal-rights activists' hearts: foie gras. Plaintiffs Association des É leveurs de Canards et D'Oies du Qué bec (the " Canadian Farmers" ), HVFG LLC (" Hudson Valley" ), and Hot's Restaurant Group, Inc. (" Hot's" )[1] argue that California's sales ban on liver from force-fed birds, Cal. Health & Safety Code § 25982, runs afoul of federal law and the Constitution. Plaintiffs assert, inter alia, that the Poultry Products Inspection Act (" PPIA" ), 21 U.S.C. § § 451-470, preempts § 25982. This issue boils down to one question: whether a sales ban on products containing a constituent that was produced in a particular manner is an " ingredient requirement" under the PPIA.

Presently before this Court are Defendant's motion to dismiss, (Dkt. 116), and Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment as to their preemption claim, (Dkt. 118). For the reasons discussed below, this Court GRANTS Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment and DENIES Defendant's motion to dismiss.

II. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The Canadian Farmers and Hudson Valley produce foie gras--a delicacy made from fattened duck liver. (Second Amended Complaint (" SAC" ) ¶ ¶ 12-13.) Hot's operates a restaurant in California that formerly sold foie gras products. (SAC ¶ 14.) Plaintiffs' foie gras products are produced using gavage --a method of feeding a bird through a tube inserted in its esophagus. See (SAC ¶ ¶ 44, 80.)

California Health and Safety Code § 25982 was enacted as part of a statutory

Page 1139

scheme aimed at the practice of force feeding birds. Section 25981, which is not at issue in this case, prohibits force feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging its liver. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 25981. Section 25982 reinforces this ban by prohibiting the sale in California of products that are " the result of force feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird's liver beyond normal size." [2] Cal. Health & Safety Code § 25982. Section 25980(b) defines " force feeding" as " a process that causes the bird to consume more food than a typical bird of the same species would consume voluntarily." Cal. Health & Safety Code § 25980. It states that " [f]orce feeding methods include, but are not limited to, delivering feed through a tube or other device inserted into the bird's esophagus." ( Id.)

Plaintiffs assert that § 25982 has caused them to lose millions of dollars worth of foie gras product sales in California. (SAC ¶ ¶ 86-88.) They further assert that the District Attorneys of Los Angeles, Santa Clara, and Monterey Counties threatened to prosecute Hudson Valley and at least two out-of-state distributors of Plaintiffs' foie gras products for violating § 25982 by selling foie gras products from outside California to California consumers. (SAC ¶ 89.)

Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on July 2, 2012--the day after § 25982 became operative. (Dkt. 1.) On September 28, 2012, this Court denied Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction because Plaintiffs failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits of their vagueness or commerce clause challenges. (Dkt. 87: Order at 11-28.) The Court also rejected defendant Kamala Harris's (" Harris" ) contentions that the Eleventh Amendment barred Plaintiffs' suit and that the case was not ripe.

On appeal, the Ninth Circuit affirmed this Court's determination that Harris is not entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. Association des É leveurs de Canards et D'Oies du Qué bec v. Harris, 729 F.3d 937, 943 (9th Cir. 2013). The Ninth Circuit stated in dicta that instead of asserting Eleventh Amendment immunity, " a state official who contends that he or she will not enforce the law may challenge plaintiff's Article III standing based on an 'unripe controversy'" --an argument not then before that Court. Id. at 944. The Ninth Circuit also held that § 25982's scope was limited to liver products produced as a result of force feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging its liver. Id. at 945-46. Finally, the Ninth Circuit affirmed this Court's holding that Plaintiffs failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits of their due process and commerce clause claims. Id. at 946-53.

On April 2, 2014, Plaintiffs filed their SAC. (Dkt. 112.) Plaintiffs' SAC asserts claims for: (1) declaratory relief regarding the application of § 25982 to imports of foie gras products where the commercial sale of such products takes place and title passes outside of the state of California; (2) declaratory relief that § 25982 is preempted by the PPIA; (3) declaratory relief that § 25982 violates the Commerce Clause because it is an extraterritorial regulation; and (4) declaratory relief that § 25982 violates the Commerce Clause because its substantial burden on interstate commerce exceeds its putative local benefits.[3] (Dkt. 112.)

Page 1140

III. DISCUSSION

A. JUSTICIABILITY

Defendant argues that the Court should dismiss Plaintiffs' case under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) because Plaintiffs lack Article III standing, because the case is not ripe, and because it fails to present a " case of actual controversy" as required by the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201.[4]

1. Legal Standard Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1)

A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) challenges the Court's subject matter jurisdiction to hear the claims alleged. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). A Rule 12(b)(1) motion may be asserted either as a facial challenge to the complaint or a factual challenge. Safe Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2004). In a facial challenge, the moving party asserts that the allegations contained in the complaint are insufficient on their face to invoke federal jurisdiction. Id.; Warren v. Fox Family Worldwide, Inc., 328 F.3d 1136, 1139 (9th Cir. 2003). When reviewing a facial challenge, the court is limited to the allegations in the complaint, the documents attached thereto, and judicially noticeable facts. Gould Electronics, Inc. v. United States, 220 F.3d 169, 176 (3rd Cir. 2000). The court must accept the factual allegations as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Id.

Regardless of the type of motion asserted under Rule 12(b)(1), the plaintiff always bears the burden of showing that federal jurisdiction is proper. See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375, 376-78, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 128 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994); Valdez v. United States, 837 F.Supp. 1065, 1067 (E.D. Cal. 1993), aff'd 56 F.3d 1177 (9th Cir. 1995). " In effect, the court presumes lack of jurisdiction until plaintiff proves otherwise." Schwarzer, Tashima & Wagstaffe, California Practice Guide: Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial § 9:77.10 (Rutter Group 2011) (citing, inter alia, Stock West, Inc. v. Confederated Tribes, 873 F.2d 1221, 1225 (9th Cir. 1989)) (emphasis in original). " The proponents of subject-matter jurisdiction bear the burden of establishing its existence by a preponderance of the evidence." Remington Lodging & Hospitality, LLC v. Ahearn, 749 F.Supp.2d 951, 955-956 (D. Alaska 2010) (citing United States ex rel. Harshman v. Alcan Elec. & Eng'g, Inc., 197 F.3d 1014, 1018 (9th Cir. 1999)).

2. Legal Standard Under Article ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.