Monday, June 21, 2010

Monsanto v. Geertson

Injunction: permanent injunction: before a court may grant a permanent injunction, the plaintiff must satisfy a four-factor test, demonstrating: “(1) that it has suffered an irreparable injury; (2) that remedies available at law, such as monetary damages, are inadequate to compensate for that injury; (3) that, considering the balance of hardships between the plaintiff and defendant, a remedy in equity is warranted; and (4) that the public interest would not be disserved by a permanent injunction.” eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L. L. C., 547 U. S. 388, 391. This test fully applies in NEPA cases. See Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 555 U. S. ___, ___. Thus, the existence of a NEPA violation does not create a presumption that injunctive relief is available and should be granted absent unusual circumstances; none of the four factors supports the District Court’s order enjoining APHIS from partially deregulating RRA during the pendency of the EIS process. Most importantly, respondents cannot show that they will suffer irreparable injury if APHIS is allowed to proceed with any partial deregulation, for at least two reasons. First, if and when APHIS pursues a partial deregulation that arguably runs afoul of NEPA, respondents may file a new suit challenging such action and seeking appropriate preliminary relief. Accordingly, a permanent injunction is not now needed to guard against any present or imminent risk of likely irreparable harm. Second, a partial deregulation need not cause respondents any injury at all; if its scope is sufficiently limited, the risk of gene flow could be virtually nonexistent. Indeed, the broad injunction entered below essentially pre-empts the very procedure by which APHIS could determine, independently of the pending EIS process for assessing the effects of a complete deregulation, that a limited deregulation would not pose any appreciable risk of environmental harm; an injunction is a drastic and extraordinary remedy, which should not be granted as a matter of course. See, e.g., Weinberger v. Romero-Barcelo, 456 U. S. 305, 312. If, as respondents now concede, a less drastic remedy (such as partial or complete vacatur of APHIS’s deregulation decision) was sufficient to redress their injury, no recourse to the additional and extraordinary relief of an injunction was warranted (U.S.S.Ct., 21.06.10, Monsanto v. Geertson, J. Alito).

Injonction permanente ordonnée par un Tribunal : peut être accordée (il s’agit d’un remède « in equity ») seulement si quatre conditions sont remplies : (1) le requérant doit prouver qu’il a subi un dommage irréparable, (2) que les remèdes disponibles « at law », telles que des dommages-intérêts, sont inadéquats pour compenser le dommage subi, (3) qu’en considérant la balance des intérêts entre parties, un remède « in equity » est adéquat, (4) et que l’intérêt public ne sera pas lésé par une injonction permanente.
Une injonction permanente est également possible en cas de risque présent ou imminent de dommage irréparable probable.

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