Appealed from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (June 24, 2009)
Oral argument: April 27, 2010
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF, NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT, GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CROPS
In 2005, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“APHIS”) deregulated RRA, a genetically engineered alfalfa seed developed by Petitioner Monsanto. Respondent Geertson Seed Farm, a grower of conventional alfalfa, alleged that APHIS violated the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) by not conducting an environmental impact statement (“EIS”) before deregulating RRA. A district court found a NEPA violation and enjoined all future use of RRA until AHPIS completed its EIS. The Ninth Circuit affirmed. Monsanto challenges the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, arguing that the standard the district court employed to grant the injunction erroneously equated the NEPA violation with the likelihood of irreparable harm. Geertson maintains that the standard used was correct and that they demonstrated a likelihood of irreparable harm should RRA enter widespread use without further agency review. The Supreme Court’s decision will clarify the standard plaintiffs must meet in order to enjoin federal action that violates NEPA.