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Reversal of Denial of Preliminary Injunction in Environmental Matter

By FindLaw Staff on July 28, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Cottrell, No. 09-35756, involved plaintiff's appeal from the denial of its motion for a preliminary injunction.  The court of appeals reversed on the grounds that 1) the "serious questions" version of the sliding scale test for preliminary injunctions remains viable after the Supreme Court's decision in Winter; and 2) plaintiff showed that there was a likelihood of irreparable harm; that there were at least serious questions on the merits concerning the validity of the Forest Service's Emergency Situation Determination; that the balance of hardships tips sharply in its favor; and that the public interest favors a preliminary injunction.

As the court wrote:  "Alliance for the Wild Rockies ("AWR") appeals the district court's denial of its motion for a preliminary injunction. AWR seeks to enjoin a timber salvage sale proposed by the United States Forest Service. Citing Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, 129 S. Ct. 365 (2008), the district court held that AWR had not shown the requisite likelihood of irreparable injury and success on the merits. After hearing oral argument, we issued an order reversing the district court and directing it to issue the preliminary injunction. Alliance for Wild Rockies v. Cottrell, No. 09-35756, 2010 WL 2640287 (9th Cir. June 24, 2010). In this opinion, we now set forth the reasons for our reversal, and we take this opportunity to clarify an aspect of the post-Winter standard for a preliminary injunction."

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