Month: June 2020
1. In a #Hawaii USDC case where plaintiff is challenging @GovHawaii’s power to impose restrictions to stop #Covid19, a @POTUS @RealDonaldTrump appointed judge denies Barr’s @TheJusticeDept’s bullying attempt to take control of the case. Link to minute order. @maddow
EO: After reviewing the United States’ and the parties’ responses, ECF Nos. 28-30, the Court will disregard the United States’ Statement of Interest in deciding Plaintiffs’ Application for Temporary Restraining Order and for Order to Show Cause Why Preliminary Injunction Should not Issue. The Statement of Interest amounts to an attempt by the United States to amend the Complaint in a case where it is not a plaintiff, as evidenced by its suggestion that the Court could compel Plaintiffs to amend the Complaint so it aligns with the Statement of Interest. Neither the United States nor Plaintiffs cite any instance where a court considered a statement of interest requesting relief on a claim that the plaintiff(s) did not present in the complaint and/or as a basis for emergency relief. Plaintiffs argue that the Statement of Interest appropriately discusses the Privileges and Immunities Clause as part of the right to travel, but the cases they rely on are inapposite. United States ex rel. Johnson v. Golden Gate Nat’l Senior Care, LLC, No. 08-CV-1194 (DWF/HB), 2016 WL 11031222, at *1 (D. Minn. June 1, 2016), addressed the government’s Motion for Leave to File Statement of Interest in Response to Defendants’ Memorandum in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment and “recognize[d] the unique status of the United States in False Claim Act (“FCA”) actions… [in which] [c]ourts are particularly concerned with the peculiar posture of the United States in declined FCA cases.” Id. (citations omitted); see also id. (quoting United States ex rel. McCready v. Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., 251 F. Supp. 2d 114, 11920 (D.D.C. 2003) (“noting that the ‘United States did not act improperly in submitting a statement carefully crafted to avoid involvement in the factual issues of this declined case and designed solely to protect its interests’ where the purely legal statement of interest assisted the court ‘in acting in the broader context of FCA jurisprudence.'”)). Plaintiffs additionally rely on the concurrence in Republic of Austria v. Altmann, 541 U.S. 677 (2004), for the proposition that a statement of interest may include other grounds for dismissal, including “superior alternative and exclusive remedies.” Id. at 714 (Breyer, J. & Souter, J., concurring). But offering additional bases for dismissal is incomparable to seeking an extraordinary remedy, see Winter v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008), on grounds not articulated by Plaintiffs.
When the United States has filed statements of interest in COVID-related cases, none sought to expand the scope of relief requested by the plaintiff(s), and the Court is unaware of any (nor has the United States pointed to any) that are analogous to the circumstances here.
The United States contends that the Local Rules set briefing limitations for parties. Non-parties, like the United States, are subject to the same rules as all other litigants who appear before the Court. If the United States continues to maintain an interest in this case, it will be expected to abide by all applicable rules, including the Local Rules.
(JUDGE JILL A. OTAKE)(otake1)