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Tillett v. Bureau of Land Management

United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division

April 11, 2017

JERRI JOETTE TILLETT, Plaintiff,
v.
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, INTERIOR BOARD OF LANDS APPEALS, and DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Defendants.

          ORDER ADOPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          SUSAN P. WATTERS United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Jerri Joette Tillett brought this action seeking to stop alleged ongoing malfeasance by Defendants Bureau of Land Management ("BLM"), Interior Board of Land Appeals ("IBLA"), and Department of the Interior ("DOI") (collectively, "Defendants"), with respect to the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range ("PMWHR"). Specifically, Tillett seeks to prevent the Defendants from implementing a prescribed burn in the PMWHR "for at least this fall schedule, in the year 2016." (Doc. 1-1 at 23). Tillett also seeks to prevent the Defendants from the "utilization of poisons on the PMWHR." (Doc. 10 at 2).

         Pending before the Court are United States Magistrate Judge Timothy Cavan's Findings and Recommendations on Tillett's Motion for Preliminary Injunction. (Doc. 17). Judge Cavan recommends that this Court deny Tillett's Motion for Preliminary Injunction because she is unlikely to succeed on the merits and is unlikely to suffer irreparable harm. (Doc. 17 at 6-7). Tillett filed timely objections to the Findings and Recommendations. (Doc. 23).

         I. Statement of facts

         Tillett does not object to the Statement of Facts contained in Judge Cavan's Findings and Recommendations. Judge Cavan's Statement of Fact are therefore adopted in full.

         II. Applicable law

         A. Standard of review A district court reviews de novo any part of a Magistrate Judge's Findings and Recommendations to which there has been proper objections. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3).

         B. Preliminary injunction

         "A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy." Munafv. Geren, 553 U.S. 674, 689 (2008) (quotations omitted). To obtain a preliminary injunction, a plaintiff must show that: (1) she is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) she is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief; (3) the balance of equities tips in her favor; and (4) an injunction is in the public interest. Winter v. Nat. Resources Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008).

         III. Discussion

         Judge Cavan recommends denying Tillett's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction for two reasons. First, Judge Cavan recommends Tillett will not suffer irreparable harm before the Court can issue a decision on the merits because the earliest the prescribed burn will take place is September 2017. (Doc. 17 at 6). Second, Judge Cavan recommends Tillett is unlikely to succeed on the merits of her poisons claim because this Court already decided the issue of poisons in the PMWHR adversely to Tillett. (Doc. 17 at 7 (citing Tillett v. BLM, et ai, CV 14-73-BLG-SPW (D. Mont. (Doc. 35 at 15))).

         Tillett objects. First, Tillett argues the Defendants cannot be trusted to delay implementation of the prescribed burn. (Doc. 23 at 6). Second, Tillett argues the Court's prior order was based on lies by the Defendants. (Doc. 23 at 7). The Court agrees with Judge Cavan.

         A. Tillett has not shown she will likely suffer irreparable harm before the Court can issue a decision on the merits

         The mere possibility of irreparable harm is insufficient to justify an injunction. Herb Reed Enterprises, LLC v. Florida Entertainment Management,Inc., 736 F.3d 1239, 1249 (9th Cir. 2013). Instead, a party seeking a preliminary injunction must ...


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