San Luis Unit Food Producers v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Administrative Law
  • Date Filed: 03-01-2013
  • Case #: 11-16122
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Trott for the Court; Circuit Judge Rawlinson and District Judge Block
  • Full Text Opinion

Administrative Procedure Act § 706(1) claims can proceed “only where a plaintiff asserts that an agency failed to take a discrete agency action that it is required to take” since “broad programmatic attacks on an agency’s administration of a program” are prohibited.

Farmers and farming entities (“Farmers”) that irrigate their land with water from the San Luis Unit of the Central Valley Project claimed that the United States Bureau of Reclamation (“the Bureau”) needed to provide the irrigation districts with more water than the Bureau was providing at the time. Absent a statute allowing judicial review of agency action, the APA provides for challenges to “final agency action,” which includes a “failure to act.” The Farmers alleged only that the Bureau failed to deliver enough water, which the Court regarded as a proper discretionary allocation, not a final agency action. The Court noted that a “failure to act” under the APA is “the failure of the agency to issue an agency rule, order, license, sanction or relief,” and that under § 706(1), judicial review “is properly understood to be limited…to a discrete action.” Specifically, the Court clarified that “broad programmatic attack[s] on an agency’s administration of a program are prohibited.” The Court held that absent final agency action or unlawfully withheld action, the Farmers’ claims were merely a broad attack on the Bureau’s operation of the Central Valley Project, which did not establish subject matter jurisdiction under the APA. AFFIRMED.

Advanced Search