Eno v. Jewell

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Administrative Law
  • Date Filed: 08-27-2015
  • Case #: 13-15166
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge McKeown for the Court; Circuit Judges Friedland and Murguia
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the Equal Access to Justice Act, any grant of permission from the United States government is a license, regardless of form, and does not qualify as an adversary adjudication allowing the recovery of attorneys’ fees and expenses.

Donald Eno acquired a placer mining claim in Plumas County, California. The former owner, Gordon Burton, had previously filed a notice of location and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) noticed a meeting. Meanwhile, but before Eno’s purchase, all mining operations on the mining claim were suspended. The BLM restricted all mining on the mining claim. Eno requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to obtain permission to mine his claim. The ALJ granted Eno’s permission to engage in placer mining. Eno then sought an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that under the EAJA, any grant of permission from the United States government is a license, regardless of form, and does not qualify as an adversary adjudication allowing the recovery of attorneys’ fees and expenses. Here, because Eno was merely seeking permission to placer mine his claim, the issue was one of licensing and not an adversary adjudication. Therefore, Eno is not entitled to any fee and expense awards. AFFIRMED.

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