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Case Name Public Citizen, Inc. v. Trump PR-DC-0002
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-00253 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Presidential Authority
Case Summary
On February 8, 2017, the plaintiffs-Public Citizen, Inc., Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., and Communications Workers of America-filed this lawsuit against President Trump, his cabinet, and the federal government in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs sought ... read more >
On February 8, 2017, the plaintiffs-Public Citizen, Inc., Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., and Communications Workers of America-filed this lawsuit against President Trump, his cabinet, and the federal government in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, requesting the court to declare Executive Order 13771 in violation of the Take Care Clause, in excess of presidential authority under Article II of the Constitution, an infringement on legislative authority, and invalid; to declare that the defendants cannot lawfully implement or comply with sections 2 and 3(a) and (d) of the executive order; to declare unlawful and set aside the Office of Management and Budget Interim Guidance and Guidance, and to enjoin the agency defendants from complying with Executive Order 13771. The plaintiffs consist of two national non-profit organizations focused on environmental and public health concerns, and an international labor union of workers in a wide variety of public sector positions in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

President Trump signed Executive Order 13711 on January 30, 2017. The Executive Order states that an agency must issue a new regulation only if it rescinds at least two existing regulations in order to offset the costs of the new regulation. Agencies must (1) identify at least two existing regulations to repeal for every new regulation proposed or issue, (2) offset the costs of a new regulation by eliminating costs associated with at least two existing regulations, and (3) promulgate regulations during fiscal year 2017 that, together with repealed regulations, have combined incremental costs of $0 or less, regardless of the benefits. The plaintiffs argue that such rules will harm the people of the United States, and that the decision making required by this order is arbitrary, capricious, and in violation of the statutes under which the agencies derive their rulemaking authority and the Administrative Procedure Act.

On April 21, 2017, the plaintiffs amended their complaint. On May 12, 2017, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss, and on May 15, 2017, the plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment. On February 26, 2018, District Judge Randolph D. Moss granted the defendants' motion to dismiss and denied the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. He found that the plaintiffs had failed to meet their burden of establishing their standing to sue. Specifically, Judge Moss found that the plaintiffs had failed to allege or show that any delay of the regulatory action attributable to the Executive Order would "substantially increase the risk" that any of their members would be harmed or that any of their members would face a "substantial probability" of harm. After so holding, he ordered the parties to appear before him on March 1, 2018 to address appropriate next steps, including whether the court should enter a final judgment.

On March 1, 2018, after the scheduled conference, Judge Moss ordered the plaintiffs to file a motion for leave to amend their complaint. On April 20, 2018, the plaintiffs filed their second amended complaint. On May 14, 2018, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the second amended complaint, while the plaintiffs filed a motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of their standing on June 4, 2018. On June 4, 2018, the states of California and Oregon filed a motion to intervene as plaintiffs, arguing that they had "unique interests in the health and well-being of their citizens, natural resources, infrastructure, institutions, and economies" which could not be adequately represented by the non-governmental plaintiffs in this case.

On February 8, 2019, Judge Moss denied the defendants' motion to dismiss and the plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment. He found that the plaintiffs had now met their burden of plausibly alleging that they had standing to sue through their second amended complaint, which was sufficient to survive the defendants' motion to dismiss. However, Judge Moss concluded that the plaintiffs had failed "to carry the more onerous burden applicable" for them to succeed on their summary judgment motion. In other words, the plaintiffs had "done enough to stay afloat but not enough to move forward." Judge Moss also denied California and Oregon's motion to intervene, finding the motion premature since the court's jurisdiction still remained in doubt due to the standing issue; however, he denied their motion without prejudice so that they could renew their motion to intervene if the court subsequently found that the plaintiffs had standing. 2019 WL 498528.

On March 22, 2019, the defendants filed their answer to the plaintiffs second amended complaint. The case is still ongoing.

Robert Carnes - 11/10/2017
Lisa Limb - 03/23/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. ยงยง 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) President Donald Trump
United States of America
United States of America
Plaintiff Description Two national non-profit organizations focused on environmental and public health concerns, and an international labor union of workers in a wide variety of public sector positions in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
1:17-cv-00253 (D.D.C.)
PR-DC-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/26/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
PR-DC-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/08/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 63] (297 F.Supp.3d 6) (D.D.C.)
PR-DC-0002-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/26/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 67]
PR-DC-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/20/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 85] (2019 WL 498528) (D.D.C.)
PR-DC-0002-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/08/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Moss, Randolph Daniel (D.D.C.) show/hide docs
PR-DC-0002-0003 | PR-DC-0002-0004 | PR-DC-0002-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Calemine, Guerino J. III (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PR-DC-0002-0001
Goldman, Patti A. (Washington) show/hide docs
PR-DC-0002-0001 | PR-DC-0002-9000
Nelson, Scott Lawrence (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PR-DC-0002-0001 | PR-DC-0002-0002 | PR-DC-0002-9000
Segal, Cecilia D. (California) show/hide docs
PR-DC-0002-0002
Sherman, Sean M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PR-DC-0002-0001 | PR-DC-0002-0002
Wall, Michael Edwin (California) show/hide docs
PR-DC-0002-0001 | PR-DC-0002-0002
Zieve, Allison Marcy (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PR-DC-0002-0001 | PR-DC-0002-0002 | PR-DC-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bensing, Daniel (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PR-DC-0002-9000
Drezner, Michael Leon (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PR-DC-0002-9000
Other Lawyers Lin, Elbert (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PR-DC-0002-9000

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