Archives for December 2012

Letter from DOI and Salazar to the Lunnys

DBOC Interior PDF

CoA NLRB Report and Letter to DOJ

121207 CoA letter to DOJ & NLRB Report

KTVU: POINT REYES: Oyster company files lawsuit over lease [VIDEO]

POINT REYES: Oyster company files lawsuit over lease with park….

The owner of Drakes Bay Oyster Company was vowing to stay open, having filed a lawsuit challenging the National Park Service decision to allow the 40-year lease to expire.

Drakes Bay Oyster Company and Cause of Action take on the Department of the Interior

We represent Drakes Bay Oyster Company; a small, family-run, sustainable oyster farm located in Point Reyes National Park. It’s been forty years since the National Park Service first issued a use permit for farming on the land, and now Ken Salazar has decided not to renew the permit to the Lunny family—but this family, this community and this nation isn’t going down that easily.

On Monday, Cause of Action, Soel Rives LLP, and SSL Law Firm LLP filed suit in the US District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco. The lawsuit was brought against the US Department of the Interior, the National Parks Service, NPS Director John Jarvis, and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

What does it mean for the Lunnys? As Kevin Lunny said recently, “We’re not going to walk away…We’re fighting for our community, our employees, and our family.”

For the community? It means a loss of sustainable, locally grown food source—one that supplies 40% of the oysters to bay-area restaurants. It also means the destruction of 30 jobs, the loss in potential profits from rising oyster costs as well as a widening gap in the local-food chain.

For the nation? If Salazar, like others in the president’s cabinet, can continue to break laws without repercussion, then you be the judge: what does that mean for our nation?

For more on the developments of the Lunnys story and Cause of Action’s part in the fight, check out our newsroom.


As of May 24, 2013, Cause of Action no longer represents Drakes Bay Oyster Company, the Lunny family, or Dr. Corey Goodman and will be withdrawing as counsel from the litigation.

San Francisco Chronicle: Drakes Bay Oyster Co. sues feds in fight over farm

Owner of Drakes Bay Oyster Company

Read the full story here. SF Gate

“If allowed to stand, Secretary Salazar’s decision will terminate 31 full-time jobs, deprive 15 employees of affordable housing, hijack a property right of the State of California and permanently tear the fabric of a rural community,” stated the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco and made public Tuesday by the Washington D.C. nonprofit group, Cause of Action.

The suit asks the court to overturn the decision and allow the oyster farm owner, Kevin Lunny and his family, to be reimbursed for damages and allowed to continue harvesting oysters at least until another environmental report is completed and approved.

Salazar decided not to renew Lunny’s lease because, he said, the park service had made a commitment in 1972 to turn the 2,500-acre inlet into the first marine wilderness on the West Coast. Even though Salazar’s decision was not based on the oyster farm’s alleged impacts on the environment, lawyers for Cause of Action claim a rider inserted by Sen. Dianne Feinstein in an appropriations bill required him to consider the issue.

Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle / SF

LA Times: Point Reyes oyster farmer threatens to sue park service

Read the full story here. Los Angeles Times

“There was little chance that Lunny would accept Salazar’s ruling, and this week the Washington, D.C.-based government accountability group Cause of Action announced its intention to sue the National Park Service on Lunny’s behalf.

Executive director Dan Epstein said, “We aim to hold the National Park Service accountable for their treatment of the Lunny family and the Drakes Bay Oyster Company as we view their actions as a disregard for law and precedent that demands accountability.”

In a statement, Lunny said that his “dedicated small family farm” had been “steam rolled” by the federal government and that he was suing in order to look out for the “welfare of our community. “He and his supporters have claimed that park scientists manipulated science as a pretext to removing the commercial operation from the park and converting the land to wilderness, as Congress intended…”

Press Release: Drakes Bay Oyster Company Files Lawsuit Against Government



National Park Service, Interior Department, Secretary Salazar All Named in Lawsuit Over Shut-Down of Bay Area Family Farm

SAN FRANCISCO – Drakes Bay Oyster Company (DBOC) and owner Kevin Lunny filed a lawsuit on Monday, December 3 in response to the decision from Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar to not authorize a special use permit to DBOC on National Park Service (NPS) land that has been home to the Drakes Bay Oyster Company for years.

Cause of Action, a nonprofit government accountability group, along with Stoel Rives, LLP and SSL Law Firm, LLP are representing DBOC in its fight against the decision from Secretary Salazar on several legal claims.

The lawsuit is being filed against:

  • The National Park Service,
  • Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar,
  • The Department of the Interior,
  • NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis,
  • and various NPS employees.

The key components of the lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California’s District Court include the following allegations:

  • Defendants failed to comply with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).
  • Defendants violated the Data Quality Act and the APA by publishing and using scientifically flawed and false information as part of the decisionmaking process for DBOC’s Special Use Permit (SUP) application.
  • Defendants violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  • Defendants violated the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  • NPS employees interfered with the agency’s lawfully required procedures by providing misleading and false information to decisionmakers and the public.

Cause of Action’s Executive Director Dan Epstein offered this comment on the lawsuit:

“Cause of Action is committed to ensuring that federal agency decision-making that can affect economic prosperity in the United States is held to the scrutiny of public accountability. This is why we refuse to let the NPS and Secretary Salazar get away with exerting power that destroys a business and a community under the guise of authorized discretion.

A federal agency is not constitutionally empowered to repeatedly use false scientific data, in contradiction of its own policies, to misrepresent the behaviors of a local family business.”

The complaint can be found here.

To schedule an interview with Dan Epstein, Cause of Action’s Executive Director, or Kevin Lunny, owner of Drakes Bay Oyster Company, contact Mary Beth Hutchins,  202-400-2721 or Jamie Morris,, at 202-499-4232.