On Friday, November 13, 2015 Cause of Action filed an amicus brief in United States v. Sierra Pacific Industries, Inc. (9th Cir. No. 15-15779), otherwise known as the “Moonlight Fire” case.  That case involves a joint state and federal investigation of a California forest fire, followed by civil litigation in state and federal court against the allegedly responsible parties.  Over the course of the litigation, the defendants uncovered evidence of extraordinary abuses by the investigators and prosecutors, including improper financial interests, concealment of exculpatory evidence, and misrepresentation of evidence.  Defendants argued that prosecutors of the United States government have a special duty to seek the truth and disclose the facts.  The district court disagreed, reasoning that the government only has such a duty in criminal cases, and never in civil cases — even ones where, like here, the government seeks over $1 billion in fines and threatens defendants with financial ruin.

Cause of Action’s brief discussed why the government has special obligations not just in criminal cases, but in all cases, and how those obligations include the duty to present exculpatory evidence, speak truthfully, and avoid financial bias.  The United States’s response brief is still to be filed.

Read full brief here