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Buckley v. City of Redding

filed: September 13, 1995.

PATRICK BUCKLEY; PERSONAL WATERCRAFT, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
CITY OF REDDING, CALIFORNIA, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. D.C. No. CV-93-00963-EJG. Edward J. Garcia, District Judge, Presiding. Original Opinion Previously Reported at:,.

Before: Procter Hug, Jr., Arthur L. Alarcon, and Stephen S. Trott, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge Hug.

Author: Hug

Order AND AMENDED OPINION

HUG, Circuit Judge:

In this case, we must determine whether the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act ("the Act"), 16 U.S.C. §§ 777-777k, confers a right enforceable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to access certain waterways for specified recreational purposes. We hold that the Act does confer rights enforceable under section 1983 and, accordingly, reverse the district court's decision to the contrary.

FACTS

The City of Redding, California, is located on the Sacramento River. In 1990, in response to a citizen petition, the City passed Ordinance No. 1944, prohibiting the operation of personal watercraft in the Sacramento River. See Redding Mun. Code § 10.26.040. The ordinance defines personal watercraft as:

any motorized vessel which has an internal combustion engine powering a water-jet pump or a fully-covered propeller chamber as its primary source of motor propulsion, and which is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on the vessel rather than the conventional manner of sitting or standing inside the vessel. The term shall include those vessels commonly known as "Jet Skis," "Wet Bikes," "Surf Jets," and "Sea Doo."

Redding Mun. Code § 10.26.020(B).

In 1990, the State received funds under the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act to help construct a boat launch facility on the river at South Bonnyview Road. To receive this funding, the state assented to the regulations and provisions of the Act. 50 C.F.R. § 80.3. The Act imposes a number of requirements upon fund recipients to further the purposes of the Act. 50 C.F.R. § 80.24 states that at least ten percent of the funds allocated to a state under the Act must be used "for recreational boating access facilities." This regulation further states:

All facilities constructed, acquired, developed, renovated, or maintained . . . must be for the purpose of providing additional, improved, or safer access of public waters for boating recreation as part of the State's effort for the restoration, management, and public use of sport fish. Though a broad range of access facilities and associated amenities can qualify under the 10 percent provision, power boats with common horsepower ratings must be accommodated, and, in addition, the State must make reasonable efforts to accommodate boats with larger horsepower ratings if they would not conflict with aquatic resources management.

50 C.F.R. § 80.24 (emphasis added).

Patrick Buckley and the Personal Watercraft Industry Association ("PWIA") filed suit in state court arguing that the City's restriction of the Sacramento River violated the Act by unfairly singling out personal watercraft for differential treatment.*fn1 The state court denied the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and the action was later dismissed voluntarily. Buckley and the PWIA then filed the present action in federal district court seeking to enforce this provision of the Act via 42 U.S.C. § 1983.*fn2 The district court refused to exercise pendent jurisdiction over the related state law claims and dismissed the plaintiffs' action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. The district court held that the ...


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