United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
L. ROBART United States District Judge
the court is Defendants Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
("SSCS") and Paul Watson's (collectively,
"Defendants") motion to clarify the scope of the
permanent injunction. (Mot. (Dkt. # 352); see also
Perm. Inj. (Dkt. # 346).) Plaintiffs The Institute of
Cetacean Research ("the Institute"), Kyodo Senpaku
Kaisha, Ltd., and Tomoyuki Ogawa (collectively,
"Plaintiffs") oppose the motion as unripe and, even
if ripe, lacking merit. (Resp. (Dkt. # 354).) The court has
considered the parties' briefing, the relevant portions
of the record, and the applicable law. Considering itself
fully advised,  the court GRANTS in part and DENIES in
part the motion and clarifies the injunction as follows.
Moby Dick, this whaling epic will apparently never
end. On August 22, 2016, following nearly five years of
litigation, the parties jointly moved for the entry of a
negotiated permanent injunction that resolved all live
claims. (Stip. Inj. (Dkt. # 343); Prop. Order (Dkt. # 344).)
The next day, the court entered the parties' negotiated
permanent injunction and terminated this case. (Perm. Inj. at
1-3.) Pursuant to the parties' stipulated motion, the
Defendants and any party acting in concert with them are
permanently enjoined from physically attacking any vessel
engaged by Plaintiffs in the Southern Ocean or from
navigating in a manner that is likely to endanger the safe
navigation of any such vessel. In no event shall Defendants
or any party acting in concert with them approach Plaintiffs
any closer than 500 yards when Defendants are navigating on
the open sea.
Defendants and any party acting in concert with them are also
permanently enjoined from providing any money or property for
the purposes of funding any physical attacks on any vessel
engaged by Plaintiffs in the Southern Ocean or any person on
any such vessel, any navigation in a manner that is likely to
endanger the safe navigation of any such vessel, or any
approach of any such vessel closer than 500 yards in the open
sea, including through any entity that is a part of the
worldwide "Sea Shepherd" movement and/or uses or
has used some version of the "Sea Shepherd" name.
On the stipulation of the parties, Defendants are also
permanently enjoined from expending, directly or indirectly,
any part of the settlement consideration to be paid to Sea
Shepherd Conservation Society in the settlement of this
action to fund acts enjoined herein as against not only
Plaintiffs but those same acts as against third parties
anywhere in the world.
(Id. at 2.) The court also dismissed all live claims
and counterclaims, ordered each party to bear its own costs
and attorneys' fees, ordered the parties to provide
notice of the injunction to the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals, and retained jurisdiction to enforce compliance with
the permanent injunction. (Id. at 3.)
interpret Plaintiffs' recent actions to suggest an actual
or imminent "attempt to enforce an interpretation of the
Permanent Injunction that goes far beyond its terms."
(Mot. at 1.) On October 12, 2016, Plaintiffs sent a letter to
third-party PayPal, Inc., that suggests PayPal may be held in
contempt for "acting in concert with" Defendants.
(Davis Decl. (Dkt. # 353) ¶ 2, Ex. 1 at 2.) In response,
PayPal indicated that it had frozen three accounts that it
determined were related to Defendants. (Id. ¶
3, Ex. 2 at 1.) Plaintiffs have submitted similar letters to
other financial institutions. (Id. ¶ 1.) In
addition, Defendants sought confirmation from Plaintiffs that
certain activities do not violate the injunction.
(Id. ¶ 5, Ex. 4 at 1-2.) Plaintiffs did not
directly respond to Defendants' requests for
clarification, but instead indicated that they intend to
"wait and see what unfolds." (Id. ¶
6, Ex. 5 at 2.) Plaintiffs clarified that they "intend
to take all steps necessary to ensure full and faithful
compliance with the letter and spirit of the"
prior proceedings, the Ninth Circuit sanctioned Defendants
for violating the preliminary injunction in part because they
self-servingly interpreted the injunction without
"seek[ing] clarification of their obligations, "
despite having "every opportunity" to do so.
Inst, of Cetacean Research v. Sea Shepherd Conservation
Soc'y (Cetacean II), 114 F.3d 935, 954 (9th Cir.
2014). In light of the Ninth Circuit's admonishment and
Plaintiffs' unwillingness to clarify their position on
Defendants' planned actions, Defendants now ask the court
to clarify the scope of the injunction. (See Mot.)
Specifically, Defendants ask the court to confirm that the
following actions "would not constitute, or be evidence
of, a violation" of the injunction:
1. Discussing the actions of foreign Sea Shepherd
entities on social media and other public
2. Communicating with foreign Sea Shepherd entities, as long
as Defendants do not thus direct, incite, or control enjoined
3. Partnering with foreign Sea Shepherd entities on
campaigns, income-generating activities and other projects
unrelated to, and kept separate from, Southern ...