United States Ninth Circuit

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Institution of Cetacean Research v. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, 12-35266

In suit brought under the Alien Tort Statute, by Japanese researchers who hunt whales alleging piracy against defendants, orders denying injunction and dismissing piracy claims are reversed and remanded, where the district court: 1) erred in dismissing plaintiff's piracy claims because the activities that plaintiff alleges defendant has engaged in are clear instances of violent acts for private ends, the very embodiment of piracy; 2) abused its discretion in denying the injunction because a) plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits, b) defendant's dangerous acts if committed often enough, will inevitably lead to harm, which could easily be irreparable, c) the balance of equities favors plaintiff, and d) there is a strong public interest in the health of the marine ecosystem and the safety of international waterways; and 3) abused its discretion in denying the injunction based on unclean hands.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 02/26/2013
  • Published 02/26/2013




  • United States Ninth Circuit