Description: Action seeking judicial declaration that Colorado River ecosystem is a "person" possessing rights.
Colorado River Ecosystem v. State of Colorado
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 12/04/2017 Order Download Plaintiff's motion to dismiss case with prejudice granted. Colorado Federal Court Dismissed Case That Sought Recognition of Colorado River Ecosystem’s Legal Personhood and Rights. On December 4, 2017, the federal district court for the District of Colorado granted a motion by plaintiff “Colorado River Ecoystem” to dismiss with prejudice the lawsuit seeking recognition of the Colorado River Ecosystem’s status as a “person” possessing rights and a declaration that actions of the State of Colorado violated those rights. The plaintiff’s motion to dismiss stated that the complaint “represented a good faith attempt to introduce the Rights of Nature doctrine to our jurisprudence” and that counsel for the plaintiff “continues to believe that the doctrine provides American courts with a pragmatic and workable tool for addressing environmental degradation and the current issues facing the Colorado River.” 12/03/2017 Motion to Dismiss Download Unopposed motion to dismiss amended complaint with prejudice filed by plaintiff. 12/01/2017 Motion to Dismiss Download Motion to dismiss filed by defendants. 11/06/2017 Complaint Download Amended complaint filed. 09/25/2017 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Lawsuit Filed Against State of Colorado Seeking Declaration That Colorado River Ecosystem Is “Person” Possessing Rights to Flourish. A social and environmental justice organization and five of its members filed a lawsuit as “next friends” for and guardians of the Colorado River Ecosystem against the State of Colorado. The complaint sought declaratory relief, including declarations that the Colorado River Ecosystem is a “person” capable of possessing rights and possesses “rights to exist, flourish, regenerate, be restored, and naturally evolve.” The complaint also asked for a declaration that certain activities carried out or permitted by the State of Colorado may violate those rights and that the plaintiffs could proceed to seek injunctive relief. The complaint, filed in the federal district court for the District of Colorado, alleged that climate change was among the threats faced by the river.