Justia U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

By Justia Inc
Plaintiff filed suit against his former employer, Sears, alleging three disability discrimination claims under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Cal. Gov't Code 12940(a). On appeal, plaintiff challenged the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Sears. The court concluded that there are genuine issues of material fact regarding whether Sears terminated plaintiff because of his disability; that Sears declined to accommodate his disability; and that Sears did not engage in an interactive process to determine possible accommodation for his disability. In this case, plaintiff presented several state law claims that deserved trial and it should not take a whole lot of evidence to establish a genuine issue of material fact in a disability discrimination case, at least where the fact issue on discrimination is genuine and the disability would not preclude gainful employment of a person working with accommodation. Moreover, it is entirely besides the point that some of plaintiff's evidence was self-serving, as it will often be the case in a discrimination case that an employee has something to say about what company representatives said to him or her. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Nigro v. Sears, Roebuck and Co." on Justia Law

By Justia Inc
Plaintiff filed a putative class action against EquiTrust, alleging that EquiTrust's marketing of the sale of annuities violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, 18 U.S.C. 1962(c), and Arizona law. The district court granted EquiTrust's motion for summary judgment but declined to award costs. In this case, plaintiff's complaint is based entirely on the language of the annuity contract and the EquiTrust marketing materials. The district court found, and the court agreed, that there were no actionable predicate acts regarding the premium bonus, the market value adjustment, nor the nonforfeiture law. The court concluded, however, that the district court must explain a denial of an award of costs to the prevailing party. Because the district court failed to do so here, the court vacated the order denying costs and remanded for further proceedings. The court affirmed the grant of summary judgment. View "Harrington v. EquiTrust Life Ins." on Justia Law
By Justia Inc
Posted in: Insurance Law
Updated:

By Justia Inc
Petitioner seeks review of the BIA's order denying a motion to reopen on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel. Petitioner argued that counsel was ineffective for failing to seek cancellation of removal and for pursuing only adjustment of status. The court concluded that, even assuming inadequate performance by counsel, petitioner failed to make the necessary threshold showing that his claim for cancellation of removal was plausible. In this case, petitioner presented no argument or evidence tending to show exceptional or extremely unusual hardship to a qualifying relative, a requirement for relief under 8 U.S.C. 1229b(b)(1)(D). Accordingly, the court denied the petition. View "Martinez-Hernandez v. Holder" on Justia Law
By Justia Inc
Posted in: Immigration Law
Updated:

By Justia Inc
Plaintiff appealed the district court's affirmance of the Commissioner's denial of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, arguing that the ALJ failed to reconcile an apparent conflict between his residual functional capacity (RFC) and the reasoning requirements of the jobs identified by the ALJ. The ALJ found that plaintiff retains the RFC to perform simple, routine, or repetitive tasks and that plaintiff was not disabled because he is still able to perform two occupations: cashier and surveillance system monitor. These occupations require the ability to perform Level 3 Reasoning on the Department of Labor's General Education Development scale. The court agreed with plaintiff's argument and held that there is an apparent conflict between plaintiff's limitation to simple, routine, or repetitive tasks and the demands of Level 3 Reasoning. The court reversed and remanded for further proceedings because the ALJ failed to reconcile this apparent conflict. View "Zavalin v. Colvin" on Justia Law
By Justia Inc
Posted in: Public Benefits
Updated:

By Justia Inc
Hope Road, an entity owned by Bob Marley's children, granted Zion an exclusive license to design, manufacture, and sell t-shirts and other merchandise bearing Marley's image. Hope Road and Zion filed suit against multiple defendants who were involved in the sale of competing Marley merchandise, alleging claims arising from defendants' use of Marley's likeness. The court concluded that the district court did not err by denying defendants' post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law on the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a), false endorsement claim where defendants waived several defenses to plaintiffs' claims by failing to properly raise them in the district court; the district court did not abuse its broad discretion in determining the profits for Defendants A.V.E.L.A., Freeze, and Jem where there was sufficient evidence to find Freeze willfully infringed plaintiffs' rights because Freeze's vice president of licensing testified that she knew that plaintiffs had the right to merchandising Marley's image before Freeze began selling similar goods; the Seventh Amendment does not require that a jury calculate these profits because juries have not traditionally done so, and a claim for profit disgorgement is equitable in nature; the district court did not abuse its discretion by ordering A.V.E.L.A. defendants to pay attorneys' fees; the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants on the right of publicity claim; there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's finding that A.V.E.L.A. defendants interfered with prospective economic advantage; and the district court did not err in granting defendants' motion for judgment as a matter of law on the issue of punitive damages. View "Fifty-Six Hope Road Music v. A.V.E.L.A." on Justia Law

By Justia Inc
Plaintiff filed suit against Nordstrom, alleging that it had violated California Labor Code sections 551 and 552 by failing to provide him with one day's rest on seven of three occasions. The court certified the following three questions to the California Supreme Court: (1) California Labor Code section 551 provides that “[e]very person employed in any occupation of labor is entitled to one day’s rest therefrom in seven.” Is the required day of rest calculated by the workweek, or is it calculated on a rolling basis for any consecutive seven-day period? (2) California Labor Code section 556 exempts employers from providing such a day of rest “when the total hours of employment do not exceed 30 hours in any week or six hours in any one day thereof.” Does that exemption apply when an employee works less than six hours in any one day of the applicable week, or does it apply only when an employee works less than six hours in each day of the week? (2) California Labor Code section 552 provides that an employer may not “cause his employees to work more than six days in seven.” What does it mean for an employer to “cause” an employee to work more than six days in seven: force, coerce, pressure, schedule, encourage, reward, permit, or something else? View "Mendoza v. Nordstrom" on Justia Law

By Justia Inc
Plaintiff, a paraplegic who uses a wheelchair to move in public, filed suit against BB&B under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 2000a(b), for purported architectural barriers that plaintiff claimed impeded his ability to fully use the store. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the district court's grant of summary judgment to BB&B. The court concluded that the district court did not err in concluding that the ADA does not require wall space within the maneuvering clearance next to the frame of a restroom door that must be pulled open. The court also concluded that the district court did not err in ruling that, because the door lacked a "latch" within the meaning of standards governing ADA compliance, no maneuvering space was required next to the frame of a restroom door that must be pushed open. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Kohler v. Bed Bath & Beyond" on Justia Law

By Justia Inc
Debtor appealed from the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel's decision affirming the bankruptcy court's dismissal of her voluntary Chapter 12 petition. The court affirmed the dismissal of debtor's petition because her "aggregate debts" exceeded $3,792,650, the statutory limitation for Chapter 12 eligibility in effect at the time debtor filed her petition pursuant to 11 U.S.C. 101(18)(A). The court concluded that a creditor's claims remains a "debt" so long as it is enforceable against either the debtor or the debtor's property. Accordingly, the debtor's "aggregate debts" include the amount of that claim, even after a prior discharge from personal liability under Chapter 7. In this case, debtor's schedules lists claims totaling $4.1 million, which is above the cap for Chapter 12 eligibility in effect at the time of her petition. View "Davis v. U.S. Bank" on Justia Law
By Justia Inc
Posted in: Bankruptcy
Updated:

By Justia Inc
Petitioner, a native and citizen of Mexico, appealed the BIA's decision finding that his conviction for weapons possession, enhanced for sentencing purposes for gang activity, constituted a crime of moral turpitude. The court held that petitioner's sentence enhancement under California Penal Code 186.22(b)(1) does not categorically elevate a crime to a crime involving moral turpitude because the offense of weapons possession with a gang enhancement has none of the characteristics of moral turpitude the court has identified, and because California cases demonstrate that there is a realistic probability, not just a theoretical possibility, that California does in fact apply the gang enhancement that does not involve moral turpitude. Therefore, a conviction under California's gang enhancement statute does not change the crime of moral turpitude status of the predicate offense. The court held that application of the gang enhancement under section 186.22(b)(1) does not render petitioner's conviction for weapons possession under California Penal Code 12020 a crime of moral turpitude. Accordingly, the court granted the petition for review and remanded for further proceedings. View "Hernandez-Gonzalez v. Holder" on Justia Law

By Justia Inc
The FTC and the State filed suit alleging that the 2012 merger of two health care providers in Nampa, Idaho violated section 7 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. 18, and state law. The district court found that the merger violated section 7 and ordered divestiture. The court affirmed the judgment, concluding that the district court's determination that Nampa was the relevant geographic market was supported by the record; the district court did not clearly err in holding that plaintiffs established a prima facie case that the merger will probably lead to anticompetitive effects in the market; and defendant failed to rebut the prima facie case by demonstrating that efficiencies resulting from the merger would have a positive effect on competition. Therefore, in this case, the district court did not abuse its discretion in choosing divestiture. View "St. Alphonsus Med. Ctr. v. St. Luke's Health Sys." on Justia Law