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

By
Kaass Law challenged the district court's grant of Wells Fargo's motion for sanctions against it under 28 U.S.C. 1927. The district court ruled that “Kaass Law acted in bad faith by knowingly raising frivolous arguments against Wells Fargo and other defendants[.]” The court reversed and vacated the district court's order, holding that section 1927 does not permit the imposition of sanctions against a law firm. View "Kaass Law v. Wells Fargo" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated:

By
Plaintiff filed suit challenging the Board's denial of plaintiff's application for fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), 5 U.S.C. 504(b)(1)(C)(i). The EAJA entitles those who prevail on a legal claim against the U.S. government to an award of fees and costs, but only if they prevail in adversary adjudications. Specifically excluded from this category are proceedings “for the purpose of granting or renewing a license.” The court held that a hearing under the Mining Claims Rights Restoration Act of 1955, 30 U.S.C. 621–625, does not fall within the EAJA's definition of an adversary adjudication because such a hearing is held for the purpose of granting a license. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Eno v. Jewell" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated:

By
Petitioner, a native and citizen of El Salvador, petitioned for review of the BIA's affirmance of the IJ's denial of his application for deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture. The BIA held that petitioner had not established a likelihood that he would be tortured upon his return to El Salvador, or that its government would perpetrate or turn a blind eye to the torture. The court concluded that substantial evidence supported the BIA’s denial of relief on the ground that defendant’s individual characteristics, being deported from a richer country and bearing non-gang tattoos, failed to establish a probability of torture upon his return to El Salvador. Accordingly, the court denied the petition. View "Andrade v. Lynch" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated:

By
Defendant, during his time at the Anchorage Correctional Complex, repeatedly sexually assaulted other prisoners. Defendant was convicted of four counts of aggravated sexual abuse in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2241 and three counts of abusive sexual contact in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2244. The court concluded that 18 U.S.C. 2241, 2242, and 2244 are not facially unconstitutional; they are “a ‘necessary and proper’ means of exercising the federal authority that permits Congress to create federal criminal laws, to punish their violation, to imprison violators, to provide appropriately for those imprisoned, and to maintain the security of those who are not imprisoned but who may be affected by the federal imprisonment of others.” 18 U.S.C. 2241, 2242, and 2244 are plainly constitutional as applied to an individual in federal custody who is being held in a state facility pursuant to a contract with a federal agency. The court held that in prosecutions under 18 U.S.C. 2241, 2242, and 2244, the district court may determine as a matter of law whether the facility at which the alleged crime took place is one “in which persons are held in custody by direction of or pursuant to a contract or agreement with the head of any Federal department or agency.” Accordingly, the court affirmed the convictions. View "United States v. Mujahid" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated:

By
Plaintiffs, four groups of individuals, hold separate judgments obtained in U.S. courts against the Republic of Iran, based on various terrorist attacks that occurred between 1990 and 2002. The state-sponsored exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. 1330, abrogated a foreign sovereign's immunity from judgment, but not its immunity from collection. Thus, terrorism victims had a right without a meaningful remedy. Section 201(a) of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), Pub L. No. 107-297, 201(a), and 28 U.S.C. 1610(g) addressed this loophole. Section 201 allowed victims to satisfy such judgments through attachment of blocked assets of terrorist parties and Section 1610(g) extended the TRIA’s abrogation of asset immunity to funds that were not blocked. The court agreed with the Second Circuit that it is “clear beyond cavil that Section 201(a) of the TRIA provides courts with subject matter jurisdiction over post-judgment execution and attachment proceedings against property held in the hands of an instrumentality of the judgment-debtor, even if the instrumentality is not itself named in the judgment.” Further, section 1610(g) makes unmistakably clear that whether or not an instrumentality is an alter ego is irrelevant to determining whether its assets are attachable. Therefore, section 201 of the TRIA and section 1610(g) permit victims of terrorism to collect money they’re owed from instrumentalities of the state that sponsored the attacks. Nothing in the text of the FSIA, Rule 19 or the Supreme Court’s retroactivity cases compels a different result. The district court correctly denied Bank Melli’s motion to dismiss and the court affirmed the judgment. View "Bennett v. Bank Melli" on Justia Law

By
Guam taxpayers filed a class action suit against Guam and its officers, alleging that Guam violated the tax provisions of the Organic Act of Guam, 48 U.S.C. 1421i, by failing timely to refund overpayments, and, via a claim brought under 42 U.S.C. 1983, the taxpayers also challenged the arbitrary expedited refund program as a violation of equal protection. The district court granted summary judgment to the taxpayers on both claims, entered a permanent injunction both ending the expedited refund program and requiring Guam to pay approved refunds in a timely manner, and awarded substantial attorney’s fees and costs. The court concluded that Guam's section 1983 arguments did not implicate subject matter jurisdiction, but nonetheless, the court exercised its discretion in considering Guam's section 1983 arguments; the official-capacity defendants in this case are “persons” within the meaning of section 1983 for purposes of prospective relief; even if the territorial officials had been obliged by federal law to institute the arbitrary expedited refund process - which they most certainly were not - they were empowered to act only in their capacities as territorial officers; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in requiring that Guam pay refunds within six months once Guam determines that the requests are valid and not subject to investigation or audit. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Paeste v. Government of Guam" on Justia Law

By
After Plaintiffs Frank O’Connell and Francisco Carrillo were wrongfully imprisoned for decades, they filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the police investigators involved in their respective cases, arguing in part that the officers failed to disclose evidence that would have cast serious doubt on the testimony of key prosecution witnesses. The district court denied judgment on the pleadings in O’Connell’s case and summary judgment in Carrillo’s case. The court concluded that the law at the time of the investigations clearly established that police officers had to disclose material, exculpatory evidence under Brady. The court also concluded that any reasonable officer would have understood that Brady required the disclosure of the specific evidence allegedly withheld. Accordingly, the court affirmed the denials of qualified immunity and remanded these cases to the district court for further proceedings. View "Carillo, Jr. v. Los Angeles" on Justia Law

By
Defendants challenged a policy in which judges of the Southern District of California have deferred to the recommendation of the United States Marshals to place pretrial detainees in full shackle restraints for most appearances before a judge, including arraignments, unless a judge specifically requests the restraints be removed in a particular case. The court held that a full restraint policy ought to be justified by a commensurate need. It cannot rest primarily on the economic strain of the jailer to provide adequate safeguards. The court reiterated that it recognized in United States v. Howard that such a policy must be adopted with “adequate justification of its necessity.” In this case, the Southern District has failed to provide adequate justification for its restrictive shackling policy. Therefore, the court vacated the district court's orders and remanded. View "United States v. Sanchez-Gomez" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated:

By
Plaintiffs, a putative class, filed suit alleging that Guitar Center and the manufacturer defendants, as well as NAMM, conspired to implement and enforce minimum-advertised-price policies (MAP policies) that fixed the minimum price at which any retailer could advertise the manufacturers’ guitars and guitar amplifiers. Plaintiffs claimed that these MAP policies tended to raise retail prices and restrain competition in violation of section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1. Plaintiffs allege that each manufacturer agreed with Guitar Center to adopt MAP policies and that the manufacturers agreed among themselves to adopt the MAP policies proposed by Guitar Center. The district court granted defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and dismissed with prejudice. At issue was whether plaintiffs have pleaded sufficient facts to provide a plausible basis from which the court can infer the alleged agreements’ existence. Because plaintiffs lack direct evidence of horizontal agreements among the manufacturers, they plead that defendant manufacturers’ parallel conduct in adopting MAP policies, in conjunction with several “plus factors,” plausibly suggests the existence of horizontal agreements. The court concluded that plaintiffs have indeed provided a context for the manufacturers’ adoption of MAP policies, but not one that plausibly suggests they entered into illegal horizontal agreements. Accordingly, plaintiffs failed to state a claim under section 1 and the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Ramsey v. NAMM" on Justia Law

By
Defendants are Anthony Pelicano, Mark Arneson, Rayford Turner, Abner Nicherie, Kevin Kachikian, and Terry Christensen. Defendants appealed their convictions for crimes stemming from a widespread criminal enterprise offering illegal private investigation services in Southern California. Defendants raised numerous issues on appeal. The court vacated Turner’s conviction for aiding and abetting computer fraud, Arneson’s convictions for computer fraud and unauthorized computer access, and Pellicano’s convictions for aiding and abetting both computer fraud and unauthorized computer access; the court also vacated Nicherie’s conviction for aiding and abetting a wire interception; the court affirmed the remaining convictions, including the RICO convictions of Pellicano, Arneson, and Turner for operating PIA’s criminal enterprise, Christensen’s convictions based on hiring that enterprise to illegally wiretap Lisa Bonder, and Kachikian’s convictions for his role in PIA’s wiretapping; the court vacated the sentences imposed on defendants whose convictions were vacated in part-Pellicano, Arneson, and Turner-and remanded for resentencing on their remaining, affirmed convictions; and the court remanded for further proceedings on the vacated counts of conviction, including the possibility of retrial, as may be appropriate, on those charges. View "United States v. Christensen" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated: