Ollier v. Sweetwater Union High Sch. Dist.

Plaintiffs filed a class action against Sweetwater, alleging unlawful sex discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), 20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq. Plaintiffs alleged that Sweetwater intentionally discriminated against female student athletes when they failed to provide equal treatment and benefits as compared to male athletes. On appeal, Sweetwater challenged the district court's grant of declaratory and injunctive relief to plaintiffs on their Title IX claims. The court concluded that Sweetwater has not fully and effectively accommodated the interests and abilities of its female athletes; the district court did not err in its award of summary judgment to plaintiffs on their Title IX unequal participation claim; and the court affirmed the grant of injunctive relief to plaintiffs on that issue. The court rejected Sweetwater's claims of evidentiary errors; the district court's ruling that plaintiffs have Article III standing and its decision to deny Sweetwater's motion to strike that claim were not error; plaintiffs stated a prima facie case of Title IX retaliation; the district court correctly could find that a coach was fired in retaliation for plaintiffs' Title IX complaints, not for any of the pretextual, non-retaliatory reasons that Sweetwater has offered; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting permanent injunctive relief to plaintiffs on their claims. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment and rejected Sweetwater's attempt to relitigate the merits of its case. View "Ollier v. Sweetwater Union High Sch. Dist." on Justia Law

The Boeing Co. v. Raphael

This case arose from California's decision to extend its control to cleanup of radioactive pollutants (Senate Bill 990). Boeing filed suit challenging the validity of SB 990, which controlled cleanup of the Santa Susanna Laboratory grounds. The district court agreed with Boeing that the federal government had preempted the field of regulation of nuclear safety, and alternatively that clean up of radioactive materials at the Santa Susanna site is a federal activity. California appealed. The court concluded that Boeing had standing where it could clearly demonstrate an injury in fact; SB 990 violates intergovernmental immunity and is invalid under the Supremacy Clause because the activities of the federal government are free from regulation by any state and state laws are invalid if they regulate the United States directly or discriminate against the federal government or those with whom it deals; the court agreed with the district court that the terms of SB 990 are unseverable; and the court declined to construe SB 990 as limited to non-radioactive cleanup. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "The Boeing Co. v. Raphael" on Justia Law

Gomez v. Campbell-Ewald Co.

Plaintiff filed suit on behalf of himself and a putative class, alleging claims under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 42 U.S.C. 227(b)(1)(A)(iii), that Campbell-Ewald instructed or allowed a third-party vendor to send unsolicited text messages on behalf of the Navy, with whom Campbell-Ewald had a marketing contract. The district court granted summary judgment to Campbell-Ewald under the doctrine of derivative sovereign immunity. The court rejected Campbell-Ewald's claim that the personal and putative class claims were mooted by petitioner's refusal to accept the settlement offer; Campbell-Ewald's constitutional claims were unavailing where the company relied upon a flawed application of First Amendment principles; the TCPA imposes vicarious liability where an agency relationship, as defined by federal common law, is established between the defendant and a third-party caller; and the application of the doctrine of derivative sovereign immunity is inapplicable in this case. Because Campbell-Ewald failed to demonstrate that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "Gomez v. Campbell-Ewald Co." on Justia Law


In consolidated appeals, two groups challenged the BPA's decision to forgo refunds after the court invalidated three sets of contractual arrangements in which BPA agreed to subsidize certain longtime industrial customers rather than sell them power directly. The court held that these subsidy arrangements were unreasonable and were contrary to BPA's authority. The court remanded to BPA regarding whether it could or should seek refunds of the improper subsidies. BPA concluded that it was contractually barred from seeking refunds as to some of the invalidated contracts; it had no legal or equitable basis for seeking refunds as to the others; and if it did pursue recovery of the subsidies, it might become mired in counterproductive, protracted litigation. Petitioners' core argument is that their power costs have been impermissibly raised by BPA's decision because, if BPA did seek refunds of the subsidies, it could pass the recovered funds to its customers as lower rates. The court rejected petitioners' contention that BPA has a duty, under either the Constitution's Appropriations Clause or BPA's governing statutes, to seek all refunds to which it may be entitled. The court concluded that BPA's decisions in most respects sufficiently and reasonably balanced its competing obligations to merit the court's deference, except in one respect. The court denied the petition for review with regard to the decision not to seek refunds with respect to the 2007 Block Contracts and the Port Townsend Contract. The court granted the petition and remanded to BPA for further proceedings with regard to recovery of subsidies paid under the Alcoa Amendment. View "ICNU v. BPA" on Justia Law

United States v. Garcia

Defendant was convicted of using a pipe bomb to damage a vehicle and apartment building in violation of 18 U.S.C. 844(i). On appeal, defendant challenged his conviction. Applying Russell v. United States and United States v. Gomez, the court concluded that there was sufficient evidence to satisfy Russell's per se rule that all rental property affects commerce sufficiently enough to warrant federal jurisdiction under section 844(i). In this case, the apartments were leased, the apartment building was advertised on the internet, and many of its residents were from out of state. Further, the apartment building was damaged by defendant's use of an explosive device. Therefore, the government satisfied the jurisdictional provisions of section 844(i), and the district court properly denied defendant's motion for a judgment of acquittal. Nothing in United States v. Morrison undermined Russell's per se rule and Morrison did not overrule Russel or Gomez. Accordingly, the court affirmed the conviction. View "United States v. Garcia" on Justia Law

Tatum v. Moody

Plaintiff, now deceased, was incarcerated for two years pending trial on charges arising from a series of demand-note robberies. Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the two detectives responsible for investigating the crimes, Steven Moody and Robert Pulido, for depriving plaintiff of liberty without due process of law by failing to disclose material exculpatory evidence, and for malicious prosecution. The jury returned a verdict against plaintiff on the malicious prosecution claim. In regards to the due process claim, the detectives challenged the judgment against them on the ground that the Constitution does not confer on plaintiff the right that the jury found them to have violated. The court held that the Constitution does protect plaintiff from prolonged detention when the police, with deliberate indifference to, or in the face of a perceived risk that, their actions will violate the plaintiff's right to be free of unjustified pretrial detention, withhold from the prosecutors information strongly indicative of his innocence. The jury's determination that the detectives acted with deliberate indifference or reckless disregard for plaintiff's rights satisfied the standard applicable to violations of due process. Holding that the jury instructions described a cognizable constitutional claim, the court affirmed the district court's enforcement of the jury verdict. View "Tatum v. Moody" on Justia Law

Doe v. Internet Brands, Inc.

Plaintiff, an aspiring model, filed a failure to warn suit against Internet Brands, the company who owns the website modelmayhem.com. Plaintiff had posted information about herself on the website and two rapists used the website to lure her to a fake audition where they drugged her, raped her, and recorded her for a pornographic video. The district court dismissed plaintiff's action because her claim was barred by the Communications Decency Act (CDA), 47 U.S.C. 230(c). The court held that section 230(c)(1) precludes liability that treats a website as the publisher or speaker of information users provide on the website. This section protects websites from liability for material posted on the website from someone else. In this case, plaintiff does not seek to hold Internet Brands liable as a "publisher or speaker" of content someone posted on modelmayhem.com, or for Internet Brands' failure to remove content on the website. Plaintiff also does not claim to have been lured by any posting that Internet Brands failed to remove. Instead, plaintiff attempts to hold Internet Brands liable for failing to warn her about how third parties targeted and lured victims through the website. The duty to warn allegedly imposed by California law would not require Internet Brands to remove any user content or otherwise affect how it publishes such content. Therefore, the CDA does not bar plaintiff's failure to warn claim and the CDA was not a valid basis to dismiss the complaint. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Doe v. Internet Brands, Inc." on Justia Law

Gibbs v. LeGrand

Petitioner, convicted of crimes ranging from manufacture of a controlled substance to possession of child pornography, appealed the district court's dismissal of his habeas petition because it was time-barred. In this case, petitioner's counsel did not inform him that state post-conviction proceedings had ended, even though counsel had pledged to do so, even though petitioner wrote his counsel repeatedly for updates, and even though time in which to file a federal habeas petition was swiftly winding down. Consequently, petitioner did not learn that the time for him to file his federal petition had begun until the limitations period was over. The court concluded that counsel's misconduct was an extraordinary circumstance which caused petitioner's inability to timely file his federal petition, and that petitioner exercised his reasonable diligence in pursuit of his post-conviction rights. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Gibbs v. LeGrand" on Justia Law

Peter-Palican v. CNMI

Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the Commonwealth after she was terminated from her position as Special Assistant to the Governor for Women's Affairs. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the Commonwealth on her retaliation, breach of contract, and estoppel claims. The court concluded that the district court properly granted summary judgment on plaintiff's retaliation claim where she failed to raise a triable dispute as to whether she did not hold a policymaking or confidential position; properly granted summary judgment on the breach of contract claim where it was undisputed that plaintiff held her position by virtue of appointment rather than by contract; and properly granted summary judgment on the estoppel claim where she failed to raise a triable dispute as to whether government officials engaged in any affirmative misconduct going beyond mere negligence as required for equitable estoppel, and where she failed to raise a triable dispute as to whether the Commonwealth gained an advantage by asserting one position and then later sought an advantage by taking a clearly inconsistent position as required by judicial estoppel. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. The court denied the Commonwealth's request for sanctions. View "Peter-Palican v. CNMI" on Justia Law

Chemehuevi Indian Tribe v. Jewell

The Tribe filed suit alleging that the Secretary, acting through the BIA, violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 702, 706, by determining that the Secretary was not authorized to approve the Tribe's assignments of land to certain of its members. The district court granted summary judgment to the Secretary. At issue are the interpretation of two federal statutes: 25 U.S.C. 81 and 25 U.S.C. 77. Section 177 acknowledges and guarantees the Indian tribes' right of possession and imposes on the federal government a fiduciary duty to protect the lands covered by the Indian Nonintercourse Act. Section 81 provides that Indian tribes enjoyed the right to possess and occupy lands but not alienate these lands without the federal government's approval. The court concluded that Congressional intent is clear. Section 177 prohibits the grant, lease, or conveyance of lands, or any title thereto from an Indian tribe unless approved by Congress. In this case, Congress has not approved the transactions at issue. Thus, the Secretary properly denied approval of the deeds under Section 81 where such conveyances would violate federal law. The court concluded that the Fifth Circuit's decision in Tonkawa Tribe of Oklahoma v. Richards was not binding. The plain language of Section 81 does not support the Tribe's reading that the deeds may nevertheless be approved by the Secretary under Section 81. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Chemehuevi Indian Tribe v. Jewell" on Justia Law