United States v. Liera-Morales

Defendant appealed his convictions stemming from his involvement in a scheme to kidnap for ransom Franklin Aguilar-Avila. The court held that the district court's admission of a government agent's testimony recounting Franklin's mother's description of a telephone call with human traffickers did not violate the Confrontation Clause because the challenged statements from the telephone call were nontestimonial and their introduction at trial did not violate defendant's Confrontation Clause rights. Further, even if the principle underlying the Rule of Completeness (Rule 106) extended to the statements at issue here, the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to admit portions of the interview. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "United States v. Liera-Morales" on Justia Law

Wood, III v. Ryan, et al.

Plaintiff sought information from the Department regarding the method of his execution, which the Department has not provided. The district court subsequently denied plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction delaying his execution until he receives the information. The court concluded that the district court abused its discretion in denying plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction where plaintiff has raised serious questions as to the merits of his First Amendment claim; the balance of the equities tips sharply in his favor; he will face irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted; and the injunction is in the public interest. Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment of the district court and the court granted plaintiff a preliminary injunction. View "Wood, III v. Ryan, et al." on Justia Law

Schultze, et al. v. Chandler, Sr., et al.

Plaintiffs commenced this action against their attorney and his law firm in state court for legal malpractice, alleging that the attorney was negligent in the performance of his duties as counsel to the unsecured creditors' committee. At issue was whether the bankruptcy court properly exercised jurisdiction over the malpractice action for the committee and correctly dismissed the claim. The court concluded that the district court properly concluded that the bankruptcy court had jurisdiction over the removed legal malpractice action because it was a core proceeding. In this case, the employment of the attorney was approved by the bankruptcy court and was governed by 11 U.S.C. 1103; the attorney's duties pertained solely to the administration of the bankruptcy estate; and the claim asserted by plaintiffs was based solely on acts that occurred in the administration of the estate. The court also concluded that the district court correctly concluded that the bankruptcy court did not err in dismissing the complaint because the attorney did not owe an individual duty of care. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the case on the merits. View "Schultze, et al. v. Chandler, Sr., et al." on Justia Law

WildEarth Guardians v. USEPA, et al.

WildEarth petitioned for review of the EPA's approval of Nevada's State Implementation Plan (SIP) for regional haze under the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. 1983. The court concluded that WildEarth lacked Article III standing to challenge the EPA's approval of the SIP's formulation of reasonable progress goals for improving visibility conditions in the Jarbridge Wilderness Area; although WildEarth has standing to challenge the EPA's decision to approve Nevada's Sulfur Dioxide Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) determination for the Reid Gardner Generating Station in southern Nevada, the EPA's decision was not arbitrary and capricious; the EPA's approval of Nevada's SIP did not violate any requirements imposed by section 7401(1); and, therefore, the court dismissed in part and denied in part the petition for review. View "WildEarth Guardians v. USEPA, et al." on Justia Law

Police Retirement Sys. v. Intuitive Surgical

PRS filed a class action against Intuitive on behalf of purchasers of Intuitive common stock, alleging violations of sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 10b.5, 15 U.S.C. 78j(b), 78t(a), 17 C.F.R. 240.10b-5. PRS alleged that Intuitive, through its executives, knowingly issued false and misleading statements regarding the company's growth and financial health which caused artificial inflation of the share price. The court concluded that, read as a whole, PRS's allegations did not satisfy the heightened pleading requirements imposed in the securities fraud cases and did not identify any material misstatements made with scienter. Intuitive's statements were mostly forward-looking statements or garden variety corporate optimism, and PRS failed to suggest that the executives made false statements with knowing or reckless disregard for Intuitive's economic circumstances. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint with prejudice. View "Police Retirement Sys. v. Intuitive Surgical" on Justia Law

Van der hule v. Holder

Plaintiff appealed the district court's holding that he was prohibited by federal law from possessing or receiving a firearm by virtue of his restriction on obtaining a Montana concealed weapon permit and that plaintiff, because of his prior felony conviction, had no federal constitutional right to possess a firearm. The court held that Montana's prohibition on plaintiff's obtaining a permit to carry a concealed weapon is a sufficient restriction of his firearm rights to trigger the "unless clause" of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(20). Accordingly, plaintiff is forbidden to receive or possess a firearm under federal law and that ban does not violate his Second Amendment rights. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Van der hule v. Holder" on Justia Law

Merritt v. Countrywide Financial Corp.

Plaintiffs filed suit against Countrywide and others involved in their residential mortgage, alleging violations of numerous federal statutes. The district court dismissed the claims with prejudice and plaintiffs appealed. The court held that plaintiffs can state a claim for rescission under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq., without pleading that they have tendered, or that they have the ability to tender, the value of their loan; only at the summary judgment stage may a court order the statutory sequence altered and require tender before rescission - and then only on a case-by-case basis; and, therefore, the court reversed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' rescission claim and remanded for further proceedings. The court held that, although the limitations period in the Real Estate Settlement Practices Act (RESPA), 12 U.S.C. 2614, ordinarily runs from the date of the alleged RESPA violation, the doctrine of equitable tolling may, in the appropriate circumstances, suspend the limitations period until the borrower discovers or had reasonable opportunity to discover the violation; just as for TILA claims, district courts may evaluate RESPA claims case-by-case; and, therefore, in this case, the court vacated the dismissal of plaintiffs' Section 8 of RESPA claims on limitations grounds and remanded for reconsideration. View "Merritt v. Countrywide Financial Corp." on Justia Law

E.M. v. Pajaro Valley U.S.D.

E.M., who has an auditory processing disorder or a central auditory processing disorder, through his parents, filed suit against the district alleging that E.M. had been denied a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq. The court concluded that plaintiffs failed to show that the district acted unreasonably in determining in 2005 that E.M. did not qualify for special education services under the "specific learning disability" category; the Department of Education's position that a central auditory processing disorder is eligible for consideration for benefits under the "other health impairment" category merits deference; but plaintiffs failed to show that the district acted unreasonably in not considering E.M. for benefits under the "other health impairment" category in 2005. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's denial of relief to plaintiffs. View "E.M. v. Pajaro Valley U.S.D." on Justia Law

Flores v. County of Los Angeles

Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the County and the Sheriff, alleging that she was sexually assaulted by a deputy sheriff when she went to the County vehicle inspection site to clear a traffic ticket. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claims for failure to state a claim for relief where her allegations did not establish that the County or the Sheriff were deliberately indifferent to the risk of sexual assault by deputies on members of the public, nor that the assault on plaintiff was a known or obvious consequence of the alleged lack of training of deputies. In view of California Penal Code 243.4(e)(1), which already prohibited such assault and which the deputies were sworn to uphold, and in the absence of any pattern of sexual assaults by deputies, plaintiff failed to allege facts sufficient to state a claim, plausible on its face, that the alleged failure to train officers not to commit sexual assault constituted deliberate indifference. View "Flores v. County of Los Angeles" on Justia Law

Garrison v. Colvin

Plaintiff appealed the denial of Social Security benefits. The court concluded that the ALJ erred in rejecting medical opinions, that she misunderstood a state examiner's opinion of plaintiff's impairments, and that she failed to meet the requirement of offering specific, clear, and convincing reasons for discrediting plaintiff's symptom testimony. The court reversed the district court's decision to remand the case to the ALJ for further proceedings and, instead, remanded to the district court with instructions to remand to the ALJ for a calculation and award of appropriate benefits. Plaintiff unquestionably satisfies all three conditions of the credit-as-true rule and a careful review of the record disclosed no reason to seriously doubt that she is, in fact, disabled. View "Garrison v. Colvin" on Justia Law