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

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Defendant filed a Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment following the denial of his section 2255 motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence. The court concluded that a certificate of appealability (COA) is required to appeal the denial of a legitimate Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment arising out of the denial of a 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion; a COA should only issue for the appeal arising from the denial of a Rule 60(b) motion in a section 2255 proceeding if the movant shows that (1) jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the district court abused its discretion in denying the Rule 60(b) motion and (2) jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the underlying section 2255 motion states a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right; and, in this case, defendant is not entitled to a COA where the district court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to reopen the time for appeal and the district court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to consider defendant's amended section 2255 motion. Accordingly, the court denied the COA and dismissed the appeal. View "United States v. Winkles" on Justia Law
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The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) creates and assigns top level domains (TLDs), such as “.com” and “.net.” Plaintiff, a registry specializing in “expressive” TLDs, filed suit alleging that the 2012 Application Round for the creation of new TLDs violated federal and California law. The district court dismissed the complaint. The court rejected plaintiff's claims for conspiracy in restraint of trade or commerce under section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1, because plaintiff failed to allege an anticompetitive agreement; the court rejected plaintiff's claim under Section 2 of the Sherman Act, because ICANN’s authority was lawfully obtained through a contract with the DOC and did not unlawfully acquire or maintain its monopoly; the trademark and unfair competition claims were not ripe for adjudication because plaintiff has not alleged that ICANN has delegated or intends to delegate any of the TLDs that plaintiff uses; and the complaint failed to allege a claim for tortious interference or unfair business practice. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "name.space, Inc. V. ICANN" on Justia Law

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The Foundation, the sole beneficiary of Ray Charles' estate, filed suit to challenge his heirs' purported termination of copyright grants that Charles conferred while he was alive. The district court dismissed the suit for lack of jurisdiction. The court concluded that the suit meets the threshold requirements of constitutional standing and ripeness, the argument that the Foundation may be a beneficial owner lends no support to its claim to standing; the Foundation is a real party in interest and has third-party standing; under the zone-of-interests test, the Foundation properly asserts its own claims where termination, if effective, would directly extinguish the Foundation’s right to receive prospective royalties from the current grant; and the Foundation is indeed a party whose injuries may have been proximately caused by violations of the statute. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's judgment. View "The Ray Charles Found. v. Robinson" on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed his conviction for charges related to a mortgage-fraud scheme. At issue was whether defendant breached an immunity agreement and thus made himself amenable to prosecution. The court concluded that, in light of the gaps and contradictions in the record, the district court’s failure to either grant defendant's motion for reconsideration or order an additional evidentiary hearing was an abuse of discretion. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to reconsider and remanded with directions to dismiss the indictment. View "United States v. Mark" on Justia Law
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Plaintiffs filed suit claiming that the school district had violated T.B.’s civil rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12131, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. 794. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the school district. The court affirmed the grant of summary judgment regarding plaintiffs' allegations that the school district violated the ADA and Section 504 by failing to offer and implement a gastronomy tube (g-tube) feeding regime that would enable T.B. to attend school safely; California law establishes federally enforceable rights governing g-tube feeding in schools; the court held that where the State has defined an accommodation by law, that accommodation is enforceable in court; but, plaintiffs failed to prove that the district court was deliberately indifferent to the need to meet state standards for feeding T.B. at school. The court reversed the grant of summary judgment on the claim regarding the 2007-2008 Individualized Education Plan (IEP), because there is a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether the district violated T.B.’s civil rights by failing to accommodate his need for g-tube feedings. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court that a reasonable jury would not be able to find that the district retaliated against plaintiffs. The court vacated the district court's award of attorneys' fees and costs and remanded. View "T.B. V. San Diego Unified Sch. Dist." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against Netflix under the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), 18 U.S.C. 2710, and California Civil Code 1799.3, alleging that Netflix violated these statutes by permitting certain disclosures about their viewing history to third parties. The court concluded that plaintiffs failed to plead a plausible violation of the VPPA because, as the court held, the disclosure alleged by plaintiffs is a disclosure “to the consumer” that is permitted by the Act. The fact that a subscriber may permit third parties to access her account, thereby allowing third parties to view Netflix’s disclosures, does not alter the legal status of those disclosures. As plaintiffs' complaint pleads only a lawful disclosure under the VPPA, the district court was correct to dismiss the first count of plaintiffs’ complaint. Likewise, plaintiffs failed to plead a violation of California Civil Code 1799.3. Accordingly, the court affirmed the dismissal of plaintiffs' claims. View "Mollett v. Netflix, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Arch based upon allegations of numerous violations by Arch of the California Labor Code. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the denial of her motion to remand this matter to the Superior Court after Arch removed it pursuant to the provisions of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1446, 1453(b). The court reversed the district court's determination that it had diversity jurisdiction over the action and remanded. The court held that where a plaintiff files an action containing class claims as well as non-class claims, and the class claims do not meet the CAFA amount-in-controversy requirement while the nonclass claims, standing alone, do not meet diversity of citizenship jurisdiction requirements, the amount involved in the non-class claims cannot be used to satisfy the CAFA jurisdictional amount, and the CAFA diversity provisions cannot be invoked to give the district court jurisdiction over the non-class claims. View "Yocupicio v. PAE Grp." on Justia Law
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Microsoft, a third-party beneficiary to Motorola’s reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) commitments, filed suit against Motorola for breach of its obligation to offer RAND licenses to its patents in good faith. Motorola filed infringement actions in a variety of fora to enjoin Microsoft from using its patents without a license. As a preliminary matter, the court rejected Motorola's challenge to its jurisdiction, concluding that there was no error or manifest injustice that would justify disrupting the court's and the Federal Circuit's prior determinations that it has jurisdiction. Further, there is no other exception to the law-of-the-case doctrine applicable. On the merits, the court rejected Motorola's challenge that the district court lacked the legal authority to decide the RAND rate issue in a bench trial, severing it from the ultimate breach of contract issue tried to the jury. Motorola also challenged the district court’s legal analysis in determining the RAND rate was contrary to Federal Circuit precedent. As to Motorola's first challenge, the court concluded that Motorola was quite aware, when it agreed with Microsoft in June to a RAND determination bench trial, that the RAND determination was being made to set the stage for the breach of contract trial. Nor did Motorola ever withdraw its affirmative stipulation to a bench trial for that purpose. Therefore, the court did not consider whether, absent consent, a jury should have made the RAND determination. In regards to Motorola's second challenge, the court reiterated that this is not a patent law action and that the Federal Circuit's patent law methodology can serve as a guidance in contracts cases on questions of patent valuation. In this case, the district court's analysis properly adapted that guidance. The court rejected Motorola's remaining arguments, concluding that the district court's factual findings were properly admitted at the jury trial, the jury's verdict was supported by substantial evidence, and its damages award was proper. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Microsoft, Corp. v. Motorola, Inc." on Justia Law
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Plaintiffs, individuals and a corporation who reside in Hawaii, filed suit alleging that the Jones Act's cabotage provisions, 46 U.S.C. 12112(a)(2)(A) and 55102(b)(1), which prohibit foreign competition in the domestic shipping market, impair interstate trade between Hawaii and the rest of the United States to such an extent that they violate the Constitution. The district court dismissed the action with prejudice. The court concluded that plaintiffs have alleged more than generalized grievances and have demonstrated an “injury in fact,” but have not met their burden to show causation or redressability, the other two elements of Article III standing. The court further concluded that although plaintiffs, could establish standing if they amended their complaint, any amendment would be futile because plaintiffs’ challenge to the Jones Act would fail on the merits. In this case, an amended complaint would be subject to dismissal for failure to state a claim because the enactment of the Jones Act was not beyond the authority assigned to Congress under the Commerce Clause. The court rejected plaintiffs' Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment claim, and held that the district court did not violate plaintiffs' procedural due process right by ruling on the government's motion to dismiss without an oral hearing. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Novak v. United States" on Justia Law

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After PG&E's natural gas pipeline ruptured in San Bruno, killing and injuring several people, San Francisco filed suit against the Agency, alleging that the Agency failed to comply with the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968, 49 U.S.C. 60101 et seq. The court concluded that the plain statutory language, the statutory structure, the legislative history, the structure of similar federal statutes, and interpretations of similar statutory provisions by the Supreme Court and its sister circuits lead to the conclusion that the Pipeline Safety Act does not authorize mandamus-type citizen suits against the Agency. The court also concluded that San Francisco's claims that the Agency violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 701(a)(2), by unlawfully withholding the action of deciding whether the CPUC adequately enforces federal pipeline safety standards, and arbitrarily and capriciously approving the CPUC’s certification and providing federal funding to the CPUC, were not cognizable under the APA. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the suit. View "City & Cnty. of San Francisco v. U.S. D.O.T." on Justia Law