Singh v. Holder

Singh, a 51-year-old citizen of India, entered the U.S. in 2006 after egregious physical abuse by the police in Jullandar, Punjab, concerning his employment of a domestic servant alleged to be a Kashmiri terrorist. The BIA affirmed the immigration judge’s decision to grant Singh relief under the Convention Against Torture, but held that an imputed political opinion was not a central reason for the police brutality and denied applications for asylum and withholding of removal. The BIA concluded that the police had legitimate reasons for the arrest and detention. The Ninth Circuit granted a petition for review and held that the evidence compelled a conclusion that Singh’s imputed political opinion was at least one central reason police targeted him. Although the REAL ID Act eliminated the presumption that persecution is politically motivated absent any evidence of a legitimate prosecutorial purpose, an applicant may meet his burden of establishing nexus by introducing evidence that he was wrongly accused of being a terrorist. Mixed-motives analysis applies to cases under the REAL ID Act, and, even if police are engaged in a legitimate investigation, an applicant may establish nexus by showing that he was persecuted both because of legitimate investigatory reasons and because of a protected ground, if a protected ground was at least one central reason for the harm. View "Singh v. Holder" on Justia Law

United States v. Mendez

In 2007, a juvenile court adjudicated Mendez guilty of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. If committed by an adult, the offense is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. In 2012, after Mendez had become an adult, a park ranger found him in possession of a shotgun. Based on the juvenile adjudication, the federal government charged him with violating 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1), which makes it unlawful for a person to possess a firearm if he View "United States v. Mendez" on Justia Law

Hendricks & Lewis PLLC v. Clinton

Clinton is a musician, bandleader, and touring performance artist. H&L, a law firm, represented Clinton in in 2005-2008, billed Clinton $3,341,650, received $1,000,578 in payment, and wrote off $600,000 of the remaining balance. This left $1,779,756.29 due. H&L initiated arbitration. Clinton did not participate; the panel ruled in favor of H&L. The district court confirmed the award of $1,675,639.82, plus interest plus $60,786.50 in attorney fees. H&L pursued collection, including garnishments, levies, and liens across the country. Clinton’s attorney declared that they created a financial “stranglehold” so that Clinton “[c]an’t pay his taxes … it is going to affect... his ability to make a living at 72 years old.” A year later, Clinton sued H&L for legal malpractice. H&L asserted counterclaims and sought an order authorizing the sale of master sound recording copyrights to satisfy its judgments. The district court appointed a receiver and authorized the receiver to use the copyrights to satisfy the judgments. Amending its earlier order, the Ninth Circuit affirmed. Under Washington law Clinton’s copyrights in the masters were subject to execution to satisfy judgments against him. Section 201(e) of the federal Copyright Act does not protect Clinton from the involuntary transfer of his copyrighted works. Clinton could raise claims of fraud on the court and judicial estoppel for the first time on appeal, but the claims were meritless. View "Hendricks & Lewis PLLC v. Clinton" on Justia Law

In re: Mwangi

The Debtors were account holders at Wells Fargo. When Wells Fargo discovered that the Debtors had filed a voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, it placed a “temporary administrative pledge” on their accounts and requested instructions from the Chapter 7 trustee regarding the distribution of account funds, a portion of which the Debtors claimed as exempt under Nevada Revised Statutes 21.090(1)(g). The Debtors brought an adversary proceeding, which the bankruptcy court dismissed. The district court affirmed, holding that they did not state a claim for a willful violation of 11 U.S.C. 362(a)(3), which prohibits “any act to obtain possession of property of the estate or of property from the estate or to exercise control over property of the estate.” Before the account funds revested in the Debtors, they remained estate property, and the Debtors had no right to possess or control them. The administrative pledge could cause the Debtors no injury before the account funds revested. After the account funds revested in the Debtors, they lost their status as estate property and thus were no longer subject to section 362(a)(3). View "In re: Mwangi" on Justia Law

Rashdan v. Geissberger

Rashdan, an Egyptian dentist, enrolled in a program to credential her for practice in the U.S. Three months before graduation, Rashdan followed her clinical supervisor’s instructions to seat a crown, but the procedure was unsuccessful. The head of the restorative dentistry program, Geissberger, heard about the failed procedure, and told Rashdan, within earshot of others, that her “clinical work ... was ‘Third World Dentistry.’” Later, another supervisor greeted Rashdan saying, “What’s up, TW?” then stated: “Don’t you get it? ... Third World?” Days before graduation, Rashdan was informed that despite adequate academic work, she was not recommended for graduation and that she would have to remediate in restorative dentistry and removable prosthodontics. Rashdan entered an additional quarter of clinical work at no extra cost; her performance did not improve. Evaluators stated that she was actively harming patients. Faculty members exchanged emails about her poor performance, and recommended that Rashdan pursue an additional quarter of remedial work on models, after which she could return to work on patients. Rather than appeal the plan or begin remediation, Rashdan took a leave of absence and filed suit, claiming national origin discrimination in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000d. The district court rejected the claim on summary judgment. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that the McDonnell Douglas framework for disparate treatment claims under Title VII applied to the Title VI claim. Rashdan did not establish a prima facie case of national origin discrimination. View "Rashdan v. Geissberger" on Justia Law

Murphy v. Sloan

Defendant-appellee William Sloan, a citizen of the United States, and plaintiff-appellant Elaine Murphy, a citizen of Ireland, were married in California in 2000. They lived together in Mill Valley, California, and had a daughter, E.S., in 2005. In October 2009, the couple separated, with Sloan moving to a different bedroom in their house. In 2010, Murphy and Sloan enrolled E.S. in a private California preschool for the next fall. But plans changed in the spring after Murphy proposed moving to Ireland so that she (Murphy) could go back to school. Murphy and Sloan discussed the move to Ireland as a "trial period," and Sloan wrote to both the private preschool and the public school district to inform them of E.S.'s move and the temporary nature of the plan. Visitation between the parents worked for several years until Murphy took E.S. with her on a trip to visit Murphy's boyfriend in Asia. Sloan lost contact with Murphy during that time. On a regularly scheduled visit to E.S. in Ireland, Sloan grew concerned about E.S.'s absences from school when Murphy announced she would again be going to Asia with Murphy's boyfriend. Sloan took E.S. with him to the United States when he left Ireland. Murphy and Sloan agreed that Sloan told Murphy that he did not intend to return E.S. to Ireland, to which Murphy responded that if E.S. was going to live in the United States, Murphy would return to Mill Valley. Murphy took no action to compel E.S.'s return to Ireland for nearly three months, until September 2013, when she filed the action that led to this appeal. E.S. began third grade in Mill Valley in August 2013. In October 2013, the Superior Court entered a judgment dissolving the marriage, but left pending the state court action for purposes of issuing further orders regarding child custody, child support and spousal support. Murphy brought suit under the Hague Convention to compel E.S.'s return to Ireland, contending that Ireland was E.S.'s "habitual residence." The district court denied Murphy's petition after considering Murphy and Sloan's sworn declarations, testimony and documents presented at an evidentiary hearing and depositions of Murphy's boyfriend and an expert witness. It determined that the spring of 2010 was the last time that Sloan and Murphy had a shared, settled intent, which was that E.S. reside in California. The court concluded that "E.S. was, at the time of the alleged wrongful retention, and now remains, a habitual resident of the United States." The issue this case presented for the Ninth Circuit's review explored the significance of a "trial period" of residence on a child's "habitual residence" under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Murphy sought the return of E.S. to Ireland. After review, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court that E.S. was a habitual resident of the United States; "E.S.'s attachments to Ireland 'did not shift the locus of [E.S.'s] development[,] and . . . any acclimatization did not overcome the absence of a shared settled intention by the parents to abandon the United States as a habitual residence.'" View "Murphy v. Sloan" on Justia Law

United States v. Fowlkes

Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") agents and Long Beach Police Department ("LBPD") officers obtained warrants for wiretaps on two phones in the Summer of 2006. Officers intercepted communications pursuant to the wiretap, which led them to conclude that defendant was arranging a drug deal. Based on information initially obtained through the wiretaps, LBPD officers placed defendant under surveillance and eventually arrested defendant for felony drug possession. At intake, the officers strip searched defendant in the jail's strip search room. Five officers observed the strip search. The officers instructed defendant to remove his clothing and face the far wall of the room as they watched him. Defendant was instructed to bend over, spread his buttocks, and cough, but according to one of the observers, defendant instead moved his hand toward his right buttock. Instructed to repeat the procedure, defendant made a quick movement to his buttocks area with his hand and appeared "to be forcing or forcibly pushing an item inward." Defendant appealed his conviction for drug distribution and possession with intent to distribute, raising a number of issues on appeal, but the Ninth Circuit found only one had merit: that the forcible removal of drugs from defendant's rectum by officers without medical training or a warrant violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The Court concluded that the evidence obtained "from this brutal and physically invasive search" should have been suppressed. Therefore, the Court vacated defendant's conviction in part, vacated his sentence, and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings. View "United States v. Fowlkes" on Justia Law

Lai v. Holder

Yongguo Lai, a native and citizen of China, appealed a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision dismissing Lai's appeal of an immigration judge's (IJ) decision denying his application for asylum, withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The BIA relied on the IJ's finding that Lai's claim of persecution and torture on account of his Christian religion was not credible. The IJ based her ruling, in relevant part, on Lai's testimony during cross-examination that contained information the IJ found to be missing from and inconsistent with Lai's initial written application and direct testimony, and uncorroborated in one respect. Upon review, the Ninth Circuit concluded the BIA's adverse credibility determination was not supported by substantial evidence. Accordingly, the Court reversed and remanded the case to the BIA for further proceedings. View "Lai v. Holder" on Justia Law

Mastro v. Rigby, Jr.

In this fraudulent conveyance action, Linda Mastro, a nonclaimant to the bankruptcy estate, appealed the district court's judgment. The court held that the bankruptcy court had authority to enter judgment based on the parties' consent. However, the court concluded that the district court erred as a matter of law when it determined that the fugitive disentitlement doctrine applied to Linda's civil bankruptcy appeal; the district court's dismissal of Linda's civil bankruptcy appeal was based solely on Linda's blatant disregard for the authority of the judicial system; but disregard for the authority of a different court does not constitute a "necessity" capable of justifying the rule of disentitlement in these circumstances; the court declined to consider the merits of Linda's appeal in the first instance where the district court dismissed the bankruptcy appeal without reaching the merits; and therefore, the court reversed and remanded with instructions. View "Mastro v. Rigby, Jr." on Justia Law

Doyle v. OneWest Bank, FSB

Plaintiff and Kuda Mujeyi filed a class action suit in state court asserting claims against several defendants. The case was removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d)(2). Mujeyi's claims were severed and transferred to the District of Arizona. The district court ordered plaintiff to amend her complaint to reflect the severance and she did, then she moved to remand the action to state court under one of the exceptions to CAFA jurisdiction under section 1332(d)(4). The district court granted plaintiff's motion under section 1332(d)(3), determining the citizenship of the plaintiff class by considering the class as pleaded in plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint (SAC). The court concluded that, for the purpose of considering the applicability of the exceptions to CAFA jurisdiction, the district court should have determined the citizenship of the proposed plaintiff class based on plaintiff's complaint as of the date the case became removable. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "Doyle v. OneWest Bank, FSB" on Justia Law