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Petitioner sought review of the BIA's denial of his motion to reopen proceedings to apply for protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Petitioner feared that he would be tortured on account of his sexual orientation if he is removed to his home country of Ethiopia. The Ninth Circuit held that it had jurisdiction over the petition pursuant to the exception to the jurisdictional bar of 8 U.S.C. 252(a)(2)(C) for reviewing mixed questions of law and fact, because the petition here required the panel to apply the law to undisputed facts. The panel also held that the BIA abused its discretion by disregarding or discrediting the undisputed new evidence submitted by petitioner regarding increased violence toward homosexuals in Ethiopia, including reports of violence by both the government and private citizens. Accordingly, the panel granted the petition for review. View "Agonafer v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage's (CSC) text, structure, and ratification history dictate that Article XIII’s jurisdiction-stripping provision applies only to claims arising out of nuclear incidents occurring after the CSC’s entry into force. Plaintiffs, members of the United States Navy, filed a putative class action against TEPCO, alleging that they were exposed to radiation when deployed near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP) as part of Operation Tomodachi. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial of TEPCO's motion to dismiss and held that the CSC did not strip it of jurisdiction over plaintiffs' claims; the district court did not err by dismissing plaintiffs' claims on comity grounds and did not abuse its discretion in deciding to maintain jurisdiction; the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to dismiss this case on forum non conveniens grounds; the panel was unable to undertake the "discriminating inquiry" necessary to determine if this case presented a political question; and the panel provided no opinion as to whether the firefighter's rule applies to military servicemembers and, if so, whether it barred plaintiffs' claims. View "Cooper v. Tokyo Electric Power Co." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit certified the following question to the California Supreme Court: Under section 98(a) of the California Code of Civil Procedure, must the affiant be physically located and personally available for service of process at the address provided in the declaration that is within 150 miles of the place of trial? View "Meza v. Portfolio Recovery Assocs." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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An employer's attorney can be held liable for retaliating against his client's employee because the employee sued his client for violations of workplace law. In this case, plaintiff may proceed with his retaliation action against the attorney under sections 215(a)(3) and 216(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 215(a)(3) and 216(b), because the complaint manifestly fell within the purview, purpose, and plain language of the FLSA. The court explained that the wage and hours provisions of the FLSA focus on de facto employers, but the anti-retaliation provision refers to "any person" who retaliates. View "Arias v. Raimondo" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a putative class action under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12132, alleging that the City had systematically failed to comply with federal and state disability access laws, seeking declarative and injunctive relief. Specifically, plaintiff alleged that the City's public right-of-way, pools, libraries, parks, and recreation facilities were not readily accessible to and usable by mobility-impaired individuals. The Ninth Circuit held that the plaintiff class has standing for claims related to all facilities challenged at trial; the district court’s credibility determinations were based on legal errors and its interpretation of the Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) was erroneous; and the district court properly rejected plaintiff's program access claims. Accordingly, the panel affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for reevaluation of the extent of ADAAG noncompliance. View "Kirola v. City and County of San Francisco" on Justia Law

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The 30-day impound of plaintiff's vehicle under Cal. Veh. Code. 14602.6(a)(1) constituted a seizure that required compliance with the Fourth Amendment. Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 on behalf of vehicle owners whose vehicles were subjected to the 30-day impound. The panel held that the exigency that justified the seizure of plaintiff's vehicle vanished once the vehicle arrived in impound and plaintiff showed up with proof of ownership and a valid driver's license. In this case, defendants provided no justification for the seizure. View "Brewster v. Beck" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against various defendants in the film industry, alleging copyright and state law claims, including breach of implied-in-fact contract and declaratory relief. Plaintiff alleged that defendants used his screenplay idea to create "The Purge" films without providing him compensation or credit as a writer. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial of defendants' anti-SLAPP motion to strike the state law claims. In this case, plaintiff's implied-in-fact contract claim did not arise from protected free speech activity because the claim was based on defendants' failure to pay for the use of plaintiff's idea, not the creation, production, distribution, or content of the films. The panel also held that defendants' failure to pay was not conduct in furtherance of the right to free speech. View "Jordan-Benel v. Universal City Studios, Inc." on Justia Law

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For Fourth Amendment purposes, mandatory supervision is more akin to parole than probation. While defendant served the last year of his sentence on mandatory supervision, he agreed to submit to warrantless, suspicionless searches of his person, his residence, and any premises under his control. At issue was whether a warrantless, suspicionless search of a hotel room defendant rented with his girlfriend violated the Fourth Amendment. Applying the Fourth Amendment analysis applicable to parolees, the Ninth Circuit held that the officers had probable cause to believe that the hotel room constituted "premises" under defendants' control. Therefore, there was no Fourth Amendment violation and the district court properly denied defendant's motion to suppress the evidence found in his hotel room. Finally, the panel rejected defendant's contention that the district court abused its discretion by imposing a supervised release condition requiring him to submit warrantless, suspicionless search conditions. In this case, defendant had adequate notice of the condition and the district court did not abuse its discretion where the facts justified the district court's belief that defendant posed an exceptionally high risk of re-offending. View "United States v. Cervantes" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against the Fire District, a subdivision of Arizona, alleging that it violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. 621-34. The district court granted the Fire District's motion for summary judgment, concluding that it was not an "employer" within the meaning of the ADEA. The Ninth Circuit held that the meaning of section 630(b) was not ambiguous and thus the district court erred in concluding that the twenty-employee minimum applied to political subdivisions. Even if the panel agreed with the First District and concluded that the statute was ambiguous, the outcome would not change. Accordingly, the panel reversed the district court's judgment and remanded for further proceedings. View "Guido v. Mount Lemmon Fire District" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, tax preparation and refund-advance businesses, filed suit against the IRS under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), alleging several causes of action stemming from plaintiffs' cooperation in a federal criminal investigation. The district court granted the government's motion to dismiss, concluding that the IRS was immune from liability for its conduct under 28 U.S.C. 2680(c). The Ninth Circuit held that section 2680(c) did not confer absolute immunity on the IRS, and, construing the facts in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, the IRS's sting operation did not arise in respect of the assessment or collection of any tax. Accordingly, the panel reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Snyder & Associates Acquisitions LLC v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law