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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's judgment and remanded with instructions to enter judgment in favor of defendant in an action brought by the owner of a mobile home park alleging that the City engaged in an unconstitutional taking. Plaintiff alleged that the City violated the Fifth Amendment when it approved a lower rent increase than he had requested. The panel applied the factors in Penn Central Transportation Co. v. City of New York, 438 U.S. 104 (1978), and held that plaintiff did not present sufficient evidence to create a triable question of fact as to the economic impact caused by the City's denial of larger rent increases; plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence supporting its investment-backed expectations claim; and the character of the City's action could not be characterized as a physical invasion by the government. Based on the evidence, the panel held that no reasonable finder of fact could conclude that the denials of plaintiff's requested rent increases were the functional equivalent of a direct appropriation of the property. View "Colony Cove Properties, LLC v. City of Carson" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel's opinion reversing the bankruptcy court's order entering contempt sanctions against creditors for knowingly violating the discharge injunction in the Chapter 7 case. The panel held that creditors did not knowingly violate the discharge injunction because they had a subjective good faith belief that the discharge injunction did not apply to their state-court claim for post-petition attorneys' fees. The panel explained that creditors' subjective good faith belief, even if unreasonable, insulated them from a finding of contempt. View "In re Taggert" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy

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Plaintiff filed suit against the County and two deputy sheriffs after plaintiff was shot during the deputies' response to a 911 call. When the deputies arrived at plaintiff's apartment, plaintiff answered the door holding a large knife. Although the jury's verdict that Deputy Rose violated plaintiff's right to be free from excessive force was sufficient to deny him qualified immunity under the first prong of the qualified immunity analysis, the panel held that plaintiff failed to identify any sufficiently analogous cases showing that under similar circumstances a clearly established Fourth Amendment right against the use of deadly force existed at the time of the shooting. Therefore, the panel affirmed the district court's ruling that Deputy Rose was entitled to qualified immunity. The panel held that the district court erroneously concluded that the California Bane Act required a separate showing of coercion beyond that inherent in the use of force. The panel held that the Bane Act required a specific intent to violate the arrestee's right and that no reasonable jury in this case could find that the deputy had a specific intent to violate plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights. Accordingly, the panel reversed and remanded this claim for a new trial. Finally, the panel addressed claims in defendants' cross-appeal. View "Reese v. County of Sacramento" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of copyright infringement claims brought by a monkey over selfies he took on a wildlife photographer's unattended camera. Naruto, a crested macaque, took several photos of himself on the camera, and the photographer and Wildlife Personalities subsequently published the Monkey Selfies in a book. PETA filed suit as next friend to Naruto, alleging copyright infringement. The panel held that the complaint included facts sufficient to establish Article III standing because it alleged that Naruto was the author and owner of the photographs and had suffered concrete and particularized economic harms; the monkey's Article III standing was not dependent on the sufficiency of PETA; but Naruto lacked statutory standing because the Copyright Act did not expressly authorize animals to file copyright infringement suits. Finally, the panel granted defendants' request for attorneys' fees on appeal. View "Naruto v. Slater" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit held that it had subject matter jurisdiction in this case because 28 U.S.C. 1332's amount-in-controversy requirement was met when the case was removed. The panel clarified that the amount in controversy is not limited to damages incurred prior to removal—for example, it is not limited to wages a plaintiff-employee would have earned before removal (as opposed to after removal). Rather, the panel explained that the amount in controversy is determined by the complaint operative at the time of removal and encompasses all relief a court may grant on that complaint if the plaintiff is victorious. In this case, the amount-in-controversy requirement was easily satisfied and the panel had subject matter jurisdiction over the action. View "Chavez v. JPMorgan Chase & Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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Plaintiff, on behalf of former Emulex shareholders, appealed the district court's dismissal of his putative securities class action. The Ninth Circuit held that claims under Section 14(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. 78n(e), require a showing of negligence, not scienter. Therefore, the panel reversed the dismissal of the complaint and remanded to the district court for it to reconsider defendants' motion to dismiss under a negligence standard. Because plaintiff's Section 14(e) claim survived, his claim under Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act also remained. Furthermore, the panel affirmed the district court's conclusion that Section 14(d)(4) of the Exchange Act did not create a private right of action and dismissal of the complaint as to Emerald Merger Sub because it was not a proper defendant. View "Varjabedian v. Emulex Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Securities Law

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Former Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio was referred for criminal contempt in August 2016. The government obtained a conviction on July 31, 2017. On August 25, 2017, the President pardoned Arpaio, noting that Arpaio’s sentencing was “set for October 5, 2017.” On August 28, 2017, Arpaio moved “to dismiss this matter with prejudice” and asked the district court “to vacate the verdict and all other orders” plus the sentencing. On October 4, the district court dismissed with prejudice the action for criminal contempt. No timely notice of appeal order was filed. The Ninth Circuit denied a late-filed request for the appointment of counsel to “cross-appeal” the dismissal. The district court denied Arpaio’s second request and refused to grant “relief beyond dismissal with prejudice.” Arpaio filed a timely notice of appeal. In response to a request for the appointment of counsel to defend the order denying Arpaio’s request for vacatur, the government stated that it “does not intend to defend the district court’s order” and intends to argue, as it did in the district court, that the motion to vacate should have been granted. The Ninth Circuit appointed a special prosecutor to file briefs and present oral argument on the merits. View "United States v. Arpaio" on Justia Law

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Echlin received treatment at PeaceHealth but ignored multiple requests for payment. PeaceHealth referred her accounts to CCI, a purported collection agency. Under a 2004 agreement, for a fixed fee, CCI performed services related to debt-collection and PeaceHealth would suspend its in-house collection efforts. CCI independently screened each account for potential collection problems. Although PeaceHealth was generally aware of the standard format of CCI’s letters, CCI alone controlled their content without PeaceHealth’s approval. The letters were written on CCI letterhead, mailed from CCI’s in-house mailing center, and listed CCI’s contact information (PeaceHealth’s information was labeled “Creditor Detail”). The letters directed debtors to a CCI website. CCI handled correspondence from PeaceHealth debtors.CCI had no ability to process or negotiate payments but forwarded to PeaceHealth any payments it received. After two letters, accounts were returned to PeaceHealth. CCI did not participate in subsequent collection steps. Echlin filed a putative class action under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692e, 1692j. The Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the defendants. CCI did not engage in “flat-rating,” in which a third party sends a delinquency letter to a debtor, portraying itself as a debt collector, when it actually has no real involvement in the debt collection effort. CCI meaningfully participated in PeaceHealth’s debt-collection efforts, screening the accounts, independently composing and mailing letters, responding to customer questions, and maintaining a website that allowed customers to access individualized information. View "Echlin v. PeaceHealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law

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Gilman filed a voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition. Phillips was a creditor. Gilman identified properties in Van Nuys and Northridge, describing the Northridge property as “in escrow” and claiming a household exemption for the Van Nuys property, and stating “Debtor has Cancer and has not been able to work.” He did not list any contracts relating to the sale of the Van Nuys property. Gilman would later admit that escrow was open on that property when he filed for bankruptcy. Phillips filed an adversary proceeding, alleging fraud, and objected to Gilman’s homestead exemption. Gilman did not oppose the objection and did not appear at the hearing. The bankruptcy court sustained Phillips’ objections. Gilman filed an amended Schedule C, claiming a reduced exemption and obtained Rule 60(b) relief, based on his counsel’s mistaken failure to oppose Phillips’ objections. The bankruptcy court held that escrow did not eliminate Gilman’s right to a homestead exemption. The Ninth Circuit held that it had jurisdiction to review the district court’s order affirming the grant of the homestead exemption; that the bankruptcy court did not abuse its discretion in granting Rule 60(b) relief from judgment on the ground of excusable neglect; and that the bankruptcy court erred in concluding that the debtor established his claim to a homestead exemption under California law without determining whether the debtor intended to continue to reside in the property. View "Phillips v. Gilman" on Justia Law

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After pleading guilty to a conspiracy, Shimabukuro served 78 months in prison and began five years of supervised release. Over the next eight years, the district court revoked Shimabukuro’s supervised release on three separate occasions in response to Shimabukuro’s violations of the terms of his release. The first time, the court sentenced him to 18 months imprisonment and 42 months of supervised release. The second time, the court imposed a sentence of one month of time served and an additional 41 months of supervised release with 150 days of intermittent confinement, broken into 50 consecutive weekends. When the court revoked Shimabukuro’s release for the third time, it sentenced him to 17 months imprisonment with no additional supervised release. Shimabukuro objected that 17 months in prison—when aggregated with his previous 18-month term of imprisonment, one month of time served, and 150 days of intermittent confinement— exceeded 18 U.S.C. 3583(e)(3)’s cap on time “in prison” that a court may impose when revoking supervised release. The district court reasoned that intermittent confinement did not count as time “in prison.” The Ninth Circuit vacated. The 150 days constitute time spent “in prison” and should have been included in the calculation of the aggregate time Shimabukuro had served. View "United States v. Shimabukuro" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law