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The statute of limitations for a criminal defendant's 42 U.S.C. 1983 action is not tolled under California Code of Civil Procedure 356 during the pendency of an appeal from a conviction, in light of the Supreme Court's rule in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). In this case, plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 after his convictions for possession of a controlled substance and a smoking device were overturned, because the Superior Court erred in denying plaintiff's suppression motion. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment and held that plaintiff's claims for unlawful stop and detention, false arrest, and false imprisonment were time-barred because Heck did not legally prevent plaintiff from commencing those claims during his appeal. Therefore, tolling under section 356 was not triggered. The panel held that plaintiff's malicious prosecution and Monell actions were also barred, because reversal of his conviction was not a favorable termination. View "Mills v. City of Covina" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of two copyright infringement actions against defendants, accusing them of copying Malibu's lace designs. The court held that, at the pleading stage, Malibu successfully alleged ownership of valid, registered copyrights. Malibu also plausibly alleged striking similarity between Malibu's designs and defendants' designs. Furthermore, the district court abused its discretion in denying Malibu leave to amend its allegations of access for a theory of substantial similarity. Finally, the panel dismissed as moot H&M's cross-appeal from the district court's denial of attorney fees. View "Malibu Textiles, Inc. v. Label Lane International, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, small scale solar producers, filed suit alleging that CPUC's programs did not comply with the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), because CPUC incorrectly defined the amount that PURPA requires utilities to pay qualifying facilities (QFs). The district court dismissed plaintiffs' claims for equitable damages and attorney fees, entering summary judgment for CPUC on the PURPA challenges. The panel held that the district court erred in not interpreting FERC's regulations to require state utility commissions to consider whether a Renewables Portfolio Standard changed the calculation of avoided cost. Accordingly, the panel reversed as to this issue. The panel affirmed in all other respects, holding that utilities did not violate PURPA in not compensating QFs for Renewable Energy Credits and the Net Energy Metering Program did not violate PURPA's interconnection requirement. The panel also affirmed the dismissal of equitable damages and attorney fees claims. View "Californians for Renewable Energy v. California Public Utilities Commission" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's order granting summary judgment for the FAA in an action seeking information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In this case, plaintiff made a FOIA request after the FAA notified him that he was ineligible for an Air Traffic Control Specialist position based on his performance on a screening test called the Biographical Assessment. The panel held that the FAA failed to show that it undertook an adequate search of the relevant documents; the records at issue were not intra-agency documents and thus not subject to Exemption 5; and the panel rejected the consultant corollary theory, which uses a functional interpretation of Exemption 5 that treats documents produced by an agency's third-party consultant as "intra-agency" memorandums. Finally, the panel rejected plaintiff's challenge to the district court and the FAA's interpretation of his FOIA request. The panel held that the FAA was not obligated under FOIA to retrieve and responsive documents, such as the underlying data to the summaries, held by APTMetrics. View "Rojas v. FAA" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's order granting defendant's motion for a sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(2), in light of Sentencing Guidelines Amendment 782. The panel clarified that, without an explicit and explicit drug quantity finding by the original sentencing judge, drug quantities in an adopted presentencing report were not binding in section 3582(c)(2) proceedings. Therefore, the panel remanded to the district court for supplemental findings of drug quantity and, if appropriate, resentencing. View "United States v. Huaracha Rodriguez" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Plaintiff's petition for panel rehearing was granted an this superseding opinion was filed. This case related to tort claims brought by the tribe against a nonmember employed by the tribe. At issue was whether the tribal court has jurisdiction to adjudicate tribal claims against its nonmember employee, where the tribe's personnel policies and procedures manual regulated the nonmember's conduct at issue and provided that the tribal council would address violations by the nonmember during the course of her employment, and the tribal court and tribal judicial code were established and enacted after the nonmember left her employment with the tribe. The Ninth Circuit held that, under the circumstances presented here, the tribe has authority to regulate the nonmember employee's conduct at issue pursuant to its inherent power to exclude nonmembers from tribal lands. The panel also held that, in the alternative, the tribe has regulatory authority over the nonmember employee's conduct under both exceptions under Montana v. United States, 450 U.S. 544 (1981). Therefore, given the existence of regulatory authority, the sovereign interests at stake, and the congressional interest in promoting tribal self-government, the panel held that the tribal court had jurisdiction over the tribe's claims. View "Knighton v. Cedarville Rancheria of Northern Paiute Indians" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of an action brought by conservationist groups to enjoin the federal government's participation in the killing of gray wolves in Idaho pending additional analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The panel held that the conservationist groups had Article III standing because declarations from members described how USDA Wildlife Services's wolf-killing activities threatened their aesthetic and recreational interests. Therefore, the members established that the interests fell within the scope of NEPA's protections and they established an injury-in-fact. The panel noted that causation was established under the relaxed standard for procedural injuries. Finally, the panel held that the district court erred in finding that plaintiffs' injuries were not redressable and in relying on an unpublished opinion that lacked precedential value. View "Western Watersheds Project v. Grimm" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's order finding petitioner removable under section 237(a)(2)(A)(iii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The panel held that petitioner's prior conviction under Oregon Revised Statutes section 164.395 was a categorical theft offense and was therefore an aggravated felony under section 101(a)(43)(G) of the INA. The panel held that the record supported the BIA's denial of relief under the Convention Against Torture where the BIA agreed with the IJ's conclusion that petitioner failed to establish that he would more likely than not face a particularized risk of torture with the acquiescence of a public official in Guatemala. View "Lopez-Aguilar v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The DOL brought suit under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) for breach of fiduciary duties and self-dealing by City National in administering City National's employee profit-sharing plan. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order as to liability and held that City National engaged in prohibited self-dealing under section 406(b) of ERISA by setting and approving its own fees from Plan assets for serving as its own recordkeeper. Furthermore, such conduct was not exempt under section 408(c)(2) as reasonable compensation for services provided by a fiduciary such as recordkeeping services. In regard to damages, the panel affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that the loss associated with a prohibited transaction is at least the entire cost of the prohibited transaction. In cases where the fiduciary has engaged in self-dealing, the panel has previously held that the "entire cost" of the transaction is the total amount of the illegal compensation that the fiduciary paid itself. Therefore, the district court correctly determined that the expenses were City National's burden to prove and any doubts related to damages should be resolved in the DOL's favor. In this case, no reasonable jury could find in favor of City National given the paucity of the evidence demonstrating that the additional offsets represent expenses actually incurred by CNB in servicing the Plan. View "Acosta v. City National Corporation" on Justia Law

Posted in: ERISA

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a negligence action brought by plaintiff under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), alleging that he received improper treatment at a VA facility. In this case, after plaintiff presented a claim to the VA, the VA issued a final denial. The panel held that plaintiff's appeal was time-barred, because he failed to file the action within six months after the VA mailed a notice of final denial of plaintiff's initial claim, and the statute of limitations did not restart when the VA declined to consider plaintiff's second attempt to file the same claim. View "Redlin v. United States" on Justia Law