Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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Verizon cellular and data subscribers filed a putative class action against Turn, a middle-man for Internet-based advertisements, challenging the company's use of "zombie" cookies. The Ninth Circuit granted a petition for writ of mandamus and vacated the district court's order granting Turn's motion to stay the action and compel arbitration. Applying Bauman v. U. S. Dist. Court, 557 F.2d 650, 654–55 (9th Cir. 1977), the panel held that the majority of the Bauman factors weigh heavily in favor of granting the writ where direct appeal was unavailable; prejudice was not correctable on appeal; and the district court committed clear error by applying New York's equitable estoppel doctrine, rather than California's, and by failing to apply California law correctly. View "Henson v. USDC" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit held that the district court abused its discretion by not staying this federal case in deference to pending state court proceedings under Colo. River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States, 424 U.S. 800, 817-19 (1976). Accordingly, the panel reversed the district court's condemnation order, and remanded for the district court to stay the proceedings. On cross-appeal, the panel affirmed the district court's decision to deny Montanore's motion to determine the validity of the Subject Claims. View "Montanore Minerals Corp. v. Bakie" on Justia Law

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The City of Pomona appealed a jury judgment that SQM was not liable for causing perchlorate contamination in Pomona's water system. The Ninth Circuit held that the district court abused its discretion by limiting the testimony of one of Pomona's experts and failing to make sufficient findings before admitting the testimony of one of SQM's experts. In this case, the record demonstrated that the science of stable isotope analysis evolved significantly during this case's first journey through the appellate system. The panel explained that, by constraining Dr. Sturchio to his 2011 report, the district court abused its discretion. The panel further held that the district court's failure to make any findings regarding the reliability of Dr. Laton's testimony, despite Pomona's Daubert motion, was an abuse of discretion. Therefore, these errors, in combination, were prejudicial. Accordingly, the panel reversed the district court's judgment and remanded for a new trial. View "City of Pomona v. SQM North America Corp." on Justia Law

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After the Blues asserted a lien against plaintiff's putative future settlement proceeds in an ongoing medical negligence action in California state court to satisfy a subrogation clause in a Federal Employee Health Benefit Act (FEHBA) health insurance plan that the Blues administer, plaintiff asked the state court to expunge the lien. The Blues then removed the action to federal court under the federal officer removal statute, 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1). The district court held that the probate exception precluded federal court jurisdiction and remanded. The Ninth Circuit held that it had jurisdiction to review the remand order under 28 U.S.C. 1447(d) and held that the action was properly in federal court. The panel explained that, in administering the FEHBA plan by pursuing subrogation against plaintiff, the Blues "acted under" a federal officer for purposes of the federal officer removal statute, and thus the action was properly removed to federal court. Because neither the probate exception to federal jurisdiction nor the prior exclusive jurisdiction doctrine precludes federal jurisdiction, the panel held that the action should not have been remanded back to state court. View "Goncalves v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Massachusetts" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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The Ninth Circuit dismissed for lack of jurisdiction relators' appeal of the district court's dismissal of their qui tam suit against UOPX. The panel held that the appeal was untimely because relators' post-judgment motion, although styled as a Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) motion, was in substance a motion only to stay the entry of judgment, which did not toll the time to file a notice of appeal. View "United States ex. rel. Hoggett v. University of Phoenix" on Justia Law

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The Tribe filed suit seeking a declaration that it has the right to investigate violations of tribal, state, and federal law, detain, and transport or deliver a non-Indian violator encountered on the reservation to the proper authorities. The Ninth Circuit held that the first amended complaint raised a federal question that provided federal courts with subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1331; the Tribe has presented a prudentially ripe case or controversy and the case is constitutionally ripe as well; and the district court's conclusion that the Tribe's response letter mooted all controversies between the parties was erroneous. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Bishop Paiute Tribe v. Inyo County" on Justia Law

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The United States brought a civil action against private forestry operators and other individuals to recover damages for a forest fire that broke out on private property near the Plumas National Forest in northern California (The Moonlight Fire). The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendants' motion for relief from judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(d)(3). The panel held that the district court properly concluded that Sierra Pacific could not demonstrate fraud on the court regarding any of the alleged fraud it discovered before settlement. Nor do the instances of alleged fraud discovered after settlement constitute actionable fraud on the court warranting Rule 60 relief. Furthermore, there was no appearance of bias created by the instances of alleged conduct in this case -- the judge's action in tweeting the link to an allegedly erroneous news article, so retroactive recusal was not warranted. View "United States v. Sierra Pacific Industries, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Ayco Farm's complaint for breach of an exclusivity agreement under the doctrine of forum non conveniens. The panel held that in performing a forum non conveniens analysis, a district court does not abuse its discretion by comparing the proposed foreign forum with the forum that the plaintiff actually chose, rather than with the United States as a whole. In this case, the district court did not err in affording less deference to Ayco Farm's choice to file a lawsuit in California. Furthermore, the district court properly balanced the private and public interest factors and decided that they strongly favor trial in Mexico. View "Ayco Farms, Inc. v. Rodriguez Ochoa" 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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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