Articles Posted in Civil Rights

by
The passage of Assembly Bill 97, a massive reform package designed to streamline public education financing and decentralize education governance, did not abrogate the Ninth Circuit's decisions in which the panel held that California school districts and county offices of education (COEs) are "arms of the state" entitled to state sovereign immunity. Applying the factors set forth in Mitchell v. Los Angeles Community College District, 861 F.2d 198, the panel held that school districts and COEs in California remain arms of the state and cannot face suit. Accordingly, the panel affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's lawsuit against the Orange County Department of Education where plaintiff alleged claims related to his termination with the Department. View "Sato v. Orange County Department of Education" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit alleging that the NCAA's policy of excluding anyone with a felony conviction from coaching at NCAA-certified youth athletic tournaments violates Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000a(a). Section 2000a(a) prohibits racial discrimination in places of public accommodation. The Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the NCAA and held that even if disparate-impact claims were cognizable under Title II, plaintiff has not shown that an equally effective, less discriminatory alternative to the NCAA's felon-exclusion policy exists, as he must do under the three-step analysis for disparate-impact claims set forth in Wards Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio, 490 U.S. 642 (1989). The panel noted that it need not decide whether to endorse or reject disparate-impact liability under Title II. View "Hardie v. NCAA" on Justia Law

by
San Francisco's Pregnancy Information Disclosure and Protection Ordinance, a law designed to protect indigent women facing unexpected pregnancies from the harms posed by false or misleading advertising by limited services pregnancy centers (LSPCs), is constitutional and not preempted by state law. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's decisions in favor of the City and held that the Ordinance is facially valid where it only regulates unprotected commercial speech and is not void for vagueness. The Ordinance was valid as applied to First Resort because it did not regulate First Resort's protected speech, First Resort's commercial speech was not inextricably intertwined with its protected speech, and the Ordinance did not discriminate based on viewpoint. The panel also held that the Ordinance does not violate the Equal Protection Clause, and is not preempted by California Business and Professions Code 17500. View "First Resort, Inc. v. Herrera" on Justia Law

by
Oregon sought a declaratory judgment that, under state law, the DEA must obtain a court order to enforce investigative subpoenas. The ACLU intervened, arguing that the DEA's use of subpoenas violated their Fourth Amendment rights. The district court reached the merits of the Fourth Amendment claim and found a violation of privacy interests asserted by the ACLU. The Ninth Circuit reversed without reaching the merits of the Fourth Amendment claim, holding that the ACLU lacked Article III standing to seek declaratory and injunctive relief prohibiting the DEA from obtaining prescription records without a warrant supported by probable cause. The panel explained that the Supreme Court recently clarified this independent standing requirement for intervenors in Town of Chester v. Laroe Estates, No. 16-605, slip op. at 6 (U.S. June 5, 2017). The panel also held that the federal administrative subpoena statute, 21 U.S.C. 876, preempted Oregon's statutory court order requirement. View "OR Prescription Drug Monitoring Program v. ACLU" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against his former employer, Neiman Marcus, alleging interference with the exercise of his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12203(b). The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's order finding this action moot and granting summary judgment to Neiman Marcus. The panel held that section 12203 authorized the district court to award nominal damages as equitable relief to plaintiff. Accordingly, the panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Bayer v. Neiman Marcus Group, Inc." on Justia Law

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
RDN filed suit challenging the constitutionality of California Business and Professions Code Section 25503(f)–(h), which forbids manufacturers and wholesalers of alcoholic beverages from giving anything of value to retailers for advertising their alcoholic products. The Ninth Circuit explained that it had considered the same challenge to section 25503(h) thirty years ago in Actmedia, Inc. v. Stroh, 830 F.2d 957 (9th Cir. 1986). The en banc court reaffirmed Actmedia's core holding that section 25503(h) withstands First Amendment scrutiny because it directly and materially advanced the State's interest in maintaining a triple-tiered market system, and because there was a sufficient fit between that interest and the legislative scheme. In rejecting the First Amendment challenge, the en banc court applied the four-part test established by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. v. Public Service Commission of New York, 447 U.S. 557 (1980), for evaluating restrictions on commercial speech. However, the en banc court disapproved of Actmedia's reliance on California's interest in promoting temperance as a justification for section 25503(h). Therefore,the en banc court affirmed the district court's orders granting summary judgment to defendant. View "Retail Digital Network, LLC v. Prieto" on Justia Law

by
The Ninth Circuit held that the search of claimant's vehicle following two coordinated traffic stops violated the Constitution and affirmed the district court's order granting claimant's motion to suppress. In this case, claimant's roadside detention was unreasonably prolonged in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The subsequent dog sniff and search of the vehicle followed directly in an unbroken causal chain of events from that constitutional violation. Consequently, the seized currency was the fruit of the poisonous tree and was properly suppressed under the exclusionary rule. View "United States v. Gorman" on Justia Law