Justia U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Construction Law
Del Webb Cmty, Inc. v. Partington, et al.
Defendants, the owner and operator of a Nevada company that inspected homes for construction defects and encouraged homeowners to file claims against their builder under a Nevada statute, appealed an injunction enjoining them from conducting further inspections. Del Webb Communities, Inc. (Del Webb), the developer of a retirement community where defendants inspected many homes, sued, alleging that defendants' business practices violated federal and state law. The court held that the general prohibition against operating "by means of illegal, unlicensed and false practices" was too vague to stand. Accordingly, the court affirmed the remaining provisions of the injunction but rejected the district court's reliance on Nevada's common law of champerty to create a tort cause of action for which Del Webb could obtain relief. Therefore, the court vacated the injunction in part and affirmed in part.
USA v. Ameyalli Escamilla-Roja
Defendant was arrested and charged with illegal entry into the United States and appeared at a group plea hearing in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona as part of the district's "Operation Streamline." At issue was whether the taking of guilty pleas at a large group plea hearing violated a criminal defendant's rights protected by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11 and the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. The court held that any Rule 11(b)(1) error was harmless where defendant would not have changed her plea of guilty if the magistrate judge had conducted sixty-seven separate advisements of rights and that, although the district court failed to comply strictly with Rule 11(b)(2), such failure was not plain error where the record reflected that defendant's plea was fully informed and the record did not demonstrate that such a plea would have changed if the magistrate had expressly inquired into the voluntariness of her decision. The court also held that the record did not suggest that defendant misunderstood her rights or involuntarily entered her plea and there was no question that this procedure complied with due process. The court further held that the plea hearing did not deprive defendant of her right to counsel where she was provided with adequate, even superior, representation by counsel and failed to demonstrate a reasonable probability that the result of the proceeding would have been different if counsel had not been temporarily separated from her during the group advisement. Accordingly, the court confirmed defendant's conviction and sentence.
Forest Grove School District v. T.A.
Appellant, a former student in the Forest Grove School District ("Forest Grove"), appealed the district court's determination that he was not entitled to an award of reimbursement for his private school tuition under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"), 20 U.S.C. 1415(i)(2)(C). At issue was whether the district court abused its discretion in holding that equitable considerations did not support any award of private-school tuition at Mount Bachelor Academy as a result of Forest Grove's failure to provide appellant with a Free and Appropriate Education ("FAPE") under the IDEA. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in holding that there was sufficient evidence in the record to support the district court's factual determination where appellant's parents enrolled him at Mount Bachelor solely because of his drug abuse and behavioral problems.