The Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1996 (FCIA) does not limit injunctive relief against an executive branch officer enforcing a court order, and the Sheriff in this case was not entitled to immunity from plaintiffs' request for declaratory and injunctive relief. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of a class action challenging the constitutionality of Washington Revised Code 59.18.375, which allows tenants to be evicted from their homes without a court hearing. The panel held that original plaintiffs had standing to sue at the time they filed this action, which was the relevant time frame for analyzing Article III standing; plaintiffs who were subsequently added to the action did not have standing to sue because their circumstances left their prospects of injury too speculative to support Article III standing; and, even after original plaintiffs settled their dispute with their landlord, the action was not moot because the dispute was capable of repetition, yet evading review. On the merits, the panel held that the district court misread the statute and that the text of section 375 makes clear that a hearing was not mandatory; the Rooker-Feldman doctrine did not apply because plaintiffs were not asking the district court to review and reject the judgment entered against them in state court; the Sheriff's two alternative arguments for affirmance of the district court's judgment -- that the action must be brought under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and that the Sheriff was entitled to qualified immunity -- lacked merit; and the Sheriff's remaining arguments were without merit. Accordingly, the panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Moore v. Urquhart" on Justia Law
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment on the pleadings in an action challenging a city ordinance that limits the rights of landlords to commence and conduct buyout negotiations. The panel held that the Ordinance did not prevent plaintiffs, an individual property owner and several landlord organizations, from commencing buyout negotiations if a tenant refuses to sign the disclosure form; the Disclosure Provision did not violate plaintiffs' First Amendment rights; the creation of a publicly searchable database of buyout agreements did not violate landlords' right to privacy under the California Constitution; the Ordinance did not violate landlords' rights to equal protection or due process; and the Condominium Conversion Provision did not violate landlords' "liberty of contract." View "San Francisco Apartment Assoc. v. City and County of San Francisco" on Justia Law
Plaintiffs, four landlords, challenged the constitutionality of the City's Rent Escrow Account Program (REAP). The Housing Department places property into REAP when a landlord fails to repair habitability violations and tenants pay a reduced rent. The court concluded that placing plaintiffs' property into REAP did not violate plaintiffs' substantive due process rights where REAP served legitimate governmental goals and was rationally related to a legitimate governmental purpose; plaintiffs' procedural challenge could not support an as-applied substantive due process claim; and denial of leave to amend the complaint was not an abuse of discretion. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint. View "Sylvia Landfield Trust v. City of Los Angeles" on Justia Law
Posted in: Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Government & Administrative Law, Landlord - Tenant, U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Plaintiff sought injunctive relief and damages against the Bank after it filed an unlawful detainer action against her in state court without giving 90 days notice to vacate the foreclosed property. At issue on appeal was whether the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 (PTFA), Pub. L. No. 111-22, 701-04, 123 Stat. 1632, 1660-62, provided a private right of action. The court concluded that dismissal of the state unlawful detainer proceedings did not moot plaintiff's claim; the court agreed with the Third Circuit that the regulation of eviction proceedings "does not implicate an important state interest" under Younger v. Harris; but plaintiff had no cognizable interest under the PTFA. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint. View "Logan v. U.S. Bank" on Justia Law
Posted in: Banking, Landlord - Tenant, Real Estate & Property Law, U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Appellants appealed the district court's order awarding them attorney fees following settlement of their claims against appellees brought under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3601-3619, and California law. At issue was whether the district court erred by deducting some of the hours billed and lowered the hourly rates requested by appellants. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion either by relying, in part, on its own knowledge and experience, or by setting an hourly rate of $350 for appellants' lawyers. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed.
Posted in: Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Landlord - Tenant, Legal Ethics, U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals