Justia U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

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A claim is subject to a bona fide dispute as to amount within the meaning of 11 U.S.C. 303(b)(1) even if a portion of that claim is undisputed. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the bankruptcy and district court's decisions holding that the MDOR lacked standing to file the involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition against debtor. Section 303(b)(1) states that petitioning creditor's claims must not be contingent or the subject of a bona fide dispute as to liability or amount. In this case, the MDOR's claim for the 2004 tax year was subject to a bona fide dispute as to amount notwithstanding debtor's concession that the deduction challenged in Audit Issue 4 was improper. However, because all other petitioning creditors have withdrawn from the proceedings, the panel remanded to the bankruptcy court to determine whether this case should be dismissed under section 303(j)(3). View "State of Montana Department of Revenue v. Blixseth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy
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A plaintiff who obtains a preliminary injunction under the All Writs Act does not qualify as a prevailing party for fee-shifting purposes by virtue of that injunction, where the order granting injunctive relief makes no mention of the merits of the plaintiff's claims. In this case, plaintiffs filed suit against the State of Hawaii and other defendants, alleging that defendants became state actors by conducting elections and that the State's involvement in the self-governance process violated the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 because of the race-based restrictions on eligibility. Although the district court denied the injunction and this court denied a motion for an injunction pending appeal, the Supreme Court subsequently granted plaintiffs' application for an injunction under the All Writs Act. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of attorney fees under 42 U.S.C. 1988, holding that there was no indication that the Supreme Court's injunction order addressed the merits. Furthermore, plaintiffs sought and received a voluntary dismissal without prejudice in the district court, which was the opposite of an adjudication on the merits. Therefore, plaintiffs were not prevailing parties entitled to attorney fees. View "Makekau v. Hawaii" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision denying a waiver of deportation under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(1)(H), based on the frivolous asylum application bar at 8 U.S.C. 1158(d)(6). Section 1158(d)(6) states that if the Attorney General determines that an alien has knowingly made a frivolous application for asylum and the alien has received the notice under paragraph (4)(A), the alien shall be permanently ineligible for any benefits under this chapter. The panel held that the frivolous asylum application bar precluded an applicant from receiving all benefits under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The court held that the phrase "this chapter" refers to Chapter 12 of Title 8 of the U.S. Code, the chapter in which the section is found. Therefore, as a result of the frivolous asylum application finding, the panel held that petitioner was barred from receiving all benefits under the INA, including a waiver of deportation. View "Manhani v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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The Ninth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision concluding that petitioner was ineligible for a waiver of removability under section 237(a)(1)(H) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The panel held that a noncitizen who seeks a section 237(a)(1)(H) waiver is "otherwise admissible" even though he failed to return to his country of origin for at least two years, as required by INA section 212(e). Therefore, the BIA's contrary interpretation contravened the statute's text, and petitioner was otherwise admissible for purposes of section 237(a)(1)(H) waiver notwithstanding 212(e). In this case, notwithstanding his failure to satisfy or receive a waiver of the two-year residency requirement, petitioner was admissible under several provisions of 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15). The panel remanded for the agency to use its discretion in determining whether to grant the requested waiver. View "Fares v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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Plaintiff filed suit under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), challenging the denial of his U visa petition. The district court dismissed plaintiff's action after determining that section 701(a)(2) of the APA precluded judicial review. The Ninth Circuit held that section 701(a)(2) -- which precludes judicial review of actions "committed to agency discretion by law," where there is no judicially manageable standard by which a court can judge how the agency should exercise its discretion -- does not bar judicial review of plaintiff's APA claims. The court explained that 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(U) and 8 U.S.C. 1184(p) provide meaningful standards by which to review USCIS's denial of plaintiff's U visa. Furthermore, after sua sponte consideration, the panel held that section 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), which bars judicial review of certain immigration decisions or action, does not strip jurisdiction over plaintiff's action. View "Perez Perez v. Wolf" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of class actions in MDL brought by plaintiffs against boxers and promoters, alleging that defendants concealed a pre-existing injury to boxer Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao, and that plaintiffs would not have purchased tickets to watch the fight had they known of the injury. The panel held that spectators who were disappointed in a sporting event did not suffer a legal cognizable injury. The panel also held that plaintiffs essentially got what they paid for -- a full-length regulation fight between two boxing legends. In this case, Pacquiao’s shoulder condition did not prevent him from going the full twelve rounds, the maximum number permitted for professional boxing contests. View "Alessi v. Mayweather" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit granted a petition for review of an ICE order reinstating petitioner's prior removal order. Determining that it had jurisdiction, the panel held that petitioner timely challenged the order reinstating his prior removal order. Based on In Matter of Farinas, 12 I. & N. Dec. 467 (BIA 1967), the panel held that petitioner has shown a gross miscarriage of justice. In this case, there was no valid legal basis for petitioner's removal order at the time of its execution in 2008 because the conviction on which it had been based had been expunged in 1999. Therefore, the panel held that a collateral attack on petitioner's prior removal order was appropriate in this case. The panel also held that there was no diligence requirement that limits the time during which a collateral attack on that deportation or removal order may be made based on a showing of gross miscarriage of justice. The panel did not reach petitioner's due process and regulatory arguments. View "Vega-Anguiano v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's determination that petitioner was removeable. The panel held that petitioner's prior conviction for first degree unlawful imprisonment under Hawaii Revised Statutes 707-721(1) is categorically a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) that made him removable. Applying the categorical approach, the panel explained that the Hawaii statute requires proof that the defendant knew that his actions would expose another person to a risk of serious bodily injury, and the panel's decision accords with the decisions of its sister circuits. View "Fugow v. Barr" on Justia Law

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After defendant pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, he appealed the denial of his motion to suppress evidence, as well as conditions of his supervised release. The Ninth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction, holding that the search of defendant's home was lawful. However, the panel held that three conditions of supervised release -- requiring defendant to support his dependents and meet other family responsibilities, that he work regularly at a lawful occupation, and that he notify third parties of risks that may be occasioned by his criminal record or personal history or characteristics -- were unconstitutionally vague under United States v. Evans, 883 F.3d 1154 (9th Cir. 2018). The panel vacated the supervised release conditions and remanded with instructions to impose whatever alternative conditions the district court deemed appropriate. The panel explained that rewriting a provision of a sentence would exceed its authority under 18 U.S.C. 3742(f)(1), and thus it did not need to consider how section 3742(f)(1) affected its authority to modify a sentence without remanding. View "United States v. Ped" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of plaintiffs' Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) motion for relief from judgment in an action under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). In Phelps v. Alameida, 569 F.3d 1120, 1135–40 (9th Cir. 2009), the panel set out the analysis that courts should employ to guide their discretion when evaluating the merits of a Rule 60(b)(6) motion that seeks relief from the dismissal of a habeas corpus petition on the ground of an intervening change in the law. In this case, plaintiffs sought relief from judgment based on an intervening change of law in Microsoft Corp. v. Baker, 137 S. Ct. 1702 (2017). The panel held that many of the Phelps factors were relevant to the Rule 60(b)(6) analysis in the present context, and reemphasized that courts must consider all of the relevant circumstances surrounding the specific motion before the court in order to ensure that justice be done in light of all the facts. In this case, the panel held that the district court's denial of plaintiffs' Rule 60(b)(6) motion rested upon an erroneous view of the law as to several significant factors, and thus the panel remanded with directions. View "Henson v. Fidelity National Financial Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure