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

by
The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal, for failure to state a claim, of the Metlakatlan Indian Community’s suit against Alaskan officials, claiming that an 1891 statute granted the Community and its members the right to fish in the off-reservation waters where they had traditionally fished and that they, therefore, were not subject to an Alaska statute’s limited entry program for commercial fishing in waters designated as Districts 1 and 2.   The panel held that the 1891 Act also granted to the Community and its members a nonexclusive right to fish in the off-reservation waters where they had traditionally fished. The panel applied the Indian canon of construction, which required it to construe the 1891 Act liberally in favor of the Community and to infer rights that supported the purpose of the reservation. The panel concluded that a central purpose of the reservation, understood in light of the history of the Community, was that the Metlakatlans would continue to support themselves by fishing. The panel, therefore, held that the 1891 Act preserved for the Community and its members an implied right to non-exclusive off-reservation fishing for personal consumption and ceremonial purposes, as well as for commercial purposes, within Alaska’s Districts 1 and 2, which encompassed waters included in the traditional fishing grounds of the Metlakatlans. View "METLAKATLA INDIAN COMMUNITY V. MICHAEL DUNLEAVY, ET AL" on Justia Law

by
The Ninth Circuit certified the following questions to the Hawaii Supreme Court: 1. May a Hawaii court assert personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state corporate defendant if the plaintiff’s injury “relates to,” but does not “arise from,” the defendant’s instate acts enumerated in Hawaii’s general long-arm statute? Compare Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court, 141 S. Ct. 1017 (2021), with Haw. Rev. Stat. Section 634-35. 2. In light of Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court, does Hawaii’s general long-arm statute, Haw. Rev. Stat. Section 634-35, permit a Hawaii court to assert personal jurisdiction to the full extent permitted by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment? View "MATT YAMASHITA V. LG CHEM, LTD., ET AL" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
by
Petitioner petitioned for habeas relief after being in immigration detention for over a year without a bond hearing. During her initial removal proceedings, she was subject to mandatory detention under 8 U.S.C. Section 1226(c) (“Subsection C”) due to a conviction. Thus, she was not statutorily entitled to a bond hearing. However, in Casas Castrillon v. Department of Homeland Security, the Ninth Circuit held that once a noncitizen’s immigration case reaches judicial review, the authority for holding a Subsection C detainee shifts to 8 U.S.C. Section 1226(a) (“Subsection A”), which does entitle a noncitizen to a bond hearing. Accordingly, Petitioner argued she was entitled to a bond hearing.   The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court’s grant of habeas relief and held that a noncitizen of the United States—who initially was subject to mandatory detention under 8 U.S.C. Section 1226(c)—is not entitled to a bond hearing under 8 U.S.C. Section 1226(a) while awaiting a decision from this court on a petition for review.   Here, the panel observed that the Supreme Court’s decision in Jennings does not directly address the question in Casas Castrillon—when, if ever, mandatory detention under Subsection C ends. However, the panel explained that Jennings’s reasoning makes clear that Subsection A and Subsection C apply to discrete categories of noncitizens, and not to different stages of a noncitizen’s legal proceedings. The district court declined to reach Petitioner’s alternative argument that she was entitled to habeas relief as a matter of due process. The panel remanded to the district court to consider this question. View "LEXIS HERNANDEZ AVILEZ V. MERRICK GARLAND, ET AL" on Justia Law

by
A Social Security Administration ALJ, appointed by agency staff rather than by the Commissioner as required, reviewed and denied claimant’s initial claims. Without challenging the ALJ’s appointment, the claimant appealed to the district court and prevailed in part. The district court vacated the 2017 ALJ decision and ordered a new hearing because the ALJ failed to properly consider certain evidence. The case returned to the same ALJ, who by then had been properly ratified by the Acting Commissioner. The ALJ again denied benefits, and claimant appealed to the district court, raising the issue of an Appointments Clause violation. The district court affirmed the ALJ decision and denied the Appointments Clause claim because the 2017 decision had been vacated and the ALJ was properly appointed when she issued the 2019 decision.   Because the ALJ’s decision was tainted by a prior Appointments Clause violation, the Ninth Circuit vacated the district court’s decision affirming the Commissioner of Social Security’s denial of claimant’s application for benefits under the Social Security Act and remanded with instructions to the Commissioner to assign the case to a different, validly appointed ALJ to rehear and adjudicate claimant’s case de novo. The panel held that under Lucia, the claimant was entitled to a new hearing before a different ALJ. The panel concluded that claimants are entitled to an independent decision issued by a different ALJ if a timely challenged ALJ decision is tainted by a pre-ratification ALJ decision. View "BRIAN CODY V. KILOLO KIJAKAZI" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff sued Carroll College, alleging that it refused to renew its contract as a golf coach after he complained about gender inequity at the college’s athletic department. The district court ruled that Plaintiff failed to make the prima facie case that the nonrenewal of the contract was an adverse employment action.   The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s summary judgment in favor of Defendant. The panel held that the refusal to renew a contract may be an adverse employment action for a Title IX retaliation claim because it could deter a reasonable employee from reporting discrimination. The panel remanded the case to the district court to consider Carroll College’s alternative bases for summary judgment. View "BENNETT MACINTYRE V. CARROLL COLLEGE" on Justia Law

by
The appeal was brought in the name of purported clients of the law firms of Gallo LLP and Wynne Law Firm (“Gallo/Wynne”). Gallo/Wynne originally sought to represent a putative class of Walgreen’s store managers in the San Francisco Superior Court in a wage and hour action (the Morales action). A different group of attorneys from the firms of Miller Shah LLP and Edgar Law Firm LLC (“Miller/Edgar”) filed a substantially similar wage and hour action on behalf of Walgreen’s store managers in the Eastern District of California (the Caves action). Gallo/Wynne sought to encourage putative class members in the Caves action to instead join a separate “mass action” to be filed by Gallo/Wynne as Gallo/Wynne clients.The district court issued an order granting Miller/Edgar’s ex parte application for Corrective Notice to the allegedly misleading Letter and invalidated all Gallo/Wynne procured opt-outs from the Caves action. The district court issued a second order granting Walgreen’s motion to modify the scope of the Corrective Notice to be sent to all Gallo/Wynne procured Caves opt-outs. Appellants are purported clients of Gallo/Wynne, and they appealed these two orders.The Ninth Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction and denied Appellants’ request for mandamus relief. The panel held that the two orders were amenable to review after final judgment, and this placed them outside of the third collateral order requirement: effective unreviewability. The panel held that the dispositive third factor–that the district court order is clearly erroneous as a matter of law– was not met here. View "RAQUEL AGUILAR, ET AL V. WALGREEN CO." on Justia Law

by
Petitioner was convicted of 25 felonies (mostly residential burglaries) committed against multiple victims over a three-month period. The trial court imposed consecutive sentences on all but two of the 25 counts, resulting in an overall sentence of 292 years imprisonment.   The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of habeas relief. Rejecting Petitioner’s constitutional claim, the Arizona Court of Appeals concluded that proportionality should be assessed based on each individual conviction and sentence, not the cumulative effect of consecutive sentences and that none of Petitioner’s individual sentences were disproportionate. Petitioner argued that the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act’s (AEDPA’s) deferential standard of review does not apply to the Arizona Court of Appeals’ decision because that court did not consider the cumulative impact of his sentence and that he was entitled instead to de novo review on this claim. The panel concluded that the Arizona Court of Appeals made a merits determination and that AEDPA deference applies.   Applying AEDPA deference, the panel noted that there is no clearly established law from the Supreme Court on whether Eighth Amendment sentence proportionality must be analyzed on a cumulative or individual basis when a defendant is sentenced on multiple offenses, and that other than the basic principle of proportionality, the only thing that the Supreme Court has established is that the rule against grossly disproportionate sentences is violated only in the exceedingly rare and extreme case. The panel concluded that it cannot say that the Arizona Court of Appeals’ decision was contrary to, or unreasonably applied, clearly established federal law. View "ATDOM PATSALIS V. DAVID SHINN, ET AL" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff worked as a licensed marriage and family therapist for more than twenty years and his Christian views inform his work. Plaintiff sued state officials (“Washington”) in May 2021, seeking to enjoin SB 5722. Equal Rights Washington (“ERW”), the lead organization supporting SB 5722’s passage, intervened as a defendant. Plaintiff sought a preliminary injunction, which Washington and ERW both opposed, and Defendants filed motions to dismiss his complaint.   The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s lawsuit. The panel held that Plaintiff had standing to bring his claims in an individual capacity and the claims were prudentially ripe. Plaintiff’s complaint showed a plan or desire to violate Washington’s law; Washington confirmed that it will enforce the ban on conversion therapy “as it enforces other restrictions on unprofessional conduct;” and Plaintiff alleged that the law had chilled his speech and that he has self-censored himself out of fear of enforcement. Plaintiff did not, however, have standing to bring claims on behalf of his minor clients.   Further, the panel held that Washington’s licensing scheme for health care providers did not violate the First or Fourteenth Amendments. The panel held that the law was a neutral law targeted at preventing the harms associated with conversion therapy, and not at the religious exercise of those who wish to practice this type of therapy on minors. Finally, Washington’s law was not unconstitutionally vague. The law gave fair notice of what conduct was proscribed to a reasonable person and contained standards limiting the discretion of those who will enforce it. View "BRIAN TINGLEY V. ROBERT FERGUSON, ET AL" on Justia Law

by
Petitioner raised several ineffective assistance of counsel claims under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 688 (1984). The Ninth Circuit affirmed and applied AEDPA deference to the state habeas courts’ denial of relief. Taking as true that trial counsel failed to consult with experts at all, the panel held that even assuming that this failure fell below an objective standard of reasonableness, it did not create the necessary prejudice to warrant relief. The panel further held that it was not objectively unreasonable for the state habeas court to conclude that trial counsel's conduct was not constitutionally deficient and that any error that might have occurred did not create sufficient prejudice to call into question the outcome of the case. The panel held that even if trial counsel’s failure to address the respective heights fell below professional standards, a reasonable jurist could conclude that the outcome of the trial would not have been different if trial counsel had done so. View "ORLANDO LOPEZ V. TRENT ALLEN" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
by
After the district court denied his motion to suppress, Defendant pled guilty to smuggling ammunition in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 554(a). Defendant timely appealed the denial of his motion to suppress. This appeal challenges that denial. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress because of the consistent conclusions of Judge Gould and Judge Bea, which represent a majority of the panel, even though the reasoning of Judge Gould and Judge Bea in their separate concurrences is different.   The Ninth Circuit noted that one exception to the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of searches and seizures conducted without prior approval by judge or magistrate is a Terry stop, which allows an officer to briefly detain an individual when the officer has a reasonable articulable suspicion that an individual is engaged in a crime, during which stop an officer may also conduct a limited protective frisk if the officer has reason to believe the individual has a weapon. The panel noted that another exception is when an officer has probable cause to arrest an individual. View "USA V. SERGIO GUERRERO" on Justia Law