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A settlement agreement entered into under an authority other than the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) may give rise to a CERCLA contribution action. A "corrective measure" under a different environmental statute, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), qualifies as a "response" action under CERCLA. In this case, the Ninth Circuit held that Asarco did not resolve its liability under the 1998 RCRA Decree. Therefore, Asarco could not have brought its contribution action in 1998, and the statute of limitations did not begin to run with entry of the 1998 RCRA Decree. Accordingly, the district court erred in dismissing Asarco's action on statute of limitations grounds. The panel vacated and remanded for further proceedings to determine whether Asarco was entitled to contribution for the response costs it incurred under the 2009 agreement. View "Asarco LLC V. Atlantic Richfield Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Environmental Law

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A criminal forfeiture action does not constitute an "alternate remedy" to a civil qui tam action under the False Claims Act, entitling a relator to intervene in the criminal action and recover a share of the proceeds pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3730(c)(5). In this case, the Ninth Circuit held that the district court correctly denied relators' motion to intervene in the criminal forfeiture proceeding because the proper remedy was through their FCA civil action. The panel rejected relators' arguments claiming otherwise. Furthermore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying an evidentiary hearing or in declining to impose sanctions on the government. Accordingly, the panel affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Van Dyck" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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A criminal forfeiture action does not constitute an "alternate remedy" to a civil qui tam action under the False Claims Act, entitling a relator to intervene in the criminal action and recover a share of the proceeds pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3730(c)(5). In this case, the Ninth Circuit held that the district court correctly denied relators' motion to intervene in the criminal forfeiture proceeding because the proper remedy was through their FCA civil action. The panel rejected relators' arguments claiming otherwise. Furthermore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying an evidentiary hearing or in declining to impose sanctions on the government. Accordingly, the panel affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Van Dyck" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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A plaintiff may rely on the "deterrent effect doctrine" to establish constitutional standing under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., where she lacks firsthand knowledge that an establishment is not in ADA compliance. A plaintiff has constitutional standing where her only motivation for visiting a facility is to test it for ADA compliance. The Ninth Circuit held that, although plaintiffs in this case have standing to maintain their ADA suit, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying class certification because plaintiffs failed to meet the commonality requirement in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. View "Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center v. Hospitality Properties Trust" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against Royal under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C. 227, seeking to hold Royal vicariously liable for several telephone calls made by telemarketers employed by AAAP. The Ninth Circuit applied the ten non-exhaustive factors set forth in the Restatement (Second) of Agency 220(2) (1958), and found that AAAP's telemarketers were acting as independent contractors rather than as Royal's agents. Therefore, the court held that Royal was not vicariously liable for the telephone calls and the district court properly granted summary judgment in favor of Royal. View "Jones v. Royal Administration Services" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit granted the petition for review of the BIA's decision concluding that petitioner was ineligible for cancellation of removal because his conviction for petit theft in Idaho was a crime involving moral turpitude. The panel held that the record of conviction was inadequate to determine whether petitioner was convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude because the record did not identify any particular statute of conviction and Idaho's petit theft statute was overbroad under the categorical approach. Under the modified categorical approach, the record contained insufficient information to determine whether petitioner was convicted under one of the Idaho petit theft provisions meeting the generic federal offense. The panel also held that the BIA erred by deciding at Chevron step one that an "offense under" 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(i) did not include the within-five-years element. The panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Lozano-Arredondo v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial of habeas relief to petitioner, who was convicted of two murders and sentenced to death. The panel held, after supplemental briefing regarding the impact of McKinney v. Ryan, 813 F.3d 798 (9th Cir. 2015) (en banc), that neither the Arizona Supreme Court nor the trial court applied an impermissible causal-nexus test to exclude mitigating evidence. In this case, both courts considered all of petitioner's evidence offered in mitigation and found it insufficient to outweigh the serious aggravating factors. Therefore, there was no violation of clearly established federal law. View "Greenway v. Ryan" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit filed an amended opinion granting the petition for review of the BIA's decision finding him ineligible for cancellation of removal based on his conviction for delivery of a controlled substance under Oregon Revised Statutes 475.992(1)(a). The panel held that because the Controlled Substances Act does not punish soliciting delivery of controlled substances, section 475.992(1)(a) could not be a categorical match to an aggravated felony under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii). Furthermore, because section 475.992(1)(a) was indivisible, the modified categorical approach does not apply. The panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Sandoval v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The City of Pomona appealed a jury judgment that SQM was not liable for causing perchlorate contamination in Pomona's water system. The Ninth Circuit held that the district court abused its discretion by limiting the testimony of one of Pomona's experts and failing to make sufficient findings before admitting the testimony of one of SQM's experts. In this case, the record demonstrated that the science of stable isotope analysis evolved significantly during this case's first journey through the appellate system. The panel explained that, by constraining Dr. Sturchio to his 2011 report, the district court abused its discretion. The panel further held that the district court's failure to make any findings regarding the reliability of Dr. Laton's testimony, despite Pomona's Daubert motion, was an abuse of discretion. Therefore, these errors, in combination, were prejudicial. Accordingly, the panel reversed the district court's judgment and remanded for a new trial. View "City of Pomona v. SQM North America Corp." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit held that the Secretary erred in approving a state plan amendment (SPA) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1396(a)(30)(A), without requiring any evidence regarding the extent that such care and services were available to the general population in the geographic area. In this case, the Secretary's approval of the SPA absent considerations of some form of comparative-access data was arbitrary and capricious. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the Secretary and remanded. View "Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian v. Price" on Justia Law