9th Circuit Court of Appeals

2011

July 8 summaries

Ingrim v. Oroudjian

It is not an abuse of discretion when a district judge awards attorney fees based on settlement discussions, superfluous work, and the judges own experience of what constitutes reasonable compensation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Attorney Fees

Pickard v. Department of Justice

Under FOIA, the government cannot refuse to admit or deny the existence of records pertaining to a confidential informant when the government officially confirmed the informant’s identity and status in an open court proceeding.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Van Dusen v. USDC-AZP

Whether § 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) applies to truck drivers raises a jurisdictional question of first impression and does not warrant a writ of mandamus.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

Greenway v. Schriro

Under AEDPA, a federal habeas petitioner must exhaust their claims in state court before petitioning a federal court by “fully and fairly presenting” the factual and legal basis for the claim to the state court. It is enough to satisfy the fair presentation requirement when the petitioner includes the operative facts and legal basis for the claim in an amended post-conviction relief petition.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Hoye v. City of Oakland

Laws requiring consent to speak to patients approaching abortion clinics are valid if they do not discriminate based on speech content; discriminatory enforcement of such laws is not constitutional and must be remedied by the district court.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

TrafficSchool.com, Inc. v. Edriver, Inc.

In a claim under the Lanham Act, “when the plaintiff competes directly with defendant, a misrepresentation will give rise to a presumed commercial injury that is sufficient to establish standing.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Corporations

United States v. Spentz

A defendant is not entitled to a jury instruction unless he offers minimal evidence which satisfies all elements of the defense; a multi-million dollar payoff for stealing cocaine from a drug cartel does not satisfy the inducement prong of entrapment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Payne v. Peninsula School District

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires remedy exhaustion under 20 U.S.C. § 1415(l) when (1) there is an IDEA claim or a functional equivalent, (2) if plaintiff seeks prospective injunctive relief to alter their Individual Education Program, or (3) if plaintiff is seeking to enforce rights that arise as a result of a denial of public education. In addition the exhaustion requirement is a claims processing provision and not a jurisdictional requirement.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

August 79 summaries

Jachetta v. United States

Although 25 U.S.C. § 345 waives sovereign immunity of the federal government in condemnation proceedings, it does not do so for inverse-condemnation actions; 25 U.S.C. § 345 does not extend waiver of immunity against states.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Alpha Delta v. Reed

A student group denied status at a public university does not violate freedom of speech or association if the reason is viewpoint-neutral. A triable issue of fact exists under the free exercise clause and equal protection clause when a public university does not comply with its own nondiscrimination policy.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Getz v. The Boeing Company

Defendants were entitled to a contractor defense when the United States approved reasonably precise specification of the defendants’ product, the defendant’s equipment conformed to those specifications, and the supplier warned the U.S. about known dangers of the product.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Lee v. Lampert

A credible claim of actual innocence constitutes an equitable exception to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act’s (1996) limitations period, and a petitioner who makes such a showing may pass through to Schlup gateway.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Stanley

Consent to search a computer by an individual thought to be a co-owner will survive Fourth Amendment scrutiny when the searching officer believed, based on the totality of the circumstances, that the consenting individual had authority.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Close v. Thomas

The Court denied Close and nine other prisoners habeas corpus petitions, holding that the plain language of the statute does not allow BOP to determine RDAP waitlist positions based on a potential early release date after successful completion of the program.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

In re: Palmdale Hills Property

In chapter 11 bankruptcies, equitable subordination violates an automatic stay when it “has the effect of taking a valid, enforceable claim and its accompanying lien from the debtor’s estate.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

Perfect 10 v. Google

In a case for preliminary injunction relief, a plaintiff’s likelihood of success on the merits does not create a presumption that there will be a likelihood of irreparable harm if an injunction is not granted.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Copyright

United States v. Houston

The offering of new, potentially exculpating evidence by the prosecution to the defense during the cross-examination of a witness does not constitute a Brady violation when the value of that evidence was first learned by the parties during the testimony of the witness.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. McCarty

A TSA screener’s search of checked luggage occurs “within the scope of the ongoing lawful administrative search” when the discovery of contraband coincides with the search for explosives and safety hazards.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Walls v. Central Contra Costa Transit Auth.

After the signing of a Last Chance Agreement, an employee may not be considered an at-will employee and thus requires notice prior to dismissal.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Estate of Petter v. CIR

An audit of a person’s taxes is not a condition precedent to make a transfer effective for the purpose of a charitable gift.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Johnson v. Lucent Technologies

Since a § 1981 retaliation claim was subject to the federal four-year statute of limitations and not the state law’s two-year statute of limitations, the claim was timely. Furthermore, in an IIED claim, since the two possibly harmful events occurred less than two years before a complaint was filed, the court could not determine if the claim was time barred. Finally, since the defendant failed to alert the court to what new facts could have been alleged in his later claims, the claims were properly dismissed.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Disability Law

United States v. Bingham

A defendant’s leadership involvement in prison gang operations to promote and orchestrate acts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy, is sufficient for supporting convictions of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations ACT (“RICO”) and for committing violent crimes in aid of racketeering (“VICAR”).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Espinoza-Baza

The defense of derivative citizenship is not appropriate where the theory is not supported in the record by a factual foundation and the proffered evidence is no more than a mere “scintilla of evidence.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Ginsberg v. Northwest, Inc.

The Airline Deregulation Act (“ADA”) does not preempt a claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, because state enforcement of the covenant does not “force the Airlines to adopt or change their prices, routes or services – the prerequisite for ADA preemption.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

K2 America Corp. v. Roland Oil & Gas

Federal courts lack subject matter jurisdiction over cases involving lands held in trust by the United States for Indian allottees where the Indian allottees are not party to the case and the precise dispute at issue does not arise under federal law.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

United States v. Stinson

Defendant’s convictions of RICO conspiracy under 18 U.S.C. § 3237 and defendant Stinson’s conviction of a VICAR crime under 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(1) were confirmed after appealing thirteen procedural decisions.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

CollegeSource v. AcademyOne

Misappropriation of material by an agent, not in the forum, on behalf of a defendant, also not in the forum, may still provide sufficient grounds for a court to find specific personal jurisdiction in the forum.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Mavrix Photo v. Brand Technologies

A corporation that deliberately and continuously exploits a market in the forum state, is subject to specific personal jurisdiction when it satisfies purposeful direction of activities within the forum state and purposefully avails itself to the privilege of conducting activities within the forum.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

United States v. Aguilar-Reyes

FRCP 35(a), which allows a district court to modify a sentence of imprisonment within fourteen days after sentencing, is jurisdictional and not merely a time-related directive. Thus, the district court lacked jurisdiction when it resentenced the defendant fourteen days after the original sentence ruling.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

United States v. Della Porta

A judge does not abuse his discretion or unduly influence a jury when he allows supplemental closing arguments without identifying specific issues that have deadlocked a jury.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Washington

The use of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) may not be used like 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to reopen appellate cases without the § 2255 requirement for a certificate of appealability.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Pitts v. Terrible Herbst, Inc.

A Rule 68 offer of judgment to the class representative does not render a class action suit moot when the representative may still timely file for class certification. Such filing will relate back to the date the claim was filed.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Brandt v. American Bankers Insurance

Where the court finds that a defendant acted culpably when the defendant failed to respond to the complaint, the court is not precluded, as a matter of law, from setting aside the default judgment for excusable neglect under Federal Rule of Procedure 60(b)(1).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Soriano-Vino v. Holder

When an Immigration and Naturalization Service officer obtains information from an individual’s own statements and residency card, it is not violating the confidentiality provision of the Special Agricultural Workers program.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Viewtech Inc. v. United States

The IRS was not required to give notice of their summonsing a taxpayer and a company’s bank records, as the summons was issued to help the IRS collect the taxpayer’s debt.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Wood v. Sinclair

Under Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975), the statement, “[he] will be prepared to proceed without counsel,” is not “an expression of an unequivocal desire to represent himself” and does not entitle appellants to relief under an ineffective assistance of counsel claim.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Blue Lake Rancheria v. United States

Under 26 U.S.C. § 3306(c)(7), employee services are exempt from the Federal Unemployment Tax Act tax liability when they are performed for an Indian tribe acting as a common-law employer.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

United States v. Aguila-Montes de Oca

The “modified categorical approach” to determine if the government can “use prior state conviction to enhance certain federal sentences” is applicable to both “divisible” statutes and to statutes “missing” an element of the generic crime.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

ALADS v. County of Los Angeles

A constitutionally protected property interest requiring due process does not change or halt when felony charges are alleged against law enforcement officers.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Baldwin v. Sebelius

A generalized grievance, without a genuine threat of prosecution, fails to show an injury in fact and is not sufficient to give plaintiffs standing.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Lee v. Corinthian Colleges

Reliance on a safe harbor provision is not sufficient to negate the requisite scienter of the Federal False Claims Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Pinto v. Holder

When the Bureau of Immigration Affairs remands an Immigration Judge’s grant of asylum back for consideration of a grant of voluntary departure, the decision is considered a final order or removal and the Ninth Circuit has jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Marguet-Pillado

The “law of the case doctrine” does not apply in a criminal trial where the instruction was intended enforce the government’s burden to prove alienage as an element of a § 1326 violation, regardless that defendant’s theory of derivative citizenship was rejected on a previous appeal.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Howard v. Criminal Information Services

Bulk purchase of personal information from Department of Motor Vehicle records is not, in and of itself, a violation of the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (“DPPA”), 18. U.S.C. §§ 2721-2725.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

In Defense of Animals v. U.S. Dept. of the Interior

An interlocutory appeal from the denial of a preliminary injunction is moot when the event the injunction was filed to stop has already occurred.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Nevada Department of Corrections v. Cohen

The Nevada Department of Corrections does not violate 14th Amendment Due Process of inmates when it provides notice of and opportunity to comply with a typewriter ban that reasonably advances a legitimate security goal.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

United States v. Vasquez

A search warrant which incorrectly lists a defendant’s rank and position in a criminal organization is still valid if, despite the error, the issuing magistrate would still have a substantial basis in believing that there was a “fair probability” evidence of criminal activity would be found.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Dougherty v. City of Covina

A search warrant lacks probable cause when “the only evidence linking the suspect’s attempted child molestation to possession of child pornography is the experience of the requesting police officer, with no further explanation.” Because the Ninth Circuit “ha[d] not previously addressed this question” the officers are entitled to qualified immunity.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Ammons v. State of Washington Department of Social and Health Services

In a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 lawsuit involving the “Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process right to safe conditions while involuntarily committed” to a state-run hospital, a state actor is not entitled to qualified immunity when he or she “demonstrate a substantial departure from reasonable professional judgment.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Miranda v. Braatz

Since the Indian Civil Rights Act only has a one-year sentencing cap for “any one offense” and not a one-year sentencing cap for crimes stemming from a single transaction, the tribal member’s 910 day sentence was proper since the member had eight separate offenses with which she was charged.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Indian Law

Oliver v. Ralphs Grocery Company

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, a claim filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act, each barrier that contributes to the discrimination must be listed in the original complaint. A court will not consider an expert report amendment to a complaint unless it has been filed on time and proper notice has been given to the parties.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Ronald Yonemoto v. Dept. of Veterans Affairs

An agency does not fulfill its obligation under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, when it offers to supply documents to a requester only to their capacity as an employee of that agency. Also, where details in a Vaughn index are entirely inadequate to determine whether a substantial privacy interest is at stake, the Court cannot perform de novo review and must remand.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

C.F. v. Capistrano Unified School District

The law regarding violations of the Establishment Clause by a teacher’s comments is not clearly established and broad claims that such comments were hostile to religion are not particularized enough to deny qualified immunity to teachers.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Center for Environmental Law and Policy v. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

An agency satisfies NEPA “hard look” requirement, when it demonstrates that the foreseeable future impacts have been examined and past and present projects considered.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

Delgado v. Holder

The Board of Immigration Appeals has the authority to consider DUI convictions as a “particularly serious crime” for the purposes of withholding removal and asylum.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Fleischer Studios v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc.

In an agreement regarding the purchase agreement of Betty Boop cartoons, the chain of title regarding copyright of the character was carved out. As such, the transfers of copyright made after the agreement did not pass copyright to the plaintiff.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Copyright

In re Bluetooth Headset Products Liability Litigation

When parties in a class action agree to settle, the district court has an independent duty to review the settlement agreement to ensure the reasonableness of the settlement and to guard against collusion amongst parties from seeking their own benefit at the expense of the class.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

M.H. V. USA

Under the Required Records Doctrine, the Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate oneself does not apply to a subpoena to bring forward documents relating to the ownership of foreign bank accounts.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Ren v. Holder

Under the Real ID Act of 2005, an immigration judge’s adverse credibility determination must be supported by substantial evidence in light of the totality of the circumstances. Additionally, when corroborative evidence is required by an immigration judge under the Real ID Act the “applicant must be given notice of the corroboration required, and an opportunity to either provide that corroboration or explain why he cannot do so.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Rickley v. County of Los Angeles

Under the Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Awards Act of 1976, 42 U.S.C. § 1988, “a plaintiff who is represented by her attorney-spouse in a successful civil rights action may be awarded ‘a reasonable attorney’s fee as part of the costs.'"

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

United States v. Waters

When considering a sentence modification pursuant to Rule 706, a district court may apply a career offender enhancement during modification proceedings so long as the original sentencing court found that the defendant was eligible for that enhancement.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital v. Washington State Dept. of Health

A regulatory statute that creates market power to a private entity but does not delegate regulatory power does not violate the Sherman Act. A regulatory statute that restrains interstate commerce must have specific authorization from Congress to avoid violating the dormant Commerce Clause.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Flexible Lifeline Systems v. Precision Lift

In a copyright infringement case, the plaintiff must prove a likelihood of irreparable harm to obtain injunctive relief; the long-standing presumption of irreparable harm upon a showing of likelihood of success on the merits in a copyright infringement case is now impermissible.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Copyright

Hershel Rosenbaum v. Washoe County

The crime for which there is probable cause need not be related to the crime for which an individual is arrested without a warrant. However, the crime which does provide probable cause must be reasonably within the arsenal of crimes that officers enforce in the state. (Modifying Davenport)

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Stearns v. Ticketmaster Corp.

When money is withdrawn from a person’s account every month without ever getting notice, they have suffered an injury in fact and may be certified as a class. To be a class representative, you must have actually suffered an actual injury by the unlawful practice.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Torres v. City of Madera

The standard for judging the objective reasonableness of an officer’s conduct when she mistakenly using her firearm rather than Taser on an individual already arrested, handcuffed, and in the back seat of a patrol car, still remains the “totality of the circumstances.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

United States v. Clements

For persons convicted of sex offenses prior to the Sex Offender Registration Notification Act, the registration requirements were not effective until August 1, 2008.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Parker

The State may not prosecute an individual under 18 U.S.C. § 1382 unless that person violates the rule on land which is either owned or under the exclusive right of possession of the military.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Napoliello v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

When deficiency requires a partner-level determination, an affected item notice of deficiency will be sufficient. And, “determination as to a partnership's validity...falls within the definition of a partnership item” as it pertains to the Tax Court's jurisdiction to review FPAA determinations.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Withrow v. Bache Halsey Stuart Shield

A person does not have reason to know that their claim has been denied when the provider fails to tell the client that accepting further payments will bar future action, continues to encourage the client to provide information to aid an internal review of the claim, and never directly communicates that the provider will deny future findings.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Insurance Law

WPP Luxembourg Gamma Three Sarl v. Spot Runner, Inc.

Sufficiently plead facts demonstrating a misrepresentation or omission in violation of Section 10b -5(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act cannot be extended to a Section 10b-5(a) or (c) fraudulent scheme claim.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Corporations

McCants v. Betlach

In order to be protected by cost-sharing restrictions of the Medicaid Act, plaintiffs must be both eligible for Medicaid coverage and part of the State’s plan.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

United States v. Barajas-Alvarado

An expedited removal proceeding order is valid as a predicate element under 8 U.S.C. § 1326 so long as the proceeding was fundamentally fair.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Matus-Zayas

The statute 18 U.S.C. § 3144 does not abrogate the constitutional requirement of establishing a material witness unavailable prior to allowing preserved video-taped testimony at trial, when material witnesses have been released to their country of origin and a subpoena for their presence would be impracticable.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Barnes v. USDOT

The addition of an airport runway raises "substantial questions [ ] as to whether a project [ ] may cause significant degradation of some human environmental factor," including indirect effects from increased demand.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

Chism v. Washington State

Qualified immunity is not available to government employees in a § 1983 claim based on judicial deception when the plaintiff can substantially prove, that but for the dishonesty of the officers, the warrant would not have been issued.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Khoshfahm v. Holder

The government has the burden to demonstrate by clear, unequivocal and convincing evidence that Legal Permanent Resident parents lacked the intent to return to the United States in order to impute such intention to their children.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Harlick v. Blue Shield of California

California’s Mental Health Parity Act requires that a plan within the scope of the Act cover medically necessary residential treatment for mental disorders including anorexia nervosa.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Insurance Law

Manufactured Home v. San Diego County

A California state-law claim of trade libel must contain a prima facie case that the “substance” of the statement(s) is false.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

SEC V. Gewerter

On an issue of first impression the Ninth Circuit held that “on the basis of the clear language of Rule 45, we must hold that the court the issued the subpoena, and not the court where the underlying action is pending, can entertain a motion to quash or modify a subpoena.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Valadez-Lopez v. United States

Under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2675, failure by an agency to make a final disposition on a claim within six months may be deemed a final denial. Therefore exhausted, a plaintiff may amend an existing complaint that asserts non-FTCA claims and to name the United States in an FTCA cause of action.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Young v. County of Los Angeles

Under the Fourth Amendment unreasonable seizure clause, use of pepper spray and baton blows constitutes excessive force when the severity of the crime is low, there is no threat of violence, there is no resistance to arrest, and there are other less invasive means to accomplish police interests.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Estate of Amaro v. City of Oakland

A statute of limitation defense will succumb to equitable estoppel when defendants misrepresent and withhold facts material to the cause of action.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

International Union v. J & R Flooring

The district court has jurisdiction to compel arbitration pursuant to an arbitration clause, to decide whether a union has established majority representation through a card check procedure stipulated by the collective bargaining agreement.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Employment Law

Lyon v. Chase Bank USA

The mistaken collection of a previously paid debt in violation of the Fair Credit Billing Act (“FCBA”) may allow recovery under Oregon’s Unlawful Debt Collection Practices Act (“UDCPA”) regardless of whether or not there was an actual debt or not.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

United States v. Crowder

Under the “knowingly” provision of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”), the government need only prove that a convicted sex offender, who subsequently failed to register or update his or her registration with the state, knew he or she was required to so register and knowingly failed to do so. The government does not need to prove that the offender also knew failure to so register would also violate the provisions of SORNA.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Lockett v. Erickson

Heck v. Humphrey does not bar a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim when a defendant pled nolo contendere after the superior court denied his suppression motion and no evidence was introduced against him, therefore his conviction “derive[d] from [his] plea, not from [a] verdict obtained with supposedly illegal evidence.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

September 74 summaries

Alvarez v. Chevron Corporation

When a retailer’s gasoline pump conforms to relevant California consumer protection laws, the company is entitled to safe harbor from liability under the same laws.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Jackson v. Ryan

Jury instructions that read “homicide need not have been committed to perpetuate the felony…It is enough if the felony and the killing were part of the same series of events,” are unconstitutional because a reasonable jury would interpret them as negating the need to find the required element of felony murder that the killing was committed in furtherance of a felony.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Li v. Holder

Where the BIA denies relief and remands pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 1003.1(d)(6) for background checks required for alternative relief, the Ninth Circuit has jurisdiction to consider an appeal of the final order denying relief.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Hunt

To sustain an increased penalty beyond the statutory maximum for intent to distribute cocaine, either the defendant must admit his or her intent to possess cocaine or the government must prove the intent to possess cocaine to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

United States v. Lafley

A supervised release condition that prohibits the use of a controlled substance by a convicted drug felon does not violate the Religious Freedom Reformation Act because it serves a compelling government interest using the least restrictive means.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

De Osorio v. Mayorkas

Under Chevron, 8 U.S.C. § 1153(5)(3) “is ambiguous as to whether derivative beneficiaries of F3 and F4 family preference petitions are entitled to automatic conversion or priority date retention,” therefore, “aged-out aliens” of lawful permanent residents are not entitled to automatic conversion or priority date retention.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Payton v. Cullen

A death sentence for rape, murder, and two attempted murders will not be overturned when a challenge to California’s lethal injection protocol fails, claims counsel rendered ineffective assistance fail, there was no Brady violation, and the cumulative effect of any errors does not render the trial unfair.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

R.R. Street & Co. Inc. v. Transport Insurance Co.

Having discretion under Wilton/Brillhart, the district court properly granted a party’s motion for remand; since the district court was concerned with piecemeal litigation and impeding the progress of a prior action, the district court properly granted a motion to dismiss.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Samuels v. Holland American Line-USA Inc.

A cruise line does not owe a duty to warn passengers about the dangers of a local beach because wading or swimming in the ocean are not actions uniquely associated with maritime travel.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

Carrico v. City of San Francisco

In order to establish standing for a claim of violation of the First Amendment based upon free speech, there must be some description of the restricted speech or conduct.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Diaz v. Brewer

A statute limiting public employee benefits to spouses of heterosexual couples and eliminating coverage for domestic partners violates equal protection.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

United States v. Cisneros-Resendiz

An Immigration Judge (IJ) has not prejudiced a defendant by not warning them of the effects of a withdrawal of an application for admission when it was unlikely the judge would have granted application for admission. Without a showing of prejudice, the defendant is precluded from a collateral attack on any removal orders.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Ybarra v. McDaniel

The Court reviews and affirms the denials of multiple habeas corpus petitions by a man sentenced to death for a “1979 kidnapping, rape and murder.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Cervantes v. Countrywide Home Loans

In order to state a claim for the use of MERS under the Truth in Lending Act 15 U.S.C. § 1601, a plaintiff must allege that detrimental reliance upon misrepresentations about the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (“MERS”) caused damages to the plaintiff.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Contract Law

Sivak v. Hardison

Prosecutors, that knew or should have known that given material information was false or material information was withheld, violate a defendant’s due process rights according to the Brady and Napue standards.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Rodgers

Although a stop made by a police officer was of a longer duration, it was justified since there continued to arise new grounds for suspicion of illegal or criminal activity, however, since there were no objective facts leading the officer to believe that a passenger’s identification may be inside of the car he had stopped, his search of the passenger compartment was improper and violative of the Fourth Amendment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Adams v. United States

Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, a plaintiff has six months to file a lawsuit after receiving a denial letter via certified or registered mail. Failure to comply with this filing requirement forever bars the claim from federal court.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Michael P. v. Department of Education

By relying solely on a “severe discrepancy” model and not allowing for other factors to be considered, Hawaii DOE procedurally violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Singh v. Holder

“Extraordinary circumstances” in an untimely asylum application apply to the reason the application was delayed rather than the reason why the application was filed.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Santini

A psychological expert witness cannot form an opinion on data that requires interpretation by an expert in law enforcement record keeping if no interpretation was previously performed.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

Louis Vuitton Malletier v. Akanoc Solutions

When determining statutory damages under 17 U.S.C. § 504(c) and 15 U.S.C. § 1117(c) against defendants found joint and severally liable, the court may only award once for each contributory infringement, such that the plaintiff's damages for each infringement will not be multiplied by the number of defendants.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Santiago-Rodriguez v. Holder

In a deportation proceeding, a client is permitted to withdraw an admission of allegations made by client’s attorney where the admission is the product of ineffective assistance of counsel.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Solis v. State of Washington DSHS

Social workers do not come within the Fair Labor Standards Act “learned professional” exemption for overtime pay because the position requires course work in any of several fields broadly related to the position and does not require a prolonged course of “specialized intellectual instruction.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Employment Law

Chevron U.S.A. v. M & M Petroleum Services

Under 15 U.S.C. § 2805(d), a franchisee can open itself up to liability for attorney’s fees by filing a frivolous counterclaim.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Fiore v. Walden

Personal jurisdiction in Nevada was found over a Georgia state DEA agent using the three-part Schwarzenegger test and the Calder-effects test, after he knowingly seized plaintiffs funds through falsified probable cause, claiming their legitimate gambling winnings was money used in the drug trade.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

E.T. v. Cantil-Sakauye

The abstention doctrine does not allow the Court to adjudicate complaints were the relief sought would require the Federal Court to investigate into the administration and operation of the state’s juvenile court system.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Johnson v. Poway Unified School District

Restrictions by a public school on a teacher’s classroom speech in his or her role as a teacher before a captive audience of students, is subject to the “sequential five-step” inquiry under Pickering, not a forum-based analysis.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Local Joint Executive Board v. NLRB

In right-to-work states the unilateral termination of a dues-checkoff is a violation of the NLRA for refusing to bargain to agreement or impasse.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Employment Law

Moore v. Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), the dismissal of an inmate’s suit based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction does not qualify as a “strike” against acquiring forma pauperis status.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Portrero Hills Landfill v. County of Solano

Private interest groups bringing a suit concerning enforcement of a ballot measure does not implicate comity or federalism issues under the Younger doctrine.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

United States v. Alvarez-Moreno

An issue of double jeopardy arises when, after a guilty verdict in a bench trial, a judge orders a new trial after recognition that the defendant did not properly waive his right to a trial by jury.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Habibi v. Holder

Regarding cancellation of removal under 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(3), (1) when defining “aggravated felony” under 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43), one year equals 365-days regardless that a sentence is served during a 366-day leap year; (2) whether a state conviction is a “misdemeanor” is irrelevant to determining an “aggravated felony” under federal sentencing law; and (3) neither due process nor equal protection are offended by (a) a circuit split on an issue; or (b) where 8 U.S.C. § 1182(h) denies § 212(h) waivers to lawful permanent residents (LPR) convicted of aggravated felonies, though not necessarily to similar non-LPR’s.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

In re: Brenda Marie Jones

The statutory suspension provision under 11 U.S.C. § 507(a)(8) does not apply to a tax debt, which would otherwise be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding, where the debtor’s estate property re-vested after a prior bankruptcy proceeding and before the tax debt came due.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

Trigueros v. Adams

Compelling factual circumstances can indicate that a court denied a petition on the merits instead of as untimely when the court is silent on the issue.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

United States v. Ayala-Nicanor

A categorical crime of violence warrants an increased offense level during the sentencing phase if the statutory definition complies with the federal definition and no state cases have applied the statute more broadly than the federal definition.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Ruiz-Apolonio

A sentencing court did not err when it denied variances requested by a defendant “to compensate for the inclusion of ‘recency’ points and the supposed differences between the Sentencing Commission’s and the Bureau of Prison’s methods for calculation good time credits.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Tafoya-Montelongo

A prior conviction for attempted sexual abuse of a child in state court may constitute a crime of violence for sentencing purposes under federal guidelines.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Nichols v. Dancer

When a school district fails to produce evidence that their former employee was disloyal, disrupted the office, or was reasonably likely to disrupt the office in the future, and sanctioned her for showing up at a public meeting and sitting next to another former employer, the sanctioned employee’s First Amendment protection outweighs the district’s interest in workplace efficiency.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Samueli v. CIR

A securities loan with a fixed term entered for the purposes of avoiding taxable income does not qualify for non-recognition treatment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Comite De Jornaleros v. City of Redondo

A city ordinance that prevents a person from soliciting cars on the sidewalk is facially unconstitutional if it is not narrowly tailored to restrict the types of solicitation sought to be discouraged.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Ellis v. Costco Wholesale

28 U.S.C. § 1453(b), created by The Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (The Act), allows only original defendants to remove an action to federal court.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Intermountain Fair Housing Council v. Boise Rescue Mission Ministries

Faith-based homeless shelters and rehabilitation facilities are permitted to demonstrate preference based on religion because of the religious exemption 42 U.S.C. § 3607(a) provides to §3604's anti-discrimination provisions.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Luna v. Holder

The Federal register provides sufficient notice to an alien seeking relief from a removal order; an alien’s due process rights are not infringed when a judge fails to advise the alien of his or her right to seek relief.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Sherman v. Securities and Exchange Commission

“11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(19) prevents the discharge of debts for securities-related wrongdoings only in cases where the debtor is responsible for that wrongdoing. Debtors who may have received funds derived from a securities violation remain entitled to a complete discharge of any resulting disgorgement order.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

Kolev v. Porsche Cars North America

The FTC’s interpretation of the MMWA’s bar of mandatory pre-dispute binding arbitration is a reasonable interpretation and construction of the statute.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Maronyan v. Toyota Motor Sales

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act’s exhaustion requirement does not use sweeping and direct language demonstrating clear congressional intent to mandate loss of subject matter jurisdiction.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

United States v. Baker

42 U.S.C. § 14135a(a)(1) applies to “individuals in custody” and § 14135a(a)(2) applies to “individuals on release, parole, or probation” therefore, subsection (a)(1) does not authorize the collection of a probationer’s DNA.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Cristopher Ibarra-Pino

When asserting a duress defense, a defendant’s failure to offer evidence that he or she could not have safely contacted law enforcement authorities goes to the third element of the defense, a reasonable opportunity to escape the threatened harm, and a lack of a prima facie showing precludes the defense and the jury instruction.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Dugan

18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3), which prohibits controlled substance users or addicts from shipping or possessing firearms and ammunition, does not violate the Second Amendment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

In the Matter of Roman Catholic Archbishop

Public safety concerns can mandate that private information of a priest, not party to the lawsuit, may be released to the public, but “scandalous” portions must be redacted.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Maya v. Centex Corporation

Plaintiff should be given the opportunity to amend a complaint in order to establish a “causal connection” between Defendant’s actions and the alleged injury before the court dismisses for lack of constitutional standing.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Standing

Cole v. Holder

To establish a Convention Against Torture claim, one must show that it is more likely than not he or she will be tortured. Such a claim should review the overall risk of being tortured, rather than only the individual potential sources of torture.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

GoPets Ltd v. Hise

Re-registration by a new registrant of an internet domain name is not a “registration” under § 1125(d)(1) of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (“ACPA”).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Prellwitz v. Sisto

A district court did not reach a final decision when it adopted a magistrate’s recommendation on a habeas corpus petition that failed to stipulate a specified time of release for a prisoner.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Al Haramain Islamic v. U.S. Dept of Treasury

The use of confidential information does not violate due process, however the government must attempt to mitigate the impact caused by using confidential information.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Confederated Tribes v. Gregoire

Indian tax immunity is not violated by the State of Washington’s cigarette excise tax RCW § 82.24, when tribal retailers are required to tax non-Indian purchasers of cigarettes, because “legal incidence,” the obligation to pay the tax, is intended to fall on the consumer. An absence of a statutory pass through provision is not outcome determinative to the inquiry.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Indian Law

Gonzales v. Arrow Financial Services

Debt collection practice will be judged by the least sophisticated debtor standard, which protects those of below average intelligence but presumes a basic level of understanding. Unfair collection practices may also be compensated under both federal and state law.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

United State v. Rivera

Defendant’s judicially-noticeable documents clearly and unequivocally established that his petty theft conviction “was based upon his plea of guilty to conduct that constitutes a generic theft offense.” As the term of imprisonment was at least one year for the theft offense conviction, the defendant’s “offense level was correctly increased by eight levels, under U.S.S.G. § 2L1.2(b)(1)(C).”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

American Trucking Associations v. Los Angeles

Federal law preempts the employment provision of the Port of Los Angeles concessions agreements with drayage truck carriers because the law interferes with third party employment relationships.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Earl v. Nielsen Media Research

When analyzing whether someone is similarly situated in an age discrimination case, the proper inquiry is not whether he or she are outside the protected class, but whether the comparable employees are significantly younger then the claimant.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Employment Law

Haile v. Holder

In denying a Convention Against Torture deferral, the Board of Immigration Appeals must base its decisions on substantial evidence, not factual inaccuracies or hypothesized assumptions not grounded in the record.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Jiang v. Holder

The IJ erred in not allowing the petitioner to authenticate documents through his own testimony, when such documents would be substantial evidence in demonstrating his eligibility for adjustment of status. The IJ and BIA also erred in denying a reasonable short continuance when petitioner was not given adequate notice that documents would require authentication through a United States consulate in China.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Silva v. Di Vittorio

A prisoner’s right to access the court under the First and Fourteenth Amendments includes a right “to litigate claims challenging their sentences or the conditions of their confinement to conclusion without active interferences by prison officials.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Stokley v. Ryan

Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, where a criminal defendant has failed to make a colorable claim of ineffectiveness of counsel, the defendant is not entitled to a new evidentiary hearing in federal court regardless of whether the defendant has exhausted state court appeals.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

United States v. Chung

The government’s failure to turn over exculpatory information does not violate its duty under Brady v. Maryland, when the evidence against the defendant is so overwhelming that the exculpatory information would not reasonably have resulted in a different trial outcome.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

United States v. Perelman

The statute 18 U.S.C. § 704(a) applies to the “unauthorized wearing of medals only where the wearer intends to deceive.” By only outlawing “legitimately criminal conduct,” the statute is not overbroad, nor does it infringe on the constitutionally protected “pure speech” ways in which such medals may be worn.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

United States v. Sykes

Since a mandatory statutory minimum sentence applied to a defendant and was included in the amended Sentencing Guidelines, the district court’s refusal to lower the defendant’s sentence was proper and did not constitute a new sentence, therefore it neither violated the defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights nor invoked the Double Jeopardy Clause, and since the Fair Sentencing Act is not retroactive, the defendant’s due process rights were not violated.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Apple Inc. v. Psystar Corp.

A copyright misuse defense is invalid when a licensing agreement restricts the use of its own software and not the development of competing software.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Copyright

Degelmann v. Advanced Medical Optics

Injury in fact under Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17204 is satisfied when “the consumer has purchased a product that he or she paid more for that he or she otherwise might have been willing to pay if the product had been labeled accurately.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Standing

United States v. Barraza-Lopez

The Speedy Trial Act’s thirty-day window to file charges after an arrest does not bar charges that have been dropped without prejudice from later being refiled.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Stonehill

In order to commit fraud on the court, government misrepresentations in civil trials must be so substantial that they undermine the judicial process.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Log Cabin Republicans v. United States

Where a statute is repealed while an appeal challenging the constitutionality of that statute is pending, the suit is moot on appeal because “there is no longer a present, live controversy of the kind that must exist” for a reviewing federal court to reach the merits.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

United States v. Kortlander

There is a qualified common law right of access to warrant materials after a criminal investigation has been terminated.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

United States v. Krupa

A reviewing court should give a magistrate’s determination of probable cause great deference when determining whether, under the totality of the circumstances, the information provided to the magistrates created a fair probability that contraband or evidence would be found.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

October 33 summaries

Suzlon Energy v. Microsoft Corporation

A foreign citizen is a “person” whose emails are protected by the statutory framework of §§ 2702(a)(1), 2510(15), § 2510(13) of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, therefore an email service provider is not compelled to produce documents under a § 1782 order (an order to obtain evidence for use in a foreign or international tribunal).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

United States v. Gilchrist

To qualify for a sentencing guidelines enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 3C1.1 a defendant need only willfully engage in conduct to obstruct a potential investigation and need not know that an investigation is pending.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

United States v. King

False statements made to a state agent while investigating violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act may fall within 18 USC 1001(a)(2) “making materially false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of the United States”.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Washington State v. Chimei Innolux Corp.

Parens Patriae suits filed by state Attorneys General may not be removed to federal court because the suits are not "class actions" within the plain meaning of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Carrera v. Ayers

An appellant fails Strickland (which requires "a strong presumption that counsel's conduct falls within the wide range of reasonable professional assistance") when defense counsel does not bring a Wheeler objection to challenge a prosecutor's preemptory challenge.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Meza-Vallejos v. Holder

When an alien’s sixty-day voluntary departure period falls on a day in which an immigrant would be unable to “file a motion for affirmative relief with the BIA, that day does not count in the voluntary departure period if . . . the immigrant files on the first available day a motion that would either have tolled, automatically withdrawn, or otherwise affected his request for voluntary departure.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

James v. Schriro

The Court reviews petitioner's claims for habeas corpus relief, finding ineffective assistance of counsel to exist where a defendant's counsel fails to investigate and present clear mitigating factors at a penalty phase trial when there is a "reasonable probability" that effective presentation of those factors could have overcome the aggravating factors that instead resulted in the imposition of a death sentence.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Russell Country Sportsmen v. USFS

The Montana Wilderness Study Act of 1977 provides for a minimum standard for maintaining wilderness character. A final environmental impact statement will not violate the National Environmental Policy Act if the adopted plan falls within a range of alternatives and does not make any substantial changes.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

Montana Consumer Counsel v. FERC

FERC's Order 697, which establishes a market-based regulatory policy, does not exceed its authority under the FPA because FERC has enhanced its upfront tests for market power and oversight of market-based rates.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

United States v. Gregory Reyes

When a defendant signs off on granting stock options to himself, evidence of fraud presented to the jury was not false because the jury was informed that the defendant was not the one who ultimately approved granting stock options.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. McEnry

§ 2B1.1 of the Sentencing Guidelines, not § 2A5.2, is most analogous to the crime of serving as an airman without an airman's certificate.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Urena

It is not an abuse of discretion to deny a self-defense jury instruction to an inmate who attacks another inmate after being called a derogatory term. The elimination of "recency points" does not apply retroactively .

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Carper

In order to qualify for the base offence level of fourteen, items illegally exported that appear on the United States Munitions List, 22 C.F.R § 121.1 must meet the definition of “firearm.” Also, district courts are not required to depart from the U.S. Sentencing Guideline Manual § 2M5.2 on policy grounds if they have no disagreement with the Manual’s recommendations.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Mattos v. Agarano

Police are entitled to qualified immunity for claims of use of excessive force involving tasers, when not all reasonable police officials would find the particular set of circumstances a use of excessive force.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Fossen v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield

ERISA preempts state HIPPA laws for the purpose of subject matter jurisdiction and state law causes of action on the merits. Federal ERISA does not preempt state law claims for relief under separate state unfair insurance practice laws that prohibits charging different policy premiums to similarly situated individuals.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Insurance Law

Smallwood v. Allied Van Lines

The Carmack Amendment does not necessarily fail for foreign arbitration clauses, and a shipper may agree to arbitrate the claim after the dispute arises with an interstate motor carrier but may not be forced to at the time of contracting; Congress intended Carmack to be a minor exception to the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) by enacting provisions of the Amendment after the passage of the FAA.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

United States v. Rizk

Where an indictment alleges a conspiracy, summary evidence under Federal Rule of Evidence 1006 that includes acts not specified in the indictment, does not constitute “other acts” evidence under Rule 404(b), as such evidence is offered to show the full scope of that conspiracy.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Wilkes

An honest services fraud conviction supported by a separate bribery count, is not insufficient for reliance on theories other than bribery or kickbacks. In addition, there is no merger in a money laundering conviction involving concealment because the crime concerns the gross receipts and not merely the profits of the underlying crime.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Arsdi v. Holder

When an alien fails to raise an issue to the BIA, nor claim that the IJ's decision "contains a factually invalid statement of law or fact," the appellate court has no jurisdiction to consider the claim as the alien did not exhaust the issue in the proper administrative forum.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Doe v. Busby

A jury instruction that “impermissibly lowers the burden of proof” requires structural error review.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

United States v. Reveles

It is not a violation of double jeopardy rights for a defendant to be punished in a non-judicial punishment proceeding and a federal prosecution proceeding.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Carrillo-Yeras v. Astrue

When the Social Security Administration ("SSA") needlessly delays for over a year in reopening a claim without a showing that it “diligently pursued” investigation, it can not reverse any decision that was beneficial to applicant.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Gonzales v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

The Ninth Circuit's opinion Duran Gonzales II , finds that the Plaintiffs are ineligible for adjustment of status as the case is applied retroactively to those who applied for adjustment prior to the opinion.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Sarei v. Rio Tinto

Since plaintiff’s claims of genocide and crimes against humanity are claims for violation of internationally accepted norms that are “specific, universal and obligatory,” those claims, under Sosa , fall in the limited category of Alien Tort Statute claims that receive federal jurisdiction.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

Miller v. City of Los Angeles

(1) Where conduct was not violative, a defendant-counsel's mistaken concession or apology for a violation does not create a basis for sanctions. (2) Counsel does not violate an in limine order precluding statements that a decedent was armed, when counsel argues that an officer reasonably believed a decedent was dangerous because the decedent had just shot someone.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Schultz v. Tilton

A jury instruction which allows a jury to consider a defendant’s prior bad acts if found by a preponderance of the evidence, does not misstate the prosecutor’s burden of proof.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Seeboth v. Mayberg

Despite changes to California’s Sexually Violent Predators Act (“SVPA”) brought about by Proposition 83, a properly filed renewal petition and the final resolution to a jury proceeding to commit a sexually violent predator under the SVPA renders moot an appeal from a denial of a federal habeas petition seeking release from custody.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Commitment

Taylor v. Comm. of Soc. Sec. Admin.

Further proceedings to determine the award of disability insurance benefits are in order when the Administrative Law Judge and Appeals Council do not fully consider all submitted, relevant medical evidence and testimony favorable to the claimant’s alleged disability.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

United States v. Williams

The plain language of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2251(d)(1)(A) does not contain any personal production element, nor does any tense of the wording show any congressional intent to include such an element to convict a defendant under this statute. .

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Boyer v. Belleque

In reviewing the petition for a writ of habeas corpus, the court looks first to state law to determine the elements of the crime and then to the federal question of whether the state court was objectively unreasonable in concluding the evidence was sufficient to support its decision.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

United States v. Newman

Under 18 U.S.C. § 982(a)(2) and 28 U.S.C. § 2461(c), where the government proves the elements required for a judgment of criminal forfeiture, the district court must enter a judgment for criminal forfeiture in the amount of the proceeds of the crime; the district court does not have discretion to reduce or eliminate the judgment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Wilson

Under U.S.C. § 853(n)(2) any person may petition the court for the property seized as a result of a fraudulent investment investigation, with the exception of the defendant, based on Congressional negation of the zone of interests test.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Standing

Small v. Avanti Health Systems, LLC

A successor employer's failure to negotiate with a union is at least as harmful as an employer who negotiates in bad faith and is grounds for an injunctive relief.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Labor Law

November 32 summaries

Conahan v. Sebelius

Medicare Advantage Plans are not required to reimburse a patient when she unilateraly seeks the surgical removal of a tumor, after chemotherapy was found to be “available, accessible, and adequate” by the healthcare provider.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Insurance Law

United States v. Sanchez

A closing argument which asks the jury to consider the social ramifications of a nonguilty verdict may create an overly prejudicial effect and result in reversal, if there are not proper steps taken to mitigate the effect.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Garcia v. Holder

Immigrants paroled into the United States as a "Special Immigrant Juvenile, under 8 U.S.C. § 1255(h), qualif[y] as [admitted] ‘in any status’ for the purposes of 8 U.S.C. § 1229(a)(2)."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Kairy v. SuperShuttle Int’l

The district court’s employee status determination would not interfere or frustrate the regulatory authority of the California Public Utilities Commission over passenger stage corporations because policy determinations regarding employment status made by the PUC are not synonymous with California state law.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Mirmehdi v. United States

Illegal immigrants having used alternative remedies are not entitled to money damages for constitutional violations.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Harvey

In an order finding defendant in violation of his supervised release conditions based upon his use of marijuana, the Circuit Court held that "[w]hatever else 'order' might mean under § 844(a) of the Controlled Substances Act, it does not include a mere recommendation from a physician pursuant to the Compassionate Use Act."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Parole and Post-Prison Supervision

Glenn v. Washington County

Summary judgment is appropriate only when there is no genuine issue of material fact. In the case of qualified immunity for police officers the actions of the officer should be objectively reasonable in light of the facts and circumstances.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Campbell v. State of Washington

A government caretaker is not liable under § 1983 when there is not special relationship between the patient and the state, and when the state actors did not take an affirmative act to create a dangerous situation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Ditullio v. Boehm

Under the civil remedy provision of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1595, a victim may recover punitive damages since the provision “creates a cause of action that sounds in tort and punitive damages are available in tort actions under common law.” However, § 1595 does not apply retroactively to a perpetrator's conduct that occurs before § 1595's effective date.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Gutierrez v. Holder

In deportation hearings, an IJ can look into a person’s past record for a reasonable period of time to determine their good moral character. In deportation hearings, IJ’s can make adverse inferences based on a person’s silence without violating Fifth Amendment rights.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Roberts v. McAfee

In malicious prosecution cases, the plaintiff carries a burden of showing that undisputed facts underlying criminal charges do not amount to probable cause. Also, California Civil Code § 3425.3 precludes claims that a failure to remove a defamatory post constitutes a republication of the defamatory statement.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

United States v. Ceballos

Since it is up to the discretion of the Bureau of Prisons as to where the confinement of an inmate is to take place, the denial of a recommendation for a specific housing designation is not a final order that is appealable under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 or 18 U.S.C. § 3742.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Connecticut Retirement Plans v. Amgen

In a securities fraud class action suit, a plaintiff using the fraud-on-the-market presumption to show reliance does not need to prove that the alleged misrepresentations were material in order to certify the class.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Rhoades v. Reinke

In order to succeed in a motion for stay of execution based on the constitutionality of an execution protocol, the defendant must show that he is likely to succeed in his challenge in order to be entitled to a stay.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Rock Creek Alliance v. USF & W

Reviewing a challenge to biological opinions issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, the opinions will be upheld so long as they are not arbitrary, capricious, or in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Durand v. U.S. Department of Labor

A FECA beneficiary must deduct litigation costs from the gross recovery of a judgment received under 5 U.S.C. § 8132.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Labor Law

Rhodes v. Blades

Motion for stay of execution based on a pending Supreme Court case is not granted if the petitioner waits until the deadline and is unable to demonstrate why the pending case would change the outcome for the petitioner.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Lopez-Cardona v. Holder

A conviction for residential burglary under California Penal Code § 459 constitutes a crime of violence because it is a felony "that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense," making it a "particularly serious crime" for the purposes of denying withholding of removal.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Ortiz v. Uribe

During the administration of a polygraph examination, if an examiner uses an appeal to tell the truth for his family and children to appeal to emotionalism, and does not declare that the examiner is a law enforcement officer, this does not demonstrate that the defendant's will was overborne and the confession involuntary.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Stein v. Ryan

It is the province of the courts, and not of state agencies, to determine the legality of prison sentences. An interim judicial decision may give a convict a right to have his sentence vacated, but it is the court hearing his case that gives him the right to be released.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Post-Conviction Relief

Albano v. Shea Holmes

Certified questions of state law ruled upon by the Arizona Supreme Court are applied both retroactively and prospectively.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Nachshin v. AOL

The principle of cy pres distributions in a class action lawsuit requires a relationship between the recipient of cy pres distribution and the underlying causes of action or the interests of the class; cy pres distributions to a Legal Aid Foundation and local chapters of the Boys and Girls Club of America do not necessarily meet the standards, and geographic representation of the class is part of the interests of the class.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

NLRB v. Legacy Health System

The expeditious filing for enforcement of an order that does not affect the twenty-eight day window to file for reconsideration, does not constitute “extraordinary circumstance” sufficient to review an unpreserved issue pursuant to section 10(e) of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 160(e).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Labor Law

United States v. Beltran Valdez

An order denying a request for replacement counsel is barred by the collateral order doctrine and therefore not immediately appealable.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Tadio

A Circuit Court has no jurisdiction to review the district court’s exercise of discretion in a sentencing reduction when the district court properly considers a defendant’s relative culpability, capacity for abiding by the law, and threat to society along with cooperation with authorities.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Greater Yellowstone Coalition v. Wyoming

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service created adequate “regulatory mechanisms” to protect the Yellowstone grizzly bear as a recovered species but did not provide sufficient reasons as to why the reduction of a major food source would not negatively impact the grizzly population in order to uphold the ruling removing them from the threatened species list.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Wildlife Law

Sacks v. Dietrich

The federal district court has jurisdiction over state law claims against arbitrators when the central question of the case is the violation of regulatory authorities arbitration rules.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

Steven Levin v. United States

Section 1089(e) of the Gonzalez Act does not waive the government’s sovereign immunity for common law battery claims.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

United States v. Rudd

A sentencing judge commits procedural error when she imposes a 2000 foot residency condition, not otherwise found in the plea agreement, when the reason is not apparent from the record or the judge fails to articulate why the condition is appropriate.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Developmental Services Network v. Douglas

The State must gain federal approval for State Plan Amendments. However, injunctions against enforcement of unapproved plans may not be granted where plaintiffs fail to assert an unambiguous federal right under § 1983.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Disability Law

Lezama-Garcia v. Holder

An unintentional departure does not constitute abandonment of an alien's NACARA § 202 application to adjust status and that alien cannot be removed until that application is decided.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Leal-Felix

Traffic citations are not arrests under the traditional definition and therefore should not be included in calculating a sentence based on the Sentencing Guidelines.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

December 38 summaries

Citizens for Balanced Use v. McAllister

Since the Study Act requires the Forest Service to maintain areas designated as “study areas” in their 1977 wilderness character, the Service’s travel plan, which ignored the impact of increased volume from the use of motorized and mechanical vehicles on the current users’ ability to have solitude in an area designated as a “study area” under the Study Act, such a decision was arbitrary and capricious.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Flynn v. Holder

Compensation for “hematopoietic stems cells” is not a violation of the National Organ Transplant Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Andrich v. United States

Writs of mandamus brought to enforce the Crime Victims Rights Acts are reviewed for a district court's clear error and abuse of discretion.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Strategic Diversity v. Alchemix Corp.

A party wishing to rescind a contract, and claim negligent misrepresentation and fraud, must show economic damages.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Contract Law

United States v. Grant

Rehabilitation is not an appropriate consideration for determining the length of imprisonment upon revocation of supervised release.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Gonzalez v. Wong

When considering new evidence in the habeas corpus claim of a state prisoner under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, a district court may stay proceedings to allow the defendant to present that evidence to the state court.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Kwong v. Holder

A state court’s abstract of judgment is sufficient to establish the crime for which a defendant was convicted for purposes of finding a lawful permanent resident removable.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Red Lion Hotels Franchising Inc. v. MAK, LLC

The “Bill of Rights” contained in Washington’s Franchise Investment Protection Act is applicable as to a franchisor in Washington State and a Franchisee outside Washington State.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Johnson v. Board of Trustees of the Boundary County School District 101

Where an expired teaching certificate fails to satisfy a job prerequisite the holder is not a “qualified individual with a disability” for the purposes of reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Disability Law

Johnson v. Finn

Due Process Clause requires the district court to hold a separate evidentiary hearing when rejecting a magistrate judge's ruling that the prosecution had racial motivation for excluding jurors.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Pagayon v. Holder

A pleading stage admission of an allegation supporting removal in an immigration removal proceeding, can be relied on by the IJ for determining removal, but removal is not supported if the admission is made in an evidentiary stage of the proceeding; a court could not sustain removal if there is insufficient proof of a conviction or allegation in the documentary evidence coupled with an evidentiary stage admission.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Tapia

A sentencing court errs when considering a drug treatment program in determination of the length of a sentence for transporting undocumented illegal aliens without presentation and for financial gain.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Bravo v. City of Santa Maria

An officer's omission that a person of interest was incarcerated is sufficient to raise the issue of judicial deception in relation to a 1983 claim challenging the validity of a search warrant authorizing a search of the person of interest's home.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Merolillo v. Yates

Under Brecht v. Abrahamson, habeas relief is warranted only if the error has a “substantial and injurious effect” in determining the jury’s verdict and that determination is guided by five non-exclusive factors articulated in Delaware v. Van Arsdall.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Sullivan v. Oracle Corporation

The California Labor Code and California Unfair Competition Law apply to overtime work performed in California by nonresidents.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Labor Law

Alston v. Read

State prison officials are entitled to qualified immunity, as there was no clearly established duty for these officials "to seek out original court records in response to a prisoner's unsupported assertion that he was being over-detained."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Ministry of Defense of Iran v. Cubic Defense

The United States has a strong public policy toward the confirmation of foreign arbitration awards that outweighs current restrictive trade policies with Iran. Also, prejudgment interest and legal fees are available in an arbitration confirmation award under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

Crockett & Myers v. Napier, Fitzgerald & Kirby

Since the district court, on remand from a previous Ninth Circuit decision, failed to follow instructions to recalculate an award given to a party for a client’s referral value, the re-entering by the district court of their previous award was clearly erroneous.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Appellate Procedure

M.R., et al v. Dreyfus

Recipients of “personal care services” under Washington’s state Medicaid plan made a sufficient showing that a reduction in these services would threaten them with institutionalization in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act in order to grant them a preliminary injunction.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Disability Law

Plaza Auto Center v. NLRB

In evaluating "the nature of the employee's outburst" as a factor of whether an employee has forfeited protection under National Labor Relations Act § 8(a)(1), a Court need not find evidence of physical conduct or threat in order to find this factor weighing against protection. In fact, language alone indicating that the nature of the outburst weighs against protection may be enough to counterbalance the other three factors even when those other factors favor continuing protection.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Employment Law

Romero-Mendoza v. Holder

The 1983 Salvadoran constitutional amendment "eliminating legitimacy distinctions served to legitimate any child born out of wedlock."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

UMG Recordings v. Shelter Capital Partners

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act “safe harbor” provision, a website provider is not liable for copyright infringement if the provider is not aware of infringement or removes access to copyrighted material once the provider becomes aware of infringement, and actual knowledge of infringement is required for a provider to be liable.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Copyright

Drake v. Obama

In order for candidates to have competitive standing (standing based on the "inclusion of a disqualified rival"), they must file a claim for relief before the election is over and the elected official is sworn in.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Guatay Christian Fellowship v. County of San Diego

Claims brought under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 are not ripe for review unless the government entity implementing land use regulations has reached a final decision regarding the property at issue.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Land Use

K.D. v. Department of Education, State of Hawaii

For purposes of the “stay put” provision under the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. § 1415(j)), a settlement agreement that merely requires tuition reimbursement and fails to call for “placement” lacks “the same legal effect as an affirmative agency decision to define a student’s ‘current educational placement.’”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Disability Law

Parker v. Small

It does not violate a persons right to a trial by jury when a judge advises a holdout jury to try alternative methods of deliberation in accordance with California's Moore Charge.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Wright v. Incline Village General Improvement

Privately-owned beach property, with access restricted to owners based on boundaries established in 1968, does not violate the First Amendment or the Equal Protection Clause.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Orange County v. California Dept. of Education

The California agency that is responsible for the an eligible minor under the Individuals with Disabilities Act is the school district in which the individuals parents resides, or the California Department of Education if no parent is defined or identified by statute.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

United States v. Shetler

Exculpatory confessions obtained by an illegal search and seizure can not be used as evidence unless the government can prove that the confession was obtained by legal means.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Valenzuela-Espinoza

The McNabb-Mallory Rule is an important procedural safeguard and necessary to provide a remedy for violations of Fed. R. Crim. Pro. 5(a). Any delay in presentment to a magistrate must be reasonable and necessary.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Balderas v. Countrywide Bank

Since a family was able to plead allegations in their complaint that would present a winning case if proven, the district court erred by granting the defendant’s 12(b)(6) motion for dismissal, because such a complaint was not subject to dismissal under 12(b)(6), no matter how unlikely the winning outcome may be perceived by the district court.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Estrella v. Ollison

Sentencing errors under Apprendi v. New Jersey , 530 U.S. 466 (2000), are harmless if the reviewing court can ascertain that the sentencing judge was presented with sufficient evidence to conclude that a jury would have found the aggravating factors beyond a reasonable doubt.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Family PAC v. McKenna

Ballot measure disclosure requirements do not violate the first amendment when they are substantially related to important government interests.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Hepting v. AT & T Corp.

Section 802 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which provides that private parties assisting the government with intelligence gathering shall not be subject to civil liability, is constitutional.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Jewel v. National Security Agency

“Concrete injury” was found--in the context of statutory and constitutional claims of unlawful government surveillance and warrantless eavesdropping--where allegations specified a single telecommunications company and the equipment used at the particular facility were where claimant’s personal communications were intercepted. Also, no heightened standing requirement existed simply because the case involved government officials in the national security context.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Standing

McMurray v. Verizon Communications

For takings claims related to action that has already taken place, plaintiffs must follow the procedure set out in the Tucker Act prior to filing suit for takings.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Northern Plains Resource v. Tongue River RR

By not providing adequate baseline data regarding wildlife and sensitive plants to assess the impacts of a proposed railroad in application documents, violates the National Environmental Policy Act's procedural requirement on federal agencies to "take a 'hard look' at the potential environmental consequences of the proposed action."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

United States v. Rodriguez-Ocampo

“An order of removal that provided the alien with no opportunity for judicial review and cannot support a prosecution under 8 U.S.C. § 1326, or a reinstatement of such an order, cannot support a sentencing enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 2L1.2(b).”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration