9th Circuit Court of Appeals

2012

January 36 summaries

United States v. Keith Russell

An officer can assume that the scope of a general consent search of the person, in a drug investigation, includes a pat-down of the groin area.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Havelock

Under 18 USC § 867(c), a mailed communication containing a threat must be directed to a natural person; a court may look beyond the outside of the parcel to the contents of the letter or package to determine to whom, if anybody, such a threat is addressed.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Vegas Diamond Properties, LLC v. La Jolla Bank, FSB

An appeal in federal court is moot if the conduct to be enjoined has already occurred, regardless of whether the case raises issues of substantial public interest.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

United States v. Alcala-Sanchez

When a prosecutor agrees to a stipulated plea agreement, then subsequently changes the recommended sentence to a greater sentence than agreed, it is a breach of the plea agreement and the case must be remanded for resentencing before a different judge.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

United States v. McGowan

Since a defendant did not move to get a new trial if a judgment of acquittal was reversed, the district court did not err in failing to conditionally rule that defendant get a new trial if his judgment of acquittal was reversed. Further, a defendant’s inadequate assistance of counsel claim is not reviewed on appeal since the trial record was not developed to permit determination on the issue and since the representation was not so inadequate that the defendant was denied his 6th amendment right to counsel.

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

Bonneau v. Centennial School District

Under Wilson v. Garcia the Supreme Court stated that state's residual personal injury statute of limitations should be applied to § 1983 claims in order to prevent "unnecessary litigation and preserve the efficacy of the 1983 remedy." Plaintiff's § 1983 child abuse claim was found to be governed by the state's general personal injury statute of limitations, and since the state's tolling statute was not closely related to the two-year residual statute of limitations, federal law governed the accrual of plaintiff's § 1983 claim.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

Bowers v. Whitman

Legislation which replaced and modified former legislation regarding the processes in which landowners receive compensation for government land use regulations, does not amount to a "constitutional taking" of property interests under the former legislation, when property interests have not yet vested.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Hydrick v. Hunter

In order to seek monetary damages under a § 1983 claim, a plaintiff must overcome qualified immunity by alleging factual allegations that are sufficient to establish a plausible claim against a defendant.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Mazza v. American Honda

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3), no common issue of law exists in a consumer protection class action stemming from automobile sales in 44 different jurisdictions, because the foreign states’ interest in applying its own consumer protection laws to achieve an optimal balance between protecting consumers and fostering commerce, outweighs one state’s interest in regulating those who do business and commit wrongdoing within its borders.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Shelley v. Geren

The district court’s grant of summary judgment was improper because plaintiff timely pursued administrative remedies and established a prima facie case of age discrimination for two job promotions in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Employment Law

United States v. Arango

For purposes of venue under 8 U.S.C. § 1451, there is “a rebuttable presumption that an incarcerated individual retains residence in the judicial district where he lived prior to incarceration.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Lopez-Avila

Double Jeopardy does not bar a retrial where prosecutorial misconduct that led to a mistrial was not the result of a strategic decision to retry to case at a more advantageous date.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Chettiar v. Holder

Under the Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986, the Citizenship and Immigration Services does not lose jurisdiction of a petition to remove conditions placed on residence pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1186a(c)(3)(A) if it fails adjudicate the petition within ninety days.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Kuok

The Arms Export Control Act does not violate the nondelegation principle; "attempting to cause an export of a defense article is not a federal crime"; 18 U.S.C. § 1956 convictions will be vacated where the government fails to satisfy the amount-in controversy requirement of § 1956(f)(2); and district courts must allow a defendant to present a duress defense to a jury where "he has alleged facts sufficient" to support such defense.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

White v. City of Pasadena

State court decisions and reviewed administrative decisions in federal discrimination claims are entitled to the same preclusive effect that any other decision would be given in the courts of that state.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

United States v. Melendez-Castro

A collateral attack on a deportation order must show a violation of the defendant’s due process right and prejudice.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Farris v. Seabrook

Washington campaign contribution restrictions to committees in recall elections are an impermissible restriction on Free Speech.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Montana Sulpher & Chemical Co. v. EPA

The EPA may rely on modeling to predict SO2 violation under the Clean Air Act when existing sampling data is limited or insufficient.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

United States v. Solorio

Under FRE 604, a party must show inaccuracy or illegal conduct from a nonsworn interpreter’s interpretation during trial in order to have a claim of prejudice and get a reversal.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

Washington State Republican Party v. Washington State Grange

Washington State's top two primary system did not violate political parties' First Amendment association rights because no actual voter confusion was found where, in accordance with U.S. Supreme Court suggestions, the form of the ballot included a prominent disclaimer that party preference is only a self-designation and not a party endorsement.

Area(s) of Law:
  • First Amendment

Alvarez v. Hill

The United States v. Howard exception to the mootness doctrine, which allows an otherwise moot claim to proceed on the premise that it challenges an ongoing policy which would evade review, does not apply to claims against prison policies that deal with post-conviction incarceration conditions.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

CRM Collateral II v. TriCounty Metropolitan Trans.

TriMet's draw on a Letter of Credit was proper and did not violate the statutory warranty of ORS section 75.1100(1)(b), therefore Collateral II cannot be characterized as a surety and is not entitled discharge.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Contract Law

Sierra Club v. EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency acts arbitrarily and capriciously when approving a State Implementation Plan for National Ambient Air Quality Standards, based on data that is significantly different than more current data.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

Strategic Diversity, Inc. v. Alchemix Corporation

To rescind a contract on the basis of § 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, common law fraud and negligent misrepresentation, plaintiff must demonstrate economic damages. To rescind a contract based on a state securities law claim in Arizona, economic damages need not be shown.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Contract Law

United States v. Juvenile Male

Under the Bruce framework, a bench trial court can find beyond a reasonable doubt that a juvenile is “Indian” under 18 U.S.C. § 1153, despite not being socially recognized by the tribe, when he has a sufficient amount of Indian blood, is enrolled as a tribal member, receives governmental assistance for Indians, and benefits from tribal association.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Indian Law

Leeson v. Transamerica Disability

ERISA plan participant status under § 1132(a)(1)(B) is an element of a claim, not an issue of subject matter jurisdiction.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Thorpe Insulation Co. v. Motor Vehicle Causality Co.

Non-Settling insurance carriers have standing to appeal § 543(g) bankruptcy reorganization plans when the Court is able to order modification or reversal of the plan and the plan has potentially adverse effects on insurance providers.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

United States v. Gonzalez

Communications under an implied joint defense agreement are protected by attorney client privilege but the agreement may be terminated by the conduct of the parties.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Juvenile Male

Both the statutory text and legislative history of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification ACT ("SORNA") show that the registration requirements for juveniles convicted of aggravated sex offenses do not violate the confidentiality provisions of the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act ("FJDA").

Area(s) of Law:
  • Juvenile Law

Oshodi v. Holder

The BIA sufficiently complies with a Court mandate when its analysis does not "run counter to 'the spirit' of [the] mandate." An immigration judge's adverse credibility determination will be affirmed where "the IJ considered the totality of the circumstances," and not merely "rank speculation and conjecture and inconsequential factors." Lastly, a petitioner carries the burden of proving due process violations and Convention Against Torture claims.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

AE v. County of Tulare

A plaintiff alleging viable state negligence claims and a § 1983 claim must be given the opportunity for leave to amend to meet pleading requirements when the first amended complaint "did not put forth additional facts" regarding "alleged policy, custom, or practice" of a government entity.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

Hutcherson v. Arizona Health Care Cost

Under 42 U.S.C. § 1396p(1)(F)(i), the State is entitled to recover medical costs stemming from the institutionalization of an individual receiving Medicaid assistance out of an annuity purchased by the spouse. The recovery is not limited to only medical care costs incurred after the spouse’s death.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

In Matter of Meruelo Maddux Properties, Inc.

There is no basis in the plain language of the single asset real estate provisions of the Bankruptcy Code § 101(51)(b) for a “whole business enterprise” exception.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

Tyson v. Holder

The repeal of § 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act imposes an impermissible retroactive effect on a lawful permanent resident, who was “convicted pursuant to a stipulated facts agreement based on a reasonable expectation that it would not negatively affect her immigration status.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

In Matter of Thorpe Insulation Co.

When a bankruptcy court finds a contract dispute to be a “core proceeding” in a bankruptcy case, the bankruptcy court may use its discretion to find an arbitration agreement in that contract unenforceable.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

United States v. Casasola

The statute 8 U.S.C. § 1432(a), in effect prior to February 27, 2001, does not violate the equal protection clause by denying derivative citizenship to foreign-born children when only one married parent is a naturalized citizen.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

February 49 summaries

GECCMC 2005-C1 Plummer Street v. JP Morgan Chase Bank

A landlord is not an intended third-party beneficiary to a Purchase & Assumption Agreement (P&A), which otherwise, would allow them to sue for breach of contract on an agreement between the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporations (FDIC) and a new mortgage purchaser.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Landlord Tenant

United States v. Noriega-Perez

Whenever alienage is an element of a crime, the alleged alien who was the subject of the offense does not need to testify, and a jury can make an inference that the alleged alien was not allowed to enter the country legally based upon the non-availability of the non-testifying witness.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

Fair Housing Council v. Roommate.com, LLC

Roommate selection based on sex, sexual orientation, and familial status does not violate the federal Fair Housing Act or California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Kristin Perry v. Edmund G. Brown, Jr.

Protection of judicial integrity in a proceeding is a compelling interest to be protected in not releasing a recording under seal of trial proceedings.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Biller v. Toyota Motor Corp., et al

Review of arbitration awards under arbitration agreements governed by the Federal Arbitration Act is limited to the standards specified in the Act, and awards may be vacation only on grounds listed in Section 10 of the Act; an arbitrator's written explanation of the rulings need only be sufficient enough to allow for this limited review. Furthermore, an arbitrator's recognition of applicable law in a written explanation is enough to overcome the allegation that the award should be vacated for manifest disregard of the law.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

Pacific Rivers Council v. USFS

The United States Forest Service failed to take the requisite “hard look” at environmental consequences in an Environmental Impact Statement because they failed to show why it was not reasonably possible to perform any analysis of those consequences.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Sauer v. U.S. Department of Education

Under the Randolph-Sheppard Act, a state licensing agency has no duty to bring an enforcement action against a federal agency to enforce an arbitration award issued pursuant to 20 U.S.C. § 107d-1(b).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

United States v. Willis Reyes-Bonilla

An alien may challenge removal under the due process clause by when (1) they have exhausted all administrative remedies; (2) they have been deprived of the opportunity for judicial review; and (3) the proceeding was fundamentally unfair. To show fundamental unfairness, the alien must prove that his due process rights were violated, and that he would have had a plausible claim for relief had he not been prejudiced.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Farmer v. McDaniel

Where an initial capital sentence imposes the death penalty and the basis for the initial sentence is later invalidated, the state can seek to reimpose the death penalty on different grounds without violating the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Mendoza-Pablo v. Holder

"Where a pregnant mother is persecuted in a manner that materially impedes her ability to provide for the basic needs of her child, where that child's family has undisputedly suffered severe persecution, and where the newborn child suffers serious deprivations directly attributable not only to those facts, but also to the material ongoing threat of continued persecution of the child and the child's family, that child may be said to have suffered persecution and therefore be eligible for asylum under the INA."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Perry v. Brown

Proposition 8, which defines marriage in California as between a man and a woman, is an unconstitutional violation of Equal Protection.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Secalt S.A. v. Wuxi Shenxi Construction Machinery Co.

A companies external design elements are not entitled to trade dress protection unless they can prove that the design does not serve any functional purpose and used only to set their design apart.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Patents

Tri-Valley CARE v. United State Department of Energy

Under the National Environmental Policy Act analysis, analogizing triggering events, comparing critical distinctions, and considering uniquely different circumstances satisfy the requisite "hard look" the Department of Energy must make at the environmental consequences of their actions.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Ibrahim v. DHS

Although the plaintiff was a citizen of Malaysia, and not a U.S. citizen, she has established a significant voluntary connection with the United States as a Ph.D. student, which would allow for her to bring constitutional claims in United States courts.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

McOmie-Gray v. Bank of America

Under U.S.C. § 1635(f), regardless of whether the parties have notice or agreed otherwise, suits for rescission must be filed within three years of signing the loan agreement.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Ruiz v. Affinity Logistics

Under California's choice of law framework, parties' choice of Georgia law to govern an employment agreement is unenforceable because Georgia law is contrary to a fundamental policy of California and California has a materially greater interest in the case.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

United States v. Kimsey

Title 18 U.S.C. § 402 creates a statutory right to a jury trial in a criminal contempt proceeding, and a violation of local court rules, “cannot serve as a predicate for criminal convictions under that statute.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Adams v. USFS

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act unambiguously prohibits the Unites States Forest Service from charging recreational park users an amenity fee solely for parking or using the undeveloped areas of a Park.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Gomez Zarate v. Holder

Removal from the United States after a criminal proceeding, even if not in front of a Immigration Judge, is enough to break the continuous and uninterrupted presence requirement on an application for cancellation of removal.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

In the Matter of SK Foods

A bankruptcy court's order denying the removal of a trustee and return of records is not a final order, and the Court lacks jurisdiction to hear issues on appeal involving interlocutory orders.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

Metabolic Research v. Ferrell

A motion to dismiss under anti-SLAPP statutes must meet the criteria applicable to the collateral order doctrine in order to be immediately reviewable as an interlocutory appeal.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Save The Peaks Coalition v. USFS

A gross abuse of the judicial process occurs and laches apply when "new" plaintiffs appear four years later after litigation had already been commenced by other plaintiffs, however laches does not apply when defendants cannot demonstrate that they have suffered prejudice.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Skilstaf v. CVS Caremark Corp.

A class member is precluded from filing a second class action suit when the member was (1) a party to a prior settlement agreement containing an applicable covenant not sue, and (2) the class member had full notice and an opportunity to object or withdraw from the prior settlement agreement.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

ACLU v. Masto

Sex offender regulation schemes expanding the scope of notice and registration and applying retroactively, do not necessarily offend the Double Jeopardy or Ex Post Facto clauses of the Constitution.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Beets v. County of Los Angeles

Under Heck v. Humphrey , 512 U.S. 477 (1994), a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim is barred where the issue has already been considered and decided in another proceeding with a sufficient community of interest to the current proceeding.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Hunt v. County of Orange

Demotion and placing an inferior officer on administrative leave, because the officer campaigned against and alleged corruption against the superior officer is not constitutional. However, the superior officer may have qualified immunity if they reasonably but mistakenly believe political loyalty was required by the inferior officer.

Area(s) of Law:
  • First Amendment

United States v. Yeung

It is insufficient to rely upon the outstanding principal balance as the basis for restitution in calculating a restitution award under the Mandatory Victims Restitution of Act of 1996, when the victim is a loan purchaser and not the loan originator. In addition, the proper valuation for returned collateral is the market value at time the victim takes possession, not the amount the victim is able to sell the property for at a later date.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Watison v. Carter

To claim violation of the “First Amendment right to file a grievance against prison officials and to be free from retaliation for doing so,” a prisoner must allege that (a) filing a grievance is protected conduct; (b) defendant took adverse actions; (c) the grievance precipitated those actions; (d) the actions “would chill or silence a person of ordinary firmness from future First Amendment activities”; and (e) the actions “did not advance legitimate goals of the correctional institution,” because they were arbitrary and capricious or “unnecessary to the maintenance of order in the institution.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Leigh v. Salazar

The Press-Enterprise II qualified right of access balancing test applies to media access to a government run horse roundup because the test balances the media’s ability to monitor all government activities not just criminal proceedings.

Area(s) of Law:
  • First Amendment

United States v. Polar Star

A federal government action for a taking, concurrent with a notice to renew a lease upon that same property, may be dismissed if the government's lease is renewed and there is a possessory right in the property. Other terms to that lease renewal, such as the price of the lease are within the sole jurisdiction of the Court of Federal Claims.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Contract Law

Naify Revocable Trust v. United States

The value of a California income tax claim becomes certain when the parties settle the claim and the amount of the settlement is the value of the claim against the estate of a decedent.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Range Road Music v. East Coast Foods

Observation of public performance of copyrighted songs is within the acceptable purview of lay opinion and will alone suffice as evidence of copyright infringement because there need not be a showing of "'substantial similarity; between the publicly performed compositions and the copyrighted works" where such evidence is available to show "that the public performances entailed direct copying."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Copyright

Wilson v. Hewlett-Packard

To state a claim for relief under the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act and the Unfair Competition Act, a plaintiff must show that a causal connection exists between the alleged design defect and the alleged safety hazard, and that the manufacturer had knowledge of the safety hazard at the time of sale.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Latter-Singh v. Holder

California Penal Code § 422 is “categorically a crime of moral turpitude” and aliens convicted of such a crime are therefore subject to removal pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Putnam Family Partnership v. Yucaipa

The requisite intent to provide housing for seniors under the “senior exemption” exception to prohibitions on discriminatory housing policies in the Fair Housing Amendments Act and Housing for Older Persons Act can be that of a city in passing a zoning ordinance, and is not limited to the intent of a housing provider.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Municipal Law

Turtle Island Restoration Network v. US Dep't of State

A certification process that gives rise to an allegation on an annual basis does not defeat claim preclusion each year when a party has already had an opportunity to litigate the issue.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Mardesich v. Cate

The statute of limitations on claims under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) is calculated on a claim-by-claim basis, and the AEDPA statute of limitations on a challenge to an administrative decision begins when the administrative decision is final.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

United States v. Louis

A defendant, in a civil forfeiture suit, cannot use the Fifth Amendment "as both a sword and shield" by refusing to answer interrogatory discovery requests containing necessary elements to establish the defendant's Article III standing.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Haskell v. Harris

California Penal Code statute requiring DNA samples to be taken from all felony arrestees does not violate the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution given the diminished expectation of privacy in a felony arrestee and the compelling governmental interests in identification, solving crimes, preventing crimes, and exoneration.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Movesesian v. Victoria Versicherung AG

Section 354.4 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, which grants state courts jurisdiction over insurance claims by Armenian Genocide Victims, is preempted under the foreign affairs doctrine.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Preemption

Moormann v. Schriro

A death row inmate is not entitled to a stay of execution under Atkins when they allege that they have become mentally retarded after the offense, because there is no "clearly established law" that a person who was not mentally retarded at the time of the crime or trial may be immune from capital punishment under Atkins, "because of subsequent mental deterioration."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Towery v. Brewer

For an injunction halting an execution to be granted based on Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment violations, a plaintiff must show that the execution protocol was likely to subject the plaintiff to cruel and unusual punishment, and that the protocol would result in disparate treatment in which the plaintiff was treated differently and detrimentally.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Towery v. Ryan

An attorney did not abandon his client by failing to raise a colorable claim on a habeas corpus petition when considering all the circumstances the attorney's behavior did not breach the duty of loyalty.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Bowers v. Whitman

The State of Oregon did not commit a taking, when the Oregon voters enacted Measure 49, because owner’s property had not vested. Further Measure 49 did not violate procedural due process or equal protection rights because the measure did not implicate fundamental rights and was not based on a suspect class.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

James v. Ryan

Where the defendant was sentenced to death, capital defense counsel’s assistance was ineffective during sentencing where counsel failed to introduce mitigating evidence of the defendant’s extensive childhood exposure to violence, drug abuse, poverty, and sexually predatory adults, and of his history of drug abuse, suicide attempts, and mental illness.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Pimentel v. Dreyfus

The district court abused its discretion in granting a preliminary injunction enjoining the State of Washington from terminating a state-funded food assistance program for legal immigrants not qualifying for the federal food assistance program, because plaintiffs failed to show they were likely to succeed on the merits of their due process and equal protection claims.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Rohit v. Holder

For purposes of determining whether an alien is deportable under 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(ii), disorderly conduct involving prostitution under § 647(b) of the California Penal Code is a crime involving moral turpitude.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Bolivar

Motley v. Parks did not overrule United States v. Davis , which requires reasonable suspicion, not probable cause, that property is “owned, controlled, or possessed by probationer, in order for the item to fall within the permissible bounds of a probation search.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. White

A district court’s failure to hold a second or subsequent competency hearing sua sponte is reviewed for abuse of discretion, and a defendant is competent to stand trial if he understands the nature of the charges and consequences of the proceedings against him, and has the ability to assist in his defense.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

March 39 summaries

Emeldi v. University of Oregon

To establish a prima facie case of retaliation under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a plaintiff who does not have direct evidence of retaliation must show that (1) the plaintiff engaged in protected activity, (2) the plaintiff suffered an adverse action, and (3) there was a causal link between the protected activity and the adverse action.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

San Luis v. U.S. Dep't of the Interior

In failing to apply certain releases against the 800,000 acre feet of water specifically designated for fish, wildlife, and habitat restoration within California's Central Valley Project, the Department of the Interior did not abuse its discretion so as to invalidate its actions under the Administrative Procedure Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

State of Nevada v. Bank of America Corp.

For purposes of the minimal diversity requirement under the Class Action Fairness Act, the court will examine “the essential nature and effect of the proceeding as it appears from the entire record” in determining whether the state is the real party in interest in a state Attorney General parens patriae action.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

United States v. Lequire

Under Arizona law, a contract between an insurance agency and insurance company that “permitted agency commingling, required monthly agency payments whether premiums were collected or not, and created a right to interest on late payments” results in a creditor-debtor relationship, not a trust. Thus, if no trust property exists, there can be no crime of embezzlement since the alleged victim did not own the funds allegedly embezzled.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Loughner

A pre-trial detainee, while under commitment to try and render him competent to stand trial, may be forcibly medicated under Harper because he is dangerous to himself or others.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Klestadt & Winters v. Cangelosi

A "sanctions order issued by the district court sitting in bankruptcy, whether supported by the district court's inherent powers or Rule 9011 [of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure], [is] not an appealable collateral order."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

Oyeniran v. Holder

The Board of Immigration Appeals is bound to its prior determinations of past incidents of government-sponsored violence under collateral estoppel, and it abuses its discretion when it fails to reopen a proceeding when the petitioner presents new evidence that is sufficient, dramatic, and compelling.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Kilgore v. KeyBank, Nat'l Ass'n

The Federal Arbitration Act preempts state law when enforcing arbitration agreements in contracts; unless there is some reason to revoke the contract.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Preemption

United States v. Whitney

A breach of a plea agreement by the government occurs when, as part of the plea bargain the government promises (1) not to divulge information disclosed during cooperation with the government and (2) to urge a sentence at the low-end of the guidelines, and then at sentencing the prosecution divulges the admissions and provides arguments for the sentencing judge regarding the seriousness of the defendant's criminal history.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Wagner v. County of Maricopa

The Court reviews evidentiary rulings and allows out of court statements where they are introduced to show the declarant's state of mind.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

Cruz v. International Collection Corp.

A debt collection agency violates the FDCPA when it (1) uses false, deceptive, or misleading representation when attempting to collect a debt, or (2) contacts a debtor who has notified the creditor, in writing, of refusal to pay the debt. An individual may personally violate the FDCPA if he qualifies as a debt collector and took action that violated the FDCPA.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Pizzuto v. Blades

Under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(2), a second or successive habeas petition, including petitioners sentenced to death, the petitioner must show by clear and convincing evidence that, but for constitutional error, no reasonable factfinder could have found the applicant guilty of the underlying offense.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Conner v. Heiman

When the material facts are undisputed by the parties and the dispute is only what inferences may properly be drawn from the facts, a court must decide the question of qualified immunity as a matter of law; a jury's possible finding that more reasonable inferences may have been drawn from the facts is irrelevant if the court finds that defendants acted on reasonable conclusions based upon the circumstances and settled law.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Anderson v. Holder

For the purposes of naturalization, the laws of the state in which a child was domiciled prior to reaching twenty-one years of age determine paternity.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Skydive Arizona v. Quattrocchi

A district court, in its discretion, can enter judgment for any sum above the amount found as actual damages, not exceeding three times such amount, however, such sum shall constitute compensation and not a penalty.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

United States v. Ressam

The decrease in sentencing of convicted terrorist, Ahmed Ressam, by the district court was "substantially unreasonable" taking into account his recantation of testimony, public safety, and deterrence. The district court failed to justify the variance from the Sentencing Guidelines calculation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Shannahan v. Internal Revenue Service

The IRS properly denied a Freedom of Information Act request from an attorney, representing fugitives, who was seeking information related to his client's civil case because disclosure would seriously undermine the Federal Tax Administration and would interfere with law enforcement purposes.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

United States v. King

Where a condition of a defendant’s probation allows for a warrantless search at “any time of the day or night, with or without probable cause,” police may lawfully execute a warrantless search even if they do not have “reasonable suspicion.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Alliance For The Wild Rockies v. Salazar

Congress does not violate the separation of powers doctrine when it changes the particular law applicable to pending litigation, as long as the amendment does not direct the court to make particular findings of fact or to order certain outcomes.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Angle v. Miller

Ballot initiative legislation that requires initiative proponents to obtain signatures equal to 10 percent of the registered voters in the prior general election from each of a states congressional districts, does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause or the First Amendment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Otay Land Co. v. United Enterprises

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1919, when a case is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, a court may award “just costs,” which are to be determined by an analysis of what is fair and equitable under the totality of the circumstances.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Sharrock v. United States

A naval officer is not acting within the line of duty when traveling between work and a recreational activity encouraged by the Navy. As such, respondeat superior does not apply in this situation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

Turtle Island Restoration v. Hawaii Longline

The district court does not abuse its discretion by approving a consent decree when (1) it does not make substantive changes to regulations, (2) there is no clearly erroneous fact finding and (3) the decree is “fair, reasonable and adequate and does not violate public policy.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

United States v. Del Toro-Barboza

Under U.S.S.G. § 2S1.3(a)(2), no showing of “loss to the public” is necessary to justify a sentencing enhancement when the underlying offense is a violation of 31 U.S.C. §§ 5332 or 5324.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Salt River Project v. Lee

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19, an Indian Tribe protected by sovereign immunity is not considered a necessary or indispensable party, when a tribal official adequately represents the group’s interest in the action and complete relief could be accorded “among the existing parties without the tribe.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Western Radio Services v. Qwest Corp.

Based on a new report and order from the Federal Communications Commission, when a call is originated and terminated in the same Major Trading Area it is considered local, and the involvement of an interexchange carrier does not affect the obligation of reciprocal compensation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Coneff v. AT & T Corp.

The Federal Arbitration Act preempts the Washington State law that invalidates a class-action waiver in arbitration agreements.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Preemption

Phillips v. Ornoski

A prosecutor violates his or her duty to correct false testimony under Napue when he or she makes a deal with the attorney of a key witness, asks the attorney not to disclose the deal to the witness, then use the witness’s testimony and lack of direct knowledge of the deal as evidence that the prosecution made no promise in exchange for their testimony.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Skinner v. Northrop Grumman Retirement

There are no equitable remedies of reformation or surcharge available when an administrative committee provides retirement summary plan descriptions that are inconsistent with the plan master documents unless there is evidence of fraud, mistake, unjust enrichment, or actual harm.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Benson v. JPMorgan Chase Bank

The Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 bars claims asserted against a purchasing bank when the claim is based on the conduct of the failed institution, but does not bar claims based on the purchasing bank’s own acts.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

R & R Sails, Inc. v. Insurance Co. of Pennsylvania

Where a court precludes evidence as a sanction for discovery requirement violations and such preclusion amounts to the dismissal of the party’s claim, a court must consider whether the failure to comply involved willfulness, fault, or bad faith, and also the availability of lesser sanctions.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Taproot Administrative Services v. CIR

A taxpayer is ineligible for S corporation status where the sole shareholder of the S corporation is a custodial Roth IRA, because a Roth IRA does not qualify as an individual and the IRA's tax deferral scheme would allow a taxpayer to avoid all taxation on S corporation profits.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Peng v. Holder

Irrespective of whether an alien pleaded guilty or proceeded to trial, an alien convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude before the enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act is eligible for waiver of deportation under § 212 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Nguyen

A search warrant is validly issued if there is a “‘fair probability’ that a crime has been committed.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Bagdasarian Productions v. Twentieth Century Fox

An appellate court does not have jurisdiction where a district court has “entered a stay, pending [a California Code of Civil Procedure §] 638 reference,” so long as (1) the opposing party will not be “put out of court” and (2) the “collateral order doctrine” does not apply.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

In re: Kekauoha-Alisa

Under Hawaii state law, strict compliance with foreclosure procedure is required to not void foreclosure sale. Even where a violation of strict compliance establishes unfair business practices, a claimant must establish a causal connection between the procedural violations and her injuries.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

United States v. Major

Under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), “when [a] district court does not have sufficient information to determine the order in which the jury made determinations of guilt during jury deliberations on multiple counts, it must order the convictions so that the mandatory minimum sentence is minimized.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

United States v. Rodrigues

A conviction for theft of honest services, based on a jury instruction lacking a kickback element, prior to the Supreme Court case Skilling v. United States is not in error if the record contains no evidence that could rationally lead to a contrary finding with regard to the new element.

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

Brantley v. NBC Universal, Inc.

To state a valid claim under the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1, a plaintiff must plead facts that show actual injury to competition. It is not enough to allege a reduction of consumer choice or increased prices without demonstrating actual anticompetitive effects.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

April 37 summaries

Ben-Sholom v. Ayers

A defendant who fails to show prejudice by counsel’s failure to present a state of mind defense does not establish a right to habeas relief, and therefore is not entitled to an evidentiary hearing on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel during the guilt-phase of trial.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Coalition To Defend v. Brown

Prohibiting preferential treatment on the basis of race or ethnicity in the public education system does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Molina v. Astrue

Where adverse credibility of a claimant’s testimony is established in determining whether the claimant is “disabled” under the Social Security Act, the same "specific, clear, and convincing reasons" for rejecting the claimant’s testimony apply with equal force to lay witness testimony conveying similar evidence. Failure to comment on such lay testimony is harmless error.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Disability Law

Wentzell v. Neven

Under § 2244(b) of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, when a defendant files two petitions for writ of habeas corpus, the latter petition is not “second or successive” where an amended judgment intervenes between the filing of the two habeas petitions.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Arbid v. Holder

Where an immigration judge finds that an alien committed a “particularly serious crime” based on the Frentescu factors, that alien will be ineligible for asylum or withholding of removal pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1231(b)(3)(B)(ii). Further, where there has been a favorable change in the foreign country’s political regime, the alien will be ineligible for deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture, 8 C.F.R. § 1208.17(a).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Schneider v. McDaniel

Claims in amended habeas petitions must "arise out of a common core of operative facts" from the original petition's claims.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

United States v. Onyesoh

The government must show some proof of the usability of an unauthorized access device, such as expired credit card numbers, when its use is not readily apparent.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Manzo

The failure of counsel to advise a defendant to withdraw from a plea bargain is deemed ineffective counsel if there is still time to withdraw and it becomes clear that the sentence will be significantly greater than expected because there was a mutual mistake in predicting the sentence.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Wilbur

In a Cigarette Tax Contract (“CTC”), the state’s retrocession of taxes applies only to the sale of cigarettes by licensed “Indian retailers”, as defined in the CTC. The sale of untaxed, unstamped, “contraband” cigarettes on tribal land is a violation of the Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act (“CCTA”).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Indian Law

L.A. Printex Industries, Inc. v. Aeropostale, Inc.

A genuine issue of material fact exists (1) as to whether Defendants had access to a fabric design when 50,000 yards of the fabric were sold in the area and (2) as to substantial similarity where the two designs had similar arrangements of floral elements.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Copyright

Moss v. U.S. Secret Service

Under the First Amendment, officers or agents are not entitled to qualified immunity when there is facial viewpoint discrimination or prevention of demonstration of opposing views. Under the Fourth Amendment, the plaintiff must establish a plausible claim specifically against an individual in order for the claim to move forward.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Oklevueha Native American v. Holder

When asserting a claim for prospective relief, a plaintiff has a justiciable case and controversy for constitutional and statutory entitlement to use marijuana in religious practice if enforcement or prosecution has already occurred, regardless of whether criminal charges resulted from that enforcement action.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

United States v. Nosal

The Court held that “exceeds authorized access” in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act 18 U.S.C. § 1030 “is limited to violations of restrictions on access to information, and not restrictions on its use.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Samper v. Providence St. Vincent

Where a job requires an employee’s on-site presence to maintain other essential functions, like teamwork or face-to-face interactions with patients, regular attendance is an essential function of employment, and therefore cannot be exempted by a disability accommodation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Disability Law

Brown v. Ahern

A federal district court shall abstain from exercising jurisdiction over a pre-conviction habeas petition asserting a Speedy Trial claim as an affirmative defense to state prosecution, except in “cases of extraordinary circumstances.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Minority Television Project v. FCC

The ban on public broadcasters’ transmission of public issue and political advertisements under 47 U.S.C. § 399b fails intermediate scrutiny and thus violates the First Amendment, because the government failed to prove that its fear of harm to the substantial interest of ensuring high-quality educational public broadcasting is “real, not merely conjectural.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • First Amendment

United States v. Goodbear

For purposes of applying a two-level enhancement under USSG § 3B1.4, the use of a minor by another person can be attributed to a defendant who knew or should have known that the person would use the minor to lie to authorities.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

United States v. Kelly

Peace and disarmament activists cannot trespass and destroy government property and claim protection from an international treaty, because when an international treaty conflicts with another federal law, the more recent of the two controls. Under 18 U.S.C. § 1363, “malicious” is defined under common law as having (1) intent to commit the prohibited act, and (2) no justification or excuse.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Stengel v. Medtronic Inc.

A claim under state law challenging the safety of medical equipment given premarket approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is preempted by the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) if the state law provides a requirement “different from” FDCA requirements. Further, a plaintiff’s claim of injury based on a medical equipment manufacturer’s failure to report information to the FDA is invalid, because the FDCA does not provide a private right of action.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Preemption

United States v. Swank

A two-level enhancement in sentencing is appropriate when the defendant is convicted of Abusive Sexual Contact under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2244(a)(5), 1153(a), and was in a care-taking, parent-like relationship with the victim.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Balla v. State of Idaho

Under the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act, fees can be awarded to an attorney for his efforts in monitoring relief after a party has won a judgment, as long as “the fee was directly and reasonably incurred in enforcing the relief ordered for the violation”.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Attorney Fees

Gonzalez v. Arizona

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 preempts a state law requirement that proof of citizenship be presented for voter registration. Under the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, a state law may require voters provide identification at the polls in order to vote.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

In re Pacific Pictures

A party cannot assert "selective waiver" of attorney-client privilege when the party discloses privileged documents to the government because it is inconsistent with serving societal interests and it is not a new privilege that Congress is willing to adopt.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Cross v. Sisto

A federal habeas corpus claim should not be found untimely when it is properly filed under California law and statutory tolling is correctly applied.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

United States v. Austin

To qualify for sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), the (C) agreement must either explicitly allow the court to apply sentencing guideline ranges or clearly show that the specific term of the agreement was based on sentencing ranges.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Noble v. Adams

For purposes of tolling the statute of limitations, a district court must determine what is a reasonable time to appeal a petition for writ of habeas corpus or whether a delay is excusable, under applicable state law.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

In Re Jacobson

The homestead exemption requirement of reinvestment of proceeds applies to homestead sales that occur after a bankruptcy judgment has already been entered.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

Meras v. Sisto

A state court’s admission of a non-testifying expert’s lab report into evidence on the basis that it is not “testimonial” under Crawford is not “an unreasonable application of Federal law,” and therefore does not trigger a defendant’s right to confrontation under the Sixth Amendment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Robles-Urrea v. Holder

Misprision of a felony is not categorically a crime involving moral turpitude which would qualify a resident alien for removability under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Milovanovic

Under 18 U.S.C. §§1341 and 1346, a fiduciary duty “need not be formal, or classic.” Rather, a material breach of “a comparable duty of loyalty, trust, and confidence, … with the intent to defraud, deprives the victim of the intangible right to honest services.” Foreseeable risk of economic harm is not a necessary element of the Mail Fraud Statute; instead a materiality test is required to evaluate fraudulent intent and a showing of materiality.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Rivas v. Napolitano

Under the Mandamus Act and 22 C.F.R. § 42.81(e), a federal court has subject matter jurisdiction to review a consular refusal to reconsider an application for an immigrant visa when the request was properly submitted and included evidence that tended to disprove the grounds for refusal.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Appellate Procedure

United States v. Apel

Under 18 U.S.C. § 1382, a defendant cannot be convicted of trespass to an area where the federal government has granted an easement for a public roadway such that the federal government no longer has an exclusive right of possession over the area.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Western Watersheds v. U.S. Dep't of the Interior

Under 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1)(A) and Hudson , a prevailing party is not entitled to an award of attorneys’ fees incurred in administrative proceedings that concluded before the commencement of the district court action.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Buckwalter v. Nevada Board of Medical Examiners

When exercising its summary suspension powers, the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners is performing a function "comparable to a judicial act" and is afforded absolute immunity from liability.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Rights § 1983

Crowley v. State of Nevada

An enforcement action under 42 USC § 1983 is not available where § 301 of the Help America Vote Act provides no cause of action to challenge recount procedures in elections for local office.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Rights § 1983

United States v. Backlund

A defendant in a criminal proceeding based on the Forest Service’s administrative decision may obtain judicial review of a final agency action by filing suit in a federal district court under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), or challenging the decision in a subsequent criminal proceeding, so long as either action is filed within the APA’s six-year statute of limitations.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

United States v. Dorsey

Witness testimony tending to prove that the defendant had the means to commit a crime is not within the scope of inadmissible evidence involving “prior bad acts.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

May 44 summaries

Beltran v. Astrue

For purposes of determining whether a claimant is “disabled” and thus qualified for benefits under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act, “a significant number” of jobs does not exist “where the jobs were ‘very rare’ or generally unavailable to the claimant due to [her] limitations.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Disability Law

Detrich v. Ryan

A petition for habeas corpus on a penalty-phase ineffective assistance of counsel claim is granted when: the state post-conviction court unreasonably applied federal law and the deficient performance prejudiced the defense.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Padilla v. Yoo

A government official is entitled to qualified immunity unless, at the time of their actions, the law is "sufficiently clear that every reasonable government official would have understood that what he was doing violated the plaintiff's rights."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Estate of Morgens v. CIR

“Gift taxes paid by the donee trustees of a Qualifying Terminable Interest in Property (QTIP) trust, based on a 26 U.S.C. § 2519 deemed inter vivos transfer of the QTIP property within three years of the donor’s death, must be included in the transferor’s gross estate under the so-called “gross-up rule” of § 2035(b).”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Trusts and Estates

Crosby v. Schwartz

Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), a denial of a writ of habeas corpus is reviewed under an extremely deferential standard and the denial will only be reversed if: the decision is contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, federal law; or if the decision was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Henry A. v. Willden

The 2 exceptions--"special relationship" and "state-created danger"--to the general rule that Due Process does not impose affirmative duties on the government should not be read too narrowly when evaluating claims that a state failed to provide basic rights of safety and proper medical care to foster children.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Juvenile Law

Nedds v. Calderon

Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), a petitioner is entitled to equitable tolling of the statute of limitations for a habeas corpus claim when the petitioner relies on circuit court precedent, even if that precedent is later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Veterans for Common Sense v. Shinseki

The district court lacked jurisdiction to hear whether the procedures for veterans’ mental health services and service-related disability claims with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs violates due process and a statutory duty to provide timely care. The district court did have jurisdiction to consider if the Regional Office’s non-adversarial adjudication of disability claims satisfied due process and properly held that it did.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Karl v. City of Mountain Terrace

Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, where a public employee gives subpoenaed deposition testimony in the course of a § 1983 lawsuit, a supervisor whose subsequent retaliatory conduct causes the termination of the employee does not have qualified immunity, even if the supervisor did not have final authority to terminate the employee.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Ward v. Chavez

First, when exhaustion is futile, the exhaustion requirement should be waived. Second, under the MVRA, where a defendant is unable to pay restitution immediately, a court may not order immediate repayment because such an order impermissibly delegates the setting a repayment schedule to the Bureau of Prisons or Probation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Wood v. San Diego

A pension plan that has a disparate impact with respect to sex does not violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, so long as the pension plan is facially neutral.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Renee v. Duncan

Before Congress amended the Continuing Appropriations Act by adding Section 163, which temporarily expands the definition of “highly qualified teacher” under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the challenged federal regulation characterizing an alternative-route teacher who has not obtained full state certification as a “highly qualified teacher" violates the NCLB. However, so long as Section 163 is in effect, the challenged regulation is consistent with the NCLB.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Education Law

Thomas v. Chappell

When a defense attorney unreasonably fails to investigate and locate witnesses to corroborate a witness’s critical testimony and support the primary defense strategy of third-party culpability in a difficult-to-decide case, such performance prejudices the defendant.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

United States v. Vallee

A summons to revoke a defendant's supervised release is valid to extend the court's jurisdiction to conduct a delayed revocation hearing under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(i) when the summons is signed and issued by a clerk at the direction of a judge.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Zhou

42 U.S.C. § 1320d-6(a)(2) contains two separate elements necessary for a violation: a person must (1) knowingly obtain individually identifiable health information relating to an individual and (2) use that information in a manner inconsistent with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Hieng

A defendant’s failure to object to the admission of statements made during a proffer meeting “may be reasonably interpreted as indicating that the defendant previously waived his rights under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(f) and Federal Rule of Evidence 410,” and a defendant has no right to confront an interpreter where the interpreted statement “may be fairly attributed directly to the [original] speaker.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

Sexton v. Cozner

Where a petitioner fails to prove that his trial counsel’s performance was constitutionally deficient, the petitioner’s post-conviction relief counsel is not ineffective for failing to raise an ineffective-assistance-of-trial-counsel claim in state court. Thus, the petitioner does not meet the requirements under Martinez to excuse his procedurally defaulted claims of ineffective assistance of counsel not raised in state court.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Oman v. Portland Public Schools

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), 20 U.S.C. §§ 1400 et seq., does not provide a cause of action for nominal damages.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Education Law

Lopez v. Brewer

Under Arizona’s lethal injection protocol, difficulties in inserting the peripheral line in a prisoner’s hand, the femoral central line, and repeated abortive IV line placement efforts do not constitute an “objectively intolerable risk of pain,” and therefore do not violate the Eighth Amendment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Lopez v. Ryan

“Inadequate assistance of counsel at initial-review collateral proceedings may establish cause for a prisoner’s procedural default of a claim of ineffective assistance at trial” where the prisoner establishes that “the underlying ineffective assistance claim is a substantial one.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

SEC v. Jasper

A trial court may properly exclude hearsay statements that are admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 804(b)(1) where the “trial court simply considered it unfair to present a version of an unavailable witness’s testimony without an opportunity to cross-examine directly.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

United States v. Cervantes

Under the Fourth Amendment, the automobile and the community care exceptions to the warrant requirement for a search only apply if there is: (1) probable cause not based on conclusory observations and (2) the government sustains the heavy burden of demonstrating a valid caretaking reason for a vehicle to be impounded and searched.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Pom Wonderful v. Coca-Cola Co.

Juice producers/bottlers may not state a false-advertising claim under the Lanham Act because the FDA and FDCA regulate how manufacturers may name and label its juices.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Rodgers v. Marshall

A criminal defendant’s request for representation to file a post-verdict new trial motion is a “critical stage” under the Sixth Amendment and thus allows for a right to counsel, and that denying such representation because a defendant waived his right to counsel previously is a violation of established federal law.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Alday v. Raytheon Company

When a collective bargaining agreement clearly establishes rights for eligible retired employees, their rights cannot be abrogated by clauses contained in an ERISA plan that is not incorporated into the collective bargaining agreement.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Contract Law

James v. City of Costa Mesa

Medical marijuana use is not protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Disability Law

Jimenez v. Franklin

Where a defendant is held jointly and severally liable for the whole amount of a judgment, the defendant may not be granted satisfaction of judgment for a payment made in accordance with 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(d)(2), a statute limiting liability of prisoners, when the defendant failed to raise the issue on appeal.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

United States v. Carpenter

18 U.S.C. § 3509(a) defines "sexual abuse" for purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 3282's extended statute of limitations. A defendant must make his desire for self-representation known in a timely and unequivocal manner.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Romo-Chavez

The Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment does not prohibit the introduction of a defendant's translated admissions to a police officer even if the translator would not qualify as a court interpreter.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

Fenenbock v. Director of Corrections

A defendant is not denied sufficient pretrial access to the prosecution’s primary witness where the witness is a minor, and an agency unrelated to the prosecution acts in the minor’s best interest and restricts the defendant’s access to the minor.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Nitschke v. Belleque

A petitioner's Apprendi claim is procedurally defaulted when the petitioner fails to preserve the error at trial and the claim does not meet the "plain error" exception. Further, if a state appellate court’s analysis to determine plain error does not reach a petitioner's federal claim, the state court's judgment is not sufficiently interwoven with federal law and, therefore, a federal court is barred from reviewing the petitioner’s habeas petition.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Native Village of Point Hope v. Salazar

Where the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management does not act “arbitrarily or capriciously” in concluding that the description of an exploratory oil drilling plan satisfied the informational requirements of 30 C.F.R. § 550.213(d), the court will defer to the agency’s interpretation of its own regulations.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

Snow v. McDaniel

The district court incorrectly grants a defendant’s summary judgment motion where material issues of fact remain as to whether the denial of hip replacement surgery for a death-row inmate amounted to "deliberate indifference," in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Rights § 1983

United States v. Harris

A judge who did not preside over a trial abuses her discretion to proceed with sentencing when that judge is only familiar with the Presentence Investigation Report, and the trial judge’s absence is due to turmoil arising from the shooting of another judge.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Wilhelm v. Rotman

A party’s written consent to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge continues when a new magistrate is substituted for the initial magistrate assigned to the case.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Marsh v. County of San Diego

"The Constitution protects a parent's rights to control the physical remains, memory and images of a deceased child against unwarranted public exploitation by the government."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Ordonez v. United States

Sovereign immunity bars a criminal defendant’s equitable claim for monetary damages under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(g).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Schechner v. KPIX-TV

A plaintiff’s statistical evidence of age discrimination need not factor in legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for termination to meet the minimal burden of proof at step one of the McDonnell Douglas framework.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Employment Law

United States v. Johnson

To obtain a conviction for knowingly making a false statement with respect to information required to be kept by a federally licensed firearms dealer under 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(1)(A), the government need not prove that “the falsehood pertains to the lawfulness of the sale to the ultimate recipient.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Flournoy v. Small

Federal law does not clearly establish a Confrontation Clause violation where the trial court allows a forensic expert to testify based on reports prepared by other analysts.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Lewis v. Ayers

An interlocutory appeal for a competency determination in a habeas corpus case is not “an immediately appealable collateral order” because it is not conclusive, does not “resolve an important question separate from the merits” and is re-reviewable on appeal. A district court’s decision regarding a competency order is not clearly erroneous when “there are two permissible views of the evidence.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Appellate Procedure

United States v. Leal-Vega

Sentencing enhancements for illegal reentry by deported aliens can only be applied where the prior convictions are a specific violation written in the language of a state or federal statute.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

United States v. Gomez-Hernandez

Under the two-prongs of Taylor, an attempt offense is a violent crime for the purposes of enhancement under USSG § 2L1.2(b)(1)(A)(ii), when the attempt offense is a categorical match with the generic offense, even if the offense underlying the attempt is not.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

United States v. Perea-Rey

Under the Fourth Amendment's protections, agents do not need a warrant to observe inside the curtilage of the home but do need a warrant to enter into it. The "knock and talk" exception's constitutionality of curtilage entries is determined on whether “the officer’s actions are consistent with an attempt to initiate consensual contact with the occupants of the home" and not the "officer's subjective intent."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

June 61 summaries

Hexcel Corp. v. Ineos Polymers

Although the statute of limitations in antitrust actions may be tolled if the defendant fraudulently concealed the cause of action in such a way that the plaintiff was unable to know it existed, Hexcel had constructive, if not actual notice, of its claims against BP Amoco long before the earliest possible date Hexcel’s claims could have accrued. Therefore, the doctrine of fraudulent concealment does not apply, and Hexcel’s claims against BP Amoco are time-barred under the applicable four-year statute of limitations.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Karuk Tribe of California v. USFS

Under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, the Forest Service has a duty to consult a designated agency before approving a Notice of Intent for mining activity that could potentially affect a listed species.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

Ludwig v. Astrue

Decisions must be made entirely on the basis of evidence adduced at the hearing, not, even in part, on private chats. “Receipt of ex parte communication [that goes to the heart of the case], assignment of some weight to it, and denial of a supplementary hearing to address it,” is error, requiring an evaluation of whether prejudice exists.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Nordyke v. King

With respect to a gun show on county property, an ordinance may impose a restriction requiring firearms to be affixed to a table without violating the Second Amendment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Xiong v. Felker

Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), a denial of a writ of habeas corpus challenging a state court conviction will only be reversed if the decision is contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, federal law; or if the decision was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Kaahumanu v. State of Hawaii

Where a permit to conduct commercial activities on a public forum imposes a condition allowing an official to revoke the permit at his or her sole discretion, such a condition violates the First Amendment because no adequate standards exist to guide the official’s decision and to render that decision subject to judicial review.

Area(s) of Law:
  • First Amendment

M.M. v. Lafayette School District

In challenging an administrative proceeding under 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq ., the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a party may not seek review in district court until the ALJ makes a final decision as to all claims.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Thompson v. Lea

Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, where a state supreme court reopens direct review such that a prisoner’s conviction is “again capable of modification through direct appeal,” the statute of limitations for the prisoner to file a habeas corpus petition does not begin to run until 90 days after termination of the state supreme court review.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Garcia v. Thomas

Under the Convention Against Torture and the Due Process Clause, an extraditee has the right to a determination by the Secretary of State that it is “not more likely than not that the extraditee will face torture.” In a habeas corpus proceeding, a court must find that right fully vindicated if the court receives a properly executed declaration from the Secretary of State “that she has complied with her obligations.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Harris v. County of Orange

Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, the rule requiring a plaintiff to exhaust all administrative remedies before filing a lawsuit may be met where an individual class member files a complaint with the administrative agency; the filing need not be on behalf of the class as a whole.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Leavitt v. Arave

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b), a defendant is not entitled to (1) relief for ineffective assistance of counsel, where counsel made a strategic choice to not call an expert witness, or (2) an order to compel a law enforcement agency to conduct forensic testing on evidence, where the defendant has not explained how the testing would support his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Riggs v. Prober & Raphael

A validation notice expressly requiring a consumer to dispute her debt in writing violates § 1692g(a)(3) of the FDCPA.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

The Associated Press v. Otter

Under California First Amendment Coalition v. Woodford , the public enjoys a First Amendment right to view an entire execution, including the "initial procedures." Any limitation on this right must be "reasonably related to legitimate penological objectives."

Area(s) of Law:
  • First Amendment

United States v. Jingles

An indictment found to be constructively amended does not require automatic reversal of a defendant's conviction under plain error review. A defendant's conviction only requires reversal if the constructive amendment seriously affects "the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Du v. Allstate Insurance Co.

Under the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, an insurer’s duty to settle includes the duty to effectuate settlement even in the absence of a demand.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Insurance Law

United States v. Grant

The good faith reliance doctrine under United States v. Leon is inapplicable to an affidavit that does not “establish at least a colorable argument for probable cause.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Avina v. United States

A genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether the conduct of DEA agents against two minors was excessive, given their ages and the threat that they posed, where the agents forced the handcuffed minors to lie face down on the floor and pointed guns at the head of one minor.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

Okwu v. McKim

“Congress’s inclusion of a comprehensive remedial scheme in Title I of the ADA precludes § 1983 claims predicated on alleged violations of ADA Title I substantive rights.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Rights § 1983

United States v. Berry

The district court does not err in denying a motion for acquittal or a new trial where prosecutorial misconduct and an improper jury instruction on the term "willfully" did not constitute grounds for reversal of the defendant’s conviction for social security fraud.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Ferro

In an in rem forfeiture proceeding under 18 U.S.C. § 924(d), the determination of whether a forfeiture violates the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment should be based solely on the actions of the actual property owner, and the actions of the person that caused the forfeiture to occur.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Harris v. Rand

Hertz does not raise the pleading standard, it simply establishes that the "nerve center" is a corporation's principal place of business and sufficient allegations, not proof, are required to meet the minimum pleading requirements under Twombly and Iqbal .

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

National Association of Optometrists v. Harris

A non-discriminatory regulation does not impose a “significant burden on interstate commerce,” in violation of the dormant Commerce Clause, merely because it causes an incidental shift in profits to in-state entities from out-of-state entities operating in the state. In addition, absent a “significant burden,” courts need not determine whether statutory benefits are illusory, or whether less restrictive alternatives exist.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Brewers v. Commissioner SSA

Materials reviewed by the appeals council for the first time are accepted into the administrative record even if the appeals council denied a review of the administrative law judges' opinion.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

United States v. California State Lands

So long as the federal government is within its constitutional right to take land, just compensation having been paid, “neither the equal-footing doctrine nor the public trust doctrine prevents the federal government from taking a [fee simple] interest in the land unencumbered;” be it from a person, or a state.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

United States v. Elkins

Sex offender registration requirements based on an offense committed by a juvenile before the passage of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) do not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause when state registration requirements at the time of the conviction require substantially similar disclosures.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Briggs v. Grounds

The prosecution's use of preemptory challenges to strike three African American prospective jurors was explained by race-neutral reasoning. As such, the denial of Brigg's habeas petition was properly denied by the trial court and California Court of Appeals.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Samson v. City of Bainbridge Island

A City Council’s rolling moratorium on shoreline development, enacted without a public hearing, does not violate a citizen’s substantive due process rights when the city has legitimate interest in protecting wildlife and preserving the shoreline, and when the actions do not amount of egregious conduct. The moratorium does not violate procedural due process if done as a lawful legislative act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Metabolic Research v. Ferrell

“A pretrial special motion to dismiss under Nevada’s anti-SLAPP statute” is not an immediately appealable collateral order because the order is not “effectively unreviewable on appeal from a final judgment” and does not jeopardize a substantial public interest.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Appellate Procedure

Renfro v. The Funky Door

A disability insurance plan administrator does not abuse its discretion when (1) it does not have a conflict of interest and (2) the plain language of the plan supports its decision.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Garamendi v. Henin

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 60(a) allows a court to clarify and explain a judgment consistent with the intent of the original judgment, even if there is no ambiguity. A party waives his arguments as to setoff, release, and the nature and amount of his liability if he fails to challenge the original default judgments.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Marrero v. Ives

For purposes of applying the “escape hatch” under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, “[a] petitioner cannot be actually innocent of a noncapital sentence under the escape hatch.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Peck v. Thomas

Under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), agency decisions excluding inmates from early release carry a presumption of validity, and will be upheld if there is a reasonable basis for the decision.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

United States v. Becker

For purposes of ordering a defendant to register as a sex offender, knowingly taking or receiving obscene matters from an interactive computer service, a crime that does not amount to a categorical “sex offense” under SORNA, constitutes a “sex offense” where the defendant pleads guilty to the offense.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Marquez-Lobos

The generic definition of kidnapping implies a nefarious purpose that constitutes a “crime of violence.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Vilchez v. Holder

Whether a particular video-conference hearing "violates due process must be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the degree of interference with the full and fair presentation of petitioner's case caused by the video conference and on the degree of prejudice suffered by the petitioner."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Bilyeu v. Morgan Stanley

Administrative Law: Under ERISA, a district court abuses its discretion in dismissing a claim for failure to exhaust administrative remedies where the claimant “acted reasonably in light of [a plan fiduciary’s] ambiguous communications and failure to engage in a meaningful dialogue.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

CGI Technologies and Solutions v. Rose

Courts cannot be limited by contract terms in their ability to act as a court of equity, and may consider traditional equitable defenses under § 502(a)(3) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Chavez v. United States

To state a claim against a supervisor for a subordinate's alleged violation of the Fourth Amendment, the plaintiff must plausibly allege facts tending to show that a reasonable supervisor would find that the defendant's conduct was clearly "unlawful in the situation he confronted."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Pacific Rivers Council v. USFS

An Environmental Impact Statement related to proposed changes of a forest regulated by the National Forest Management Act must, where "reasonably possible," take a "hard look" at the environmental consequences on wildlife likely to be affected by changes to the land.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

In re Blixseth

"11 U.S.C. § 362(h) combined with § 521(a)(2) lifts an automatic stay and removes personal property from the estate without a timely filing of a statement of intention and a motion to determine value or benefit of property by the trustee."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

United States v. Mak

A defendant’s conviction under the Arms Export Control Act did not constitute reversible error where the district court properly instructed the jury that any information in the public domain cannot be “technical data.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Ramos-Medina

A sentencing court “may consider acceptance of responsibility separately in imposing a sentence, even if the court determined that the defendant did not qualify for a formal adjustment on those grounds” under the Sentencing Guidelines.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

United States v. Wing

“[A] district court lacks jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(3) to revoke a term of supervised release based on newly discovered violations of a previously revoked term of supervised release.”

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

Johnson v. Uribe

Vacating a defendant’s conviction and granting him a new trial is an adequate remedy for a constitutional violation of ineffective assistance of counsel when the violation occurred during the plea negotiation stage.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

United States v. Collins

To impose a lifetime term of supervised release, the government must prove that the “condition of supervised release involves no greater deprivation of liberty than is reasonably necessary to serve the goals of supervised release." The heightened burden of clear and convincing evidence does not apply.

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

United States v. Rivera

When a district court excludes a criminal defendant's family members from the sentencing proceeding, the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a public trial is violated because (1) the right to a "public trial" applies to sentencing proceedings, and (2) the district court’s belief that the family members’ presence is "manipulative" is not a "substantial reason" warranting their exclusion.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

United States v. Suarez

Mandatory minimum sentencing under 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A) does not apply when the prior conviction did not result from a final judgment or a legally cognizable sentence resulting in a final judgment. A guilty plea with entry in a deferral program requiring treatment, but without a probation or imprisonment, does not qualify as a final judgment or a legally cognizable sentence.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Haynes v. City and County of San Francisco

A district court may, in its discretion, reduce a sanctions award under 28 U.S.C. § 1927 if an attorney is unable to pay the total costs of excess costs, expenses, and fees.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Building Industry v. Washington State

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 does not preempt the Washington Building Code, because the Code “satisfies the conditions Congress established for enforcement of state and local building codes consistent with federal energy law.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Preemption

Mackey v. Hoffman

If a district court finds that an attorney effectively abandoned an incarcerated habeas petitioner, rendering him unable to file a timely appeal, the district court has discretion to grant relief from judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Snoqualmie Valley Preservation v. USACE

“Although NWP 17 [72 Fed. Reg. at 11,184] is the only general permit specifically referencing hydropower projects, no language contained therein prevents the [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] from applying other permits to hydropower projects that meet those other permits’ standards.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

United States v. Meredith

Evidence supporting convictions for conspiracy and fraud is sufficient where the defendant’s speech underlying the crime was “integral to [the] criminal conduct,” and therefore unprotected under the First Amendment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Braunstein v. Arizona DOT

A prospective subcontractor can challenge a government program that “gives general contractors a financial incentive to hire minority-owned subcontractors” under the equal protection clause when he satisfies the elements of Article III standing, (1) he has suffered an “injury in fact” that is particular and concrete (2) the injury is traceable to the defendants actions (3) the injury can be remedied by a favorable decision, and proves that the program affected him personally. A subcontractor fails to meet this standard where he does not submit a bid and would be unable to compete with other subcontractors.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Rearden LLC v. Rearden Commerce, Inc.

Summary judgment is generally disfavored due to the fact-intensive nature of trademark cases, and many such cases must be evaluated according to multiple-prong tests that require full development of the record.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Trademarks

Rodriguez v. Holder

The BIA may never engage in de novo review of an IJ’s factual findings or credibility determinations. It may only review these for clear error, and it is legal error for the BIA to make its own factual determinations. If an IJ has not determined a fact necessary to the resolution of the case, the BIA is required to remand the case to the IJ.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Gonzalez

Venue is proper in any location where acts or communications take place that further a conspiracy, regardless of the knowledge by the co-conspirators of the locations of their co-conspirators.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Nian v. Holder

Denial of an alien crewmember’s petition in “asylum-only” proceedings is the "functional equivalent" of a final order of removal giving a reviewing court jurisdiction.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Rivera-Peraza v. Holder

An alien seeking permanent resident status through a waiver of inadmissibility under §1182(h)(1)(B), and who is also subject to §1212.7(d) due to a conviction of a “violent or dangerous crime,” must first meet the threshold discretionary demonstration of hardship as defined by §1182(h)(1)(B), followed by the additional discretionary requirement that the alien and family members face “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Sawyers v. Holder

The years of residency of a petitioner’s relative will not be imputed to the petitioner for purposes of satisfying the seven-year continuous residence requirement under 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(a)(2).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. CB & I Constructors, Inc.

Intangible environmental damages caused by a negligently set wildfire are included in property damage under California law.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

United States v. Thoms

Where a magistrate judge makes credibility findings that favor the government, but the district court reverses, to the detriment of the government, the government is entitled to a de novo determination unless, as a matter of law, no reasonable factfinder could have found the particular government testimony credible.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Appellate Procedure

July 40 summaries

Ford v. Gonzalez

When the factual predicate and speculative inferences of a claim have been present since the trial and could have been discovered through reasonable due diligence in the circumstances, a plaintiff is not entitled to equitable tolling.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Yepiz

Acceptance of a jury panel as constituted cannot be used as a waiver of either party’s allotted peremptory challenges under Rule 24 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Denial of a peremptory challenge does not affect the party’s substantial rights, if the challenged juror is not shown to be biased.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Annachamy v. Holder

The material support bar does not include a "political offense exception," nor does it include an exception for duress and involuntary action.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Day v. AT & T Disability Income Plan

When an ERISA plan beneficiary and long-term disability recipient elects to roll over his pension benefits into an IRA, that action is considered under Blankenship as the beneficiary having "received" his benefits. Thus, the employer can reduce the beneficiary's long-term disability payments by the amount of the rollover, provided that the employer does not violate the notice requirement of ERISA and the ADEA.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

United States v. Castillo-Marin

Courts may not simply rely on a Presentence Investigation Report in determining the sentencing level under U.S.S.G. § 2L1.2 for an individual with a prior conviction. Such reliance results in clear and obvious error.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Back v. Sebelius

A case must be dismissed as moot when no controversy exists because the agency already has in place the administrative appeals process that the plaintiff seeks.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Woods v. Carey

Rand and Wyatt notices must be served concurrently with motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment so that pro se prisoner plaintiffs will have fair, timely and adequate notice of what is required of them in order to oppose those motions."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Flores-Lopez v. Holder

Because California Penal Code § 69 does not require proof of the requisite level of intent of force, it is not a categorical crime of violence.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

In the Matter of Eber

A district court does not abuse its discretion when it affirms a bankruptcy court’s denial of a motion to compel arbitration where the bankruptcy court implicitly concludes that “allowing an arbitrator to decide issues that are so closely intertwined with dischargeability would ‘conflict with the underlying purposes of the Bankruptcy Code.’”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

Rosa v. TASER International

A manufacturer does not have a duty to warn of “every report of a possible risk, no matter how speculative, conjectural or tentative," because it would dilute the warning of danger.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

Nelson v. City of Davis

Pepperball projectiles, which combine pepper spray and concussive force, "merely combine two types of force that we have already recognized as unreasonable when aimed at individuals who pose no threat and have committed, at most, minor offenses."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Gale v. First Franklin Loan Services

The Truth in Lending Act 15 U.S.C. § 1641(f)(2) applies a duty to provide notice only upon a servicer-assignee. Servicers, that are not assignees, have no duty to respond to an obligor's written request for information regarding the obligor's obligation under 15 U.S.C. § 1641(f)(2).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

In Re ATM Fee Antitrust Litigation

Plaintiffs alleging price fixing of ATM fees may not bring an antitrust lawsuit when they are not direct payers of the fee.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Standing

Michelman v. Lincoln National Life

Interpleader is appropriate, even if competing stakeholders' claims are frivolous, as long as the interpleader has a good faith belief that its claims are colorable.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Insurance Law

Dennis v. Kellogg Company

A district court abuses its discretion when cy pres distributions in a pre-certified class settlement for false advertisement claims are not upheld when the award is not related to the plaintiffs class’s underlying assertions, does not clearly identify the beneficiaries of the cy pres award, and is not “guided by the objectives of the underlying statute”.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Sateriale v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

The existence of an offer to enter into a unilateral contract exists where a company promises to provide rewards to customers who purchase the company’s product, save Cash certificates, and redeem their certificates in accordance with the catalog’s terms, and an alleged breach of this unilateral contract is readily discernible when the company refuses to redeem leftover reward points for merchandise in accordance to terms provided. Consumers seeking to recover damages under the Unfair Competition Law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act based on a fraud theory must prove there was actual reliance on the misrepresentation and harm.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Contract Law

Ginsberg v. Northwest, Inc.

A claim against an airline for breach of contract of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in not preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Contract Law

Terenkian v. Republic of Iraq

When asserting jurisdiction over a foreign country under the commercial activity exception of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. §1602, et seq., a plaintiff must assert more than the mere execution of a contract within the boarders of the United States and/or prove the action constituted a "legally significant act" which had a "direct effect on the United States."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

NRDC v. Salazar

District court properly granted defendants’ summary judgment motion because plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s renewal of historical water service contracts for senior water rights holders based on violations of §7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act violations, which does not apply to the settlement contracts.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

Patel v. City of Los Angeles

A municipal code requiring hotel operators to retain and make available certain guest information is not facially unconstitutional under the 4th Amendment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

United States v. Pope

“A formal arrest is not always necessary to conduct a search without a warrant.” When there is probable cause to make an arrest, high risk evidence will be destroyed, and the search is “commensurate with the circumstances necessitating the intrusion,” a warrantless search is justified. A command can effectuate a search when followed, but noncompliance with the command maintains one’s reasonable expectation of privacy and does not constitute a search.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Alderson v. United States

In a qui tam action, a relator’s share is considered ordinary income for income tax purposes.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Baughman v. Walt Disney World Co.

Without proof that Segways cannot be operated safely within its theme parks, Disney might be required under the ADA to allow disabled persons to use Segways.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Disability Law

Hester v. Vision Airlines, Inc.

In determining whether a district court erred in ordering a default judgment, the reviewing court will consider whether the district court: (1) “explicitly discussed the alternative of lesser sanctions and explained why it would be inappropriate;” (2) “implemented lesser sanctions before ordering the case dismissed;” and (3) “warned the offending party of the possibility of dismissal.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Runningeagle v. Ryan

A district court does not err in denying a habeas corpus claim when the petitioner fails to show that withheld evidence is material and favorable; mere speculation is not enough.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Anchorage School District v. M.P.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a “stay put” order does not excuse an educational agency’s failure to provide an updated Individualized Educational Program for an eligible student on a yearly basis.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Education Law

United States v. Oliva

An electronic surveillance order authorizing interception of background conversations while the telephone is "off the hook or otherwise in use" satisfies the requirements of § 2518 of Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 as a "standard" intercept and does not constitute a "roving" intercept.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Rangel

A district court may vary, but not depart from, a sentence under the advisory Sentencing Guidelines without notice, and may consider a defendant's inability to pay restitution as a factor to vary the sentence.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Headley v. Church of Scientology

Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, no genuine issue of material fact exists in a psychologically coerced labor claim where the claimant fails to show that the defendant-employer obtained the claimant’s labor “‘by means of’ serious harm, threats, or other improper methods.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Pacific Ship Repair v. OWCP

“[A]n employee who has a permanent partial disability may be reclassified as temporarily totally disabled during a recovery period following surgery.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Workers Compensation

In re Midland National Life Insurance Co

A Daubert motion filed in connection with a pending summary judgment motion may be dispositive and require continuing compelling reasons be shown to maintain a sealed record. The Ninth Circuit exception for records attached to a non-dispositive motion, requiring only "good cause" to maintain a sealed record, is not automatically applied to Daubert motions.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

United States v. Valdes-Vega

Under the totality of the circumstances, reasonable suspicion of illegal immigration or drug activity must be based on a more particularized profile than geographical proximity to a border and driving erratically.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

California Communities Against Toxics v. EPA

Vacatur of an invalid EPA rule during the pendency of remand is not appropriate where the vacatur would defeat the purpose of the Act under which the rule was made and the economic outcome would be disastrous.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Latif v. Holder

Individuals placed on the "No-Fly List" by the Terrorist Screening Center can have their claims handled by the district court, which has jurisdiction to offer a broader range of remedies that the Court of Appeals.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Cook v. Ryan

When a state requires a petitioner to raise a trial ineffective assistance of counsel claim in collateral proceedings, a petitioner may establish cause for procedural default of this claim by demonstrating two things: “(1) ‘counsel in the initial-review collateral proceeding, where the claim should have been raised, was ineffective under the standards of Strickland v. Washington,’ and (2) ‘the underlying ineffective-assistance-of-trial-counsel claim is a substantial one, which is to say that the petitioner must demonstrate that the claim has some merit.’”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Bullock v. Berrien

A federal employee exhausts administrative remedies when asserting discrimination claims under the Rehabilitation Act by (1) first filing an informal complaint, (2) filing a formal complaint for a decision by an ALJ if an informal solution is not achieved, and (3) filing an optional civil action in “federal district court within 90 days of receiving notice of final agency action on the employee’s formal complaint by the ALJ” or after 180 days “from the filing of the complaint if no final action has been taken by that time”.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

International Rehabilitative Sciences v. Sebelius

Deference is given to the highest level of agency adjudication in regards to whether a new device is considered “reasonable and necessary” as to be covered under Medicare, if the adjudication is not arbitrary or capricious.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Insurance Law

League of Wilderness Defenders v. USFS

Where the U.S. Forestry Service proposes a forest management research project in an experimental forest specifically set aside for such study, the agency's EIS satisfies NEPA if it (1) considers a reasonable range of alternatives that would fulfill the Project’s goals and research objectives; (2) is adequately supported by scientific data; and (3) takes a hard look at the significant impacts of the Project.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Lee v. West Coast Life Insurance

Consistent with Supreme Court and other circuit courts’ reasoning, the Ninth Circuit found that the federal interpleader remedy was not created to protect negligent stakeholders from tort liability for their creation of a conflict over entitlement to interpleaded funds. Claimants are thus entitled to recover all damages that flow directly and proximately from a negligent stakeholder’s actions.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Native Village of Eyak v. Blank

To properly claim aboriginal fishing rights, a group of Native Americans must show by a preponderance of the evidence that for the area claimed, the group maintained exclusive use of the territory and successfully prevented other individuals or groups from exploiting the benefits of the exclusive territory. Failure to demonstrate a population size reasonably necessary to enforce the exclusivity, in the absence of other evidence of dominion and control of the claimed area, will prevent the court from finding that the Native Americans had the necessary exclusive control of the claimed area.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Indian Law

August 66 summaries

Evon v. Law Offices of Mickell

A debt collector’s practice of sending collection letters addressed to the debtor and in “care of” the debtor’s employer without obtaining the debtor’s prior consent constitutes a per se violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Nijjar v. Holder

Congress authorized both the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to grant asylum, but conferred the authority to terminate asylum only upon the Department of Justice.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Scott v. Ryan

A claim for ineffective assistance of counsel will not be upheld if an attorney fails to present evidence that does not support a theory of defense, the legal outcome is unlikely to be different, and there is no prejudice to the defendant.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Hooper v. Lockheed Martin

A transferee court must apply the state statute of limitations that a transferor court would have applied in cases arising under federal question jurisdiction. Further, a fraudulent estimate made for a bid on a contract can carry liability under the FCA.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Dickens v. Ryan

A claim under Martinez v. Ryan for ineffective assistance of post-conviction relief counsel may not need to be exhausted as previously suggested, because the claim is an equitable claim and not a constitutional claim.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Jackson v. State of Nevada

A trial court’s denial of relevant police witness testimony regarding an alleged victim’s past false accusations of rape violates a defendant’s constitutional right to present a defense and confront witnesses.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

Matthews v. NFL Management Council

A claimant fails to establish that an arbitration award violates the public policy of one state where the claimant fails to allege that he suffered a specific injury in that state.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Workers Compensation

United States v. Pineda-Moreno

Evidence is not subject to the exclusionary rule when government agents act in objectively reasonable reliance on then-binding precedent regarding the method used to obtain the evidence.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Al-Haramain Islamic v. Obama

The use of the word "person" under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act's civil liability provision, 50 U.S.C. § 1810, while referring to federal employees without including the United States, does not explicitly waive sovereign immunity.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Carlin v. DairyAmerica, Inc.

The USDA possesses sufficient regulatory authority over "agency-set minimum prices for raw milk" to make applicable the filed rate doctrine. The USDA’s expression of disapproval of prices set, while not necessarily an explicit rejection, may preclude application of the doctrine.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Dahlia v. Rodriguez

A police officer’s speech alleging the use of abusive interrogation techniques is not protected as private speech under the First Amendment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • First Amendment

Drew v. Equifax

A credit reporting agency’s notification of a fraudulent account triggers the creditor’s duty under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to investigate and react to the fraudulent account, even if the notification does not specifically state that the creditor is required to act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Hill v. Astrue

At the fifth step of the five-step sequential analysis required under 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(i)-(v), “[i]f a vocational expert’s hypothetical does not reflect all the claimant’s limitations, then the expert’s testimony has no evidentiary value to support a finding that the claimant can perform jobs in the national economy.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Disability Law

United States v. Bustamante

For purposes of admissibility, a transcript of a birth certificate constitutes an “affidavit testifying to the contents of the birth records.” Admission of such evidence without the opportunity for cross-examination violates the Confrontation Clause.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

United States v. Golden Valley Electric

Compliance with a subpoena issued by an administrative agency does not render an appeal of the subpoena moot. However, the subpoena is valid if it is relevant to a current investigation, is not overly broad, is procedurally proper and does not violate the Fourth Amendment's reasonableness requirement.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

United States v. Turner

A civil detention under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act does not amount to a term of “imprisonment” so as to preclude and toll the commencement of a sex offender’s supervised release term.

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

United States v. Huang

The district court sentencing of defendant for drug offenses was not in error because the defendant failed to show that he was subject to sentencing entrapment, the sentencing enhancement for importation pursuant to U.S.S.G. 2D1.1(b)(5) was proper because the government need only show that the drugs were imported, and the sentence received was reasonable because defendant did not cooperate.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Hiler v. Astrue

In a Social Security Disability hearing, an ALJ errs by relying solely on an interim Veterans Affairs (VA) disability decision, where a later VA decision rejects the interim decision.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Disability Law

Native Village of Kivalina v. EPA

A petitioner has not shown that an agency’s responses to comments are clearly erroneous, irrelevant, insufficient, or an abuse of discretion, as required for review of permitting decisions under 40 C.F.R.§ 124.19, where the petitioner reiterates previously submitted comments but does not engage the agency’s responses to those comments.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

United States v. Flores-Mejia

A conviction of robbery under California Penal Code § 211 is a categorical crime of violence under U.S.S.G. § 2L1.2.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

United States v. Henry

Second Amendment rights do not extend to machine guns and Congress has the power to regulate possession and modification of “dangerous and unusual” weapons.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Chaudhry v. Astrue

In a Social Security disability hearing, an ALJ is not required to obtain the disability determination from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) where the applicant is represented by counsel and the record contains evidence of the applicant's DVA disability rating.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Disability Law

In re Tober

Arizona law allows a debtor to exempt “the cash surrender value of [certain] life insurance policies” and annuity contracts from execution, attachment or sale when the beneficiary is a “surviving spouse, child, parent, brother or sister,” despite the beneficiary not being a dependent of the debtor.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

Mojica v. Holder

The years of residency of a petitioner’s relative will not be imputed to the petitioner for purposes of satisfying the five-year lawful permanent residence requirement of 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(a)(1).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Rodriguez v. Disner

Under long standing equitable principles, a district court has broad discretion to deny fees to an attorney who commits an ethical violation, such as representing clients with conflicting interests, regardless of whether or not the clients are harmed by the ethical violation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Attorney Fees

Scotts Company v. Seeds, Inc.

When a federal court evaluates realigning the parties in a case, it may not consider claims made in a different case for purposes of dismissing or staying the proceeding.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Grand Canyon Trust v. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

The Bureau of Reclamation's annual operating plan for a dam is not a discretionary act or a "major Federal action" and does not require consultation with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act, nor an environmental impact statement or an environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

Monge v. Maya Magazines, Inc.

In a Copyright issue, the fair use doctrine does not protect unauthorized use of copyrighted material when that use was: commercial and non-transformative; the first instance of that material being published; total; and the use destroys the potential market for the material.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Copyright

Aguilar-Turcios v. Holder

A conviction under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice is “not an aggravated felony under the modified categorical approach” for purposes of determining whether a legal permanent resident is removable.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Acosta-Sierra

The proper standard to apply for a “criminal assault charge based on causing the apprehension of imminent bodily injury, under 18 U.S.C. § 111, is that of a “reasonable person who observes what the official observes.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Jones v. Ryan

A claim for prosecutorial misconduct will not succeed when the evidence is not material to the case, no prejudice results from inconsistencies of that evidence, and the evidence is just one piece of the mosaic of evidence against the petitioner.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Meruelo v. CIR

The IRS has authority to issue a valid Notice of Deficiency on a partner of an LLC if there are no pending partnership-level proceedings. The mere consideration of future partnership-level proceedings does not invalidate a Notice of Deficiency.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Sessoms v. Runnels

Where a suspect has not waived his Miranda rights, a suspect invokes his right to counsel by making a statement “that can reasonably be construed to be an expression of a desire for the assistance of an attorney.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Sollberger v. CIR

The determination of “whether a sale occurs for tax purposes is based on a flexible case-by-case analysis of whether the burdens and benefits of ownership have been transferred.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

United States v. Duenas

Evidence developed during a police search tainted by media presence need not be excluded so long as the media did not “discover or develop any evidence later used at trial.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Cook Inlet Region v. Rude

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, federal district court courts have federal question jurisdiction over non-frivolous claims arising under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act ("ANCSA"), even where the ANCSA incorporates state law.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Indian Law

United States v. McTiernan

To merit suppression of a recording under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2511(2)(d) and 2515, a defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a recording was made for criminal or tortious purposes, and not merely for recordkeeping or other non-criminal reasons.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Center for Biological Diversity v. Salazar

The Fish and Wildlife Service's determination that oil and gas regulation would take only “relatively small numbers” of polar bears and Pacific walruses in relation to population size is consistent with and permissible under the MMPA and other environmental statutes.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

United States v. Dreyer

A district judge has a statutory duty to order a competency hearing sua sponte if evidence of incompetency causes a reasonable judge to experience a genuine doubt regarding the defendant’s competence.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Frost v. Van Boening

In a habeas corpus petition, a trial court’s restriction of the defense’s closing argument, disallowing the simultaneous use of the affirmative defense of duress and accomplice liability, does not amount to a structural error where it does not have a “substantial and injurious effect or influence in determining the jury’s verdict.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Peter-Palican v. Northern Mariana Islands

The Special Assistant to the Governor of Women’s Affairs possesses a protected property interest in continued employment only during the term of the appointing governor under Article III, section 2 of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Constitution. Thus, the Special Assistant has no due process claim against the Commonwealth when she is terminated without cause under a new governor.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Rights § 1983

United States v. H.B., Juvenile Male

For a Juvenile adjudication sentence to be reasonable the least restrictive placement for the youth must be considered, the order for detention must be no longer than necessary for treatment, and due consideration should be given for the “unique concerns and needs of [Native American youth], as they are ‘disproportionately subject to federal court jurisdiction for their delinquency offenses’ on account of the structure of the FJDA.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Indian Law

Cabantac v. Holder

Evidence that a defendant pleaded guilty to a count of possession of methamphetamine is sufficient to prove that the defendant was convicted of a controlled substance offense under 21 U.S.C. § 802, and not a general state offense.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

Costa v. Commissioner SSA

A judge is required to give specific justifications for reducing lawyer fee awards when such reductions are a sizable amount of the final award, contrary to informal policies stating otherwise and regardless of the routine nature of the case.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Attorney Fees

California Tow Truck v. City of San Francisco

When preemption is claimed to a comprehensive law, the court must look at each individual provision and not at the law as a whole.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

City of Redding v. FERC

Under § 206 of the Federal Power Act, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission does not have broad retroactive ratesetting authority over non-jurisdictional sellers. FERC’s refund authority under the provision is limited to being prospective only, and it extends only to those entities under its jurisdiction.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Miles v. Ryan

Petitioner's claims that his counsel performed ineffectively in his sentencing trial fail because counsel's reasonable strategy of presenting him as a normal person require deference and he suffered no prejudice as a result.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Ortiz-Alfaro v. Holder

A reinstated removal order is not final, and the Ninth Circuit cannot consider a challenge to reinstatement regulations, while a petitioner’s “reasonable fear screening is still ongoing.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Bailey

Under Rule 404(b), proof of guilt cannot be demonstrated by the fact that defendant settled because a defendant might settle for any number of reasons, and a complaint only proves that plaintiff alleges conduct, not that defendant was guilty of that conduct.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

United States v. Pineda-Doval

Reckless driving that results in an fatal accident does not amount to acting with malice aforethought, if the driver did not comprehend the risk involved.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

FTC v. EDebitPay

A party who stipulated to terms in a contract may not later attack those terms as overly broad or vague.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Contract Law

Gentry v. Sinclair

First, when a claim has been presented to a state court and not remedied it becomes exhausted. Second, when a claim has been tried on substantive ground, even though it has not been tried on procedural grounds, it is deemed to have been adjudicated on the merits. Third, when there is proof that counsel seeks additional resources for further evidence, even if the evidence is not used; it is reasonable to resolve that there was not deficient performance by counsel.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Perfectly Fresh Farms v. USDA

Violations of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (“PACA”), 7 U.S.C. §499, can result in employment and licensing bans in the perishable produce industry if the person or subsidiary is found to be "responsibly connected."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Reynoso v. United States

"A taxpayer's claim for credit of an overpayment is limited to the amount of the overpayment made within of the applicable look-back period in § 6511(b)(2)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code." "Any claim for refund based on an amount claimed as a credit but paid outside of the § 6511(b)(2)(A) look-back period is time barred and uncollectible."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Stancle v. Clay

The district court properly denied appellant’s writ of habeas petition because it was time-barred by the AEDPA one-year statute of limitations and petitioner was unable to show why his petition was entitled to tolling, either for gap tolling because his first two filings with the state superior court constituted a “new round,” or equitable tolling due to mental incompetence.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Ayala v. Wong

During preemptory jury challenges, the defense counsel may not be excluded from Batson steps two and three, except when confidential or strategic reasons justify the challenge.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Jefferson & Co. v. Board of Assessment

In an administrative hearing where statutory provisions allow separate county counsel attorneys to represent both the challenged government agency and the administrative panel adjudicating the appeal, the presumption that the adjudicator is unbiased remains as long as screening procedures exist to maintain an ethical wall between the two attorneys’ activities.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Rights § 1983

Lacey v. Maricopa County

A claim against a party "dismissed with prejudice, and without leave to amend" is considered preserved for appeal, regardless of whether the dismissed party is included in a repled complaint.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The equitable defense of laches bars recovery of copyright claims where the plaintiff delays for 18 years, the reasons for delay are only inconveniences, and defendant expends considerable resources in the copyrighted work, even when the defendant receives profit during the plaintiff's delay.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Copyright

Greene Archives v. Marilyn Monroe

Judicial estoppel precludes a party from asserting California’s posthumous right of publicity where that party “consistently represented during probate proceedings and elsewhere that [the celebrity] was domiciled in New York to avoid payment of California estate taxes.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

United States v. Vasquez-Cruz

In reviewing a district court’s denial of a departure, the court of appeals will review the denial only for substantive reasonableness, not procedural correctness.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Corpuz v. Holder

For purposes of determining removability, where a defendant receives credit against a criminal sentence for time spent in civil confinement, the percentage of good time credit the defendant received while in prison should be applied to his pre-trial civil confinement period in calculating the entire term of imprisonment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Davis v. HSBC Bank Nevada, N.A.

The district court properly incorporates extrinsic evidence in a 12(b)(6) motion when the evidence is referenced in the complaint and the party opposing incorporation fails to challenge its authenticity by arguing that he lacked access to the evidence.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

In re Flores

In a Chapter 13 plan, the reorganization period for an above-median-income debtor may be less than five years when projected disposable income is zero or negative. The Supreme Court's decision in Lanning did not overrule Ninth Circuit precedent in Kagenveama as it pertains to determining the applicable commitment period in Chapter 13 plans.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

U.S. Auto Parts Network v. Parts Geek

In determining whether work by an employee is “work for hire,” the employer must prove that (1) it is the kind of work the employee is employed to perform (2) it occurred substantially within the authorized time and space limits, and (3) it was actuated, at least in part, by a purpose to serve the employer.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Copyright

United States v. Guerrero

The Court of Appeals does not have jurisdiction to review non-final judgments, unless the Collateral Order Doctrine or a Writ of Mandamus applies.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Appellate Procedure

September 56 summaries

Autotel v. Nevada Bell Telephone Company

Interim digital interconnection and symmetrical pricing is only required to be provided during negotiations between telecommunications companies that lack a prior interconnectivity agreement, because 47 C.F.R. § 20.11(e) fully incorporates 47 C.F.R. § 51.715.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Dennis v. Kellogg Company

Failing to identify recipients, using vague language in a settlement, and failing to delineate specifically how a cash sum or award is to be disbursed can be fatal to cy pres product settlement awards.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Price v. Stevedoring Services

The litigating position of the Director of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, which interprets the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, is not entitled to Chevron deference.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Workers Compensation

Sanchez-Avalos v. Holder

For purposes of assessing eligibility for waiver of inadmissibility, the “modified” categorical approach allows courts to consider only those facts upon which a defendant’s conviction “necessarily rested.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Wood v. Beauclair

In a prisoner's claim against a prison for violation of constitutional rights flowing from sexual harassment by a prison official, the inmate is entitled to the presumption that the conduct was not consensual.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Acosta v. City of Costa Mesa

A city ordinance is an unconstitutional restriction on expressive nonverbal conduct on grounds of overbreadth, where it prohibits “personal, impertinent, profane, insolent, or slanderous remarks” in a limited public forum, without requiring actual disruption.

Area(s) of Law:
  • First Amendment

Lavan v. City of Los Angeles

The Fourth Amendment does not require a party have a "legitimate expectation of privacy" in their property to protect that property from governmental seizure.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Rights § 1983

Cheema v. Holder

The written advisals on the I-589 asylum application form gives applicants adequate notice of the repercussions of “knowingly filing a frivolous asylum application” and, as required by 8 U.S.C. § 1158(d)(4)(A), of the privilege of having representation by counsel.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Frankl v. HTH Corporation

A party to labor negotiations must bargain in good faith, and cannot be allowed to profit from its own wasteful and unlawful activities that hinder the bargaining process.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Labor Law

In Re: Rigel Pharmaceuticals

District court did not err by granting defendants’ motion to dismiss because plaintiffs failed to sufficiently plead securities violations for misleading and fraudulent statements issued by a drug development company in relation to their 2008 stock offering.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

United States v. Williams

At sentencing, charges may be grouped under § 3D1.2 if they involve substantially the same harm directed at the same victim. "Indirect or secondary victims are not meant to be included in the term 'victim.'"

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Hibbler v. Benedetti

When reviewing a decision denying an evidentiary hearing, the Court must determine whether the decision was supported by the record. Furthermore, counsel will not be deemed ineffective if the Court determines that counsel acted objectively reasonable given the circumstances. Both conditions are satisfied, as to the competence of a defendant, when a psychiatric evaluator has found the defendant competent to stand trial.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Mueller v. City of Boise

A police officer may remove a child from parental care without a court order in situations where the child is in “imminent danger,” and that danger is determined from an objectively reasonable standpoint, which may be based on the opinion of a physician.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Family Law

Pacific Coast Federation v. Blank

The National Marine Fisheries Services complied with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act provisions because those provisions did not require it to develop criteria for allocating fishing privileges or to restrict privileges to only those who substantially participate. The National Marine Fisheries Services also complied with the National Environmental Policy Act by adopting flexible mitigation measures in accordance with separate studies conducted to lessen the potential adverse effect on fishing communities.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Schmidt v. Contra Costa County

Judges receive legislative immunity for setting subordinate judicial officer qualifications when the qualifications apply to a broad group, are formally adopted, and bear other traditional hallmarks of legislation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Rights § 1983

Wood v. Ryan

To obtain relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”), a party must show that the state court’s decision 1) “was contrary to clearly established federal law as determined by the Supreme Court,” 2) “involved an unreasonable application of such law,” or 3) “was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the record before the state court.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Yeager v. Bowlin

Under California law, a statement is not "republished" on a website unless "the statement itself is substantively altered or added to" or "the website is directed to a new audience."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Eche v. Holder

A lawful permanent resident’s time residing in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands before 2009, when federal immigration law became effective, does not count toward the five-year residency requirement for naturalization.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Glendale v. United States

The Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Act acreage cap applies only to land held in trust, not on total land acquisition by the tribe. Second, the phrase "within the corporate limits" is based on the jurisdictional nature of fee land and makes property eligible under the Act if it is on the unincorporated side of the city’s boundary line.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Indian Law

Marquez v. City of Phoenix

Police do not violate the Fourth Amendment by repeatedly using a taser on a suspect when the suspect has his granddaughter in a chokehold, is combative with police, and there are other victims present. Under Arizona law, there is no claim for wrongful death where police acted reasonably in the use of force, which they did here.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

McCormack v. Hiedeman

The Court affirms the district court's decision that McCormack will likely succeed on the merits of her case, in which she argues that that Idaho Code § 18-606 violates various provisions of the United States Constitution, but reverses its decision to limit the scope of the preliminary injuction issued to Hiedeman, preventing his enforcement of Idaho Code §§ 18-606 and 18-608(1), to just McCormack. The Court holds that McCormack did have standing to enjoin enforcement of Idaho Code § 18-608(2) in conjunction with § 18-606 but does not having standing to seek pre-enforcement relief against the enforcement of Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Palomar Medical Center v. Sebelius

Under the congressionally mandated Recovery Audit Contractor program, a decision regarding whether or not to reopen a case for overpayments to Medicare providers are final. They cannot be challenged after an audit and revised determination.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Appellate Procedure

Sheppard v. Evans and Assoc.

The Federal Civil Procedure Rule 8(a)(2)’s pleading standard can be satisfied for a complaint of wrongful discharge under Oregon law and age discrimination based on circumstantial evidence if the complaint establishes a prima facie case of age discrimination and alleges that the plaintiff was fired after requesting Family Medical Leave.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Stephan v. Unum Life Insurance

An abuse of discretion standard is proper if its use was predetermined in a settlement agreement and the disputed policy was in effect at the time of the settlement.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Appellate Procedure

United States v. Nielsen

A juvenile adjudication for sexual assault does not constitute a “conviction” for purposes of applying the “repeat and dangerous sex offender against minors” enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.5(a).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

United States v. USDC– Northern Mariana Is.

Where the district court fails to make a factual finding showing the case’s unique circumstances, the court abuses its discretion in ordering the attendance of a government representative with full settlement authority at an initial settlement conference.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Maxwell v. County of San Diego

Law enforcement officials can be held liable for constitutional violations if they leave a victim in a more dangerous situation than that in which they found her and if the detention of witnesses is more than minimally intrusive.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

United States v. Burke

Supervised release in a residential reentry center is not sufficient to satisfy the meaning of "custody" for purposes of charging a defendant with escaping from custody under 18 U.S.C. § 751(a).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Gonzaga-Ortega v. Holder

A final administrative determination that a lawful permanent resident (“LPR”) “engaged in illegal activity” while outside the United States is not required for Border officers to treat the LPR as an “applicant for admission,” and thus as not entitled to counsel during primary or secondary inspection.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Leal-Del Carmen

The government may not unilaterally deport an illegal alien who it knows can provide exculpatory evidence for a defendant before counsel has been appointed for that defendant.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Bates v. Mortgage Electronic Registration

Under the California False Claims Act, the “public disclosure” exception will bar a claim if the party’s allegations are substantially similar to information already in the public domain. To be an “original source,” the party must show that it was his information that provided the basis or catalyst for the investigation, hearing, audit, or report that led to the public disclosure.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Sanders Cnty. Republican Cent. Comm. v. Bullock

Under the strict scrutiny standard, preventing political parties from endorsing a judicial candidate is not a necessary prerequisite to the compelling interest of maintaining a fair and independent judiciary.

Area(s) of Law:
  • First Amendment

United States v. Mattix

Under United States v. Valverde , 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a) applies retroactively to a sex offender who fails to register after August 1, 2008.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Young v. Holder

Under the modified categorical approach, a guilty plea to a conjunctive count that alleges several theories of a crime establishes a conviction under at least one theory, but not necessarily all, of those theories. Further, “[a]n alien cannot carry the burden of demonstrating eligibility for cancellation of removal by merely establishing that the relevant record of conviction is inconclusive as to whether the conviction is for an aggravated felony.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Montes-Lopez v. Holder

An alien denied his statutory right to counsel during an immigration proceeding does not need to show "he was prejudiced by the absence of the attorney."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Rogovich v. Ryan

“No clearly established federal law requir[es] the defendant to consent on the record to an insanity defense.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Terenkian v. Republic of Iraq

Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, for a “commercial activity” immunity exception to thrive, it must be based on a legally significant commercial act that occurred in the United States or an act that had a direct and legally significant effect in the U.S.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

United States v. Lukashov

When the jury receives a proper instruction on venue but only reaches a verdict on the substantive aspects of the case, the trial court may decide venue as a matter of law if the jury could not have reached its verdict without concluding that venue exists by a preponderance of the evidence.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Stratton v. Buck

Pro se prisoner plaintiffs have a substantial right to notice on a motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies when the district court is considering matters outside the pleadings; a plaintiff is entitled to notice similar to that required by Rand on motions for summary judgment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Earth Island Institute v. USFS

The “1982 Rule,” requiring monitoring of species viability, was not incorporated into the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Forest Plan (“LTBMU”) at the project level; therefore, the Forest Service is not required to conduct a project level analysis of the “quantity and quality of habitat necessary” to support specific species in the LTBMU, as this analysis is habitat monitoring.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

Keller Foundation v. Tracy

The Court held that when a worker is injured overseas, he is not eligible for workers' compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, because work overseas does not satisfy the status and situs tests, which include that the injury must take place in the navigable waters of the United States.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Workers Compensation

McCall v. Facebook, Inc.

Under FRCP 23(e), a cy pres class action settlement is fair where individual recovery would be de minimus , and the funds go to create an advocacy group whose articles of incorporation demonstrate an adequate nexus to the plaintiffs’ interests, even if an employee of the defendant is a member of the advocacy group’s board of directors.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

United States v. Anekwu

Under the Confrontation Clause, it is not plain error to allow certificates of authentication for foreign public and business records by affidavit.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Albino v. Baca

In order for an inmate to claim unawareness of a grievance procedure, which would render the procedure effectively unavailable, the inmate must make an objective showing the procedure was unknown or could not be known with reasonable effort.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Native Ecosystems Council v. Weldon

The United States Forest Service took the "hard look" required by the National Environmental Policy Act and considered the "relevant factors" required by the National Forest Management Act when it used photo interpretation methodology to analyze the effects of the Ettien Ridge Fuels Reduction Project on the elk hiding cover and goshawk population.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil

Where Congress has displaced a cause of action under the federal common law, displacement extends to all potential remedies. The Clean Air Act displaces the federal common law cause of action for nuisance caused by the emission of green house gases.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Hall v. City of Los Angeles

Where a plaintiff is convicted of a murder he did not commit, solely on the basis of a coerced confession, and serves nineteen years in prison, but fails to include an explicit Fifth Amendment claim despite alleging sufficient facts to support such a claim, it is manifestly unjust to deny leave to amend the complaint.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Rights § 1983

Holmes v. Merck & Co., Inc.

Under Section 22 of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, parents of children injured by a vaccine cannot sue for design defect or failure to warn.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

Melendres v. Arpaio

Plaintiffs had standing to pursue equitable relief against defendants, the Sheriff and Sheriff’s Office of Maricopa County, based on Fourth Amendment violations and the district court did not err when it granted plaintiffs’ partial injunctive relief, enjoining defendants from detaining individuals based solely on a knowledge or a reasonable belief that they are unlawfully present in the country.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

De Osorio v. Mayorkas

The Child Status Protection Act grants automatic conversion and priority date retention to all “aged-out” derivative beneficiaries, regardless of whether a change in petitioner occurs.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Public Lands for the People v. USDA

Pursuant to the Organic Administration Act of 1987, the U.S. Forest Service is within its authority in redefining public roads to limit the use of motor vehicle traffic on forest land.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Sachs v. Republic of Austria

To overcome the presumption that a foreign state is entitled to separate juridical status under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1602, a claimant must show that the foreign state had a “day-to-day, routine involvement” over the affairs of the individual or corporation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sovereign Immunity

Cudjo v. Ayers

Chambers v. Mississippi “clearly establishe[s] that the exclusion of trustworthy and necessary exculpatory testimony at trial violates a defendant’s due process right to present a defense.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Microsoft Corp. v. Motorola, Inc.

A federal district court has the power to enjoin the parties from proceeding with an action in the courts of a foreign country, and evaluating the propriety of the foreign anti-suit injunction involves a three-part inquiry.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Miles v. Martel

Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), a federal court can remand a claim of a person in state custody for an evidentiary hearing for the purpose of reviewing that claim.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. HOS

Upon remand from the appeal of a transfer to adult criminal court, a district court may re-litigate the issue of a defendant's age.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Juvenile Law

October 32 summaries

United States Aviation Underwriters v. Nabtesco

The eighteen-year statue of ultimate repose under § 2(a)(1)(A) of the General Aviation Revitalization Act "commences with the delivery date of the used part to its first purchaser."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Ridore v. Holder

The Board of Immigration Appeals cannot disregard an Immigration Judge’s factual findings and substitute its own view of the facts. The BIA must either find clear error in the IJ’s factfinding, with an explanation of why; or, if critical facts are missing, it may remand to the IJ.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Ruiz-Diaz v. U.S.

The restriction on non-citizens filing an adjustment of status application concurrently with an employer’s petition for a religious worker visa does not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), nor is it unconstitutional under Equal Protection or Due Process.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Budziak

Allowing other users of a peer-to-peer network to access a shared file that contains child pornography is sufficient evidence to constitute distribution of child pornography under 18 U.S.C § 2252(a)(2).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Elk Shoulder

Congress acted within its enumerated powers, derived from its authority to ensure public safety under the Necessary and Proper Clause, when it enacted the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

United States v. Jones

State recidivism enhancements may be considered under federal sentencing guidelines when determining felony convictions in supervised release revocation proceedings, even if the violation would be considered a misdemeanor without the recidivism enhancements.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

United States v. Mendez-Gonzalez

When a plea agreement includes a waiver to appeal a sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3742, a defendant may not appeal a supervised release condition because the word "sentence" includes supervised release as well as prison time.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

United States v. Nungaray

At a sentencing hearing, a district court may find, by a preponderance of the evidence, that an individual had constructive possession of firearms when that individual organized, facilitated, and was present at the sale of those firearms. Such a finding will result in an increased sentencing level per U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(b)(1)(A).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Delgado-Hernandez v. Holder

Ordinary kidnapping under California Penal Code § 207(a) “is a crime of violence because it results in a substantial risk of force.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Western Watersheds Project v. Ellis

Denial of attorney fees is not an abuse of discretion if the court considered both the reasonableness of the administrative decision and the reasonableness of the litigation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Attorney Fees

United States v. James Jackson

A district court does not plainly err in applying the plain language of U.S.S.G. § 2G1.3(b)(3)(B), which provides for a use-of-computer enhancement, because a district court could reasonably find that the plain language of the Guideline is inconsistent with the Application Note that follows it.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

United States v. Valencia-Riascos

When a defendant has made an FRE 615 request to exclude an investigative official who is both a witness and victim in the prosecution's case, the court may deny the defendant's request by finding that the investigative official is either a case agent permitted to be present according to FRE 615(b), or the individual is authorized under FRE 615(d) by the Crime Victims' Rights Act to be present in the courtroom despite an FRE 615 objection.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

Meyers v. Portfolio Recovery

Consumers who provide creditors with cellular telephone numbers subsequent to the original transaction that resulted in the debt at issue have not consented to be contacted at those numbers by creditors per the requirements of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Charles v. City of Los Angeles

A billboard advertising a particular product and proposing a commercial transaction is commercial speech, and the fact that the billboard advertises protected expressive speech does not change its commercial-speech status.

Area(s) of Law:
  • First Amendment

Dex Media West, Inc. v. Seattle

Mixed-content publications like phone books are entitled to the full protection of the First Amendment; the commercial aspect and underlying financial motive of the publishers is not enough to classify such publications as strictly commercial speech and subject them to a lesser level of protection.

Area(s) of Law:
  • First Amendment

Alcoa, Inc. v. BPA

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA)’s decision to set the rate at which it sold power to Alcoa Inc., to create an Equivalent Benefits standard that it applied to the Alcoa contract, and not to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), was not arbitrary and capricious, because BPA "considered the relevant factors and articulated a rational connection between the facts found and the choices made."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Lair v. Bullock

A stay of a district court order is appropriate under the four Nken factors when an appellate court has previously ruled on a “virtually indistinguishable” challenge to the constitutionality of a state statute, and the only intervening circumstance is a Supreme Court opinion that lacks both a majority opinion and concurring opinions decided under a consistent rationale.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Chesbro v. Best Buy Stores

An automated phone call from a consumer products company urging the listener to redeem customer rewards points that require future purchases falls within the scope of “unsolicited advertisement,” prohibited by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and Washington Automatic Dialing and Announcing Device Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Evergreen Safety Council v. RSA Network

In a copyright action, when a defendant operates under color of title and a reasonable belief in free use, a willful infringement copyright claim may be barred by laches.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Copyright

Lambright v. Ryan

The district court abused its discretion by finding that a protective order in a federal habeas proceeding for ineffective counsel should not apply retroactively and that petitioner waived attorney client privilege to materials produced at an evidentiary hearing because he did not ask them to be sealed; the district court did not abuse its discretion by modifying the protective order to allow for disclosure for non-privileged material at resentencing.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

United States v. Peppers

If jury instructions fairly and adequately covers the issues presented, the district court is given substantial latitude in tailoring jury instructions.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Garfias-Rodriguez v. Holder

If a prior ruling of the Ninth Circuit conflicts with a reasonable interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA), the Ninth Circuit will defer to the BIA’s interpretation, which can be retroactively applied.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Center for Biological Diversity v. BLM

The court held that the Biological Opinion was arbitrary and capricious because it relied on the beneficial effects of the Conservation Action Plan which was not incorporated as part of the proposed project and because the Fish and Wildlife Services acted unreasonably when it failed to examine the impact from groundwater withdrawals which is a “relevant factor” in the jeopardy determination of endangered species.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Doe #1 v. Reed

When no effective relief can be granted and it could reasonably be determined that the controversy could be fully litigated before becoming moot, the case is dismissed as moot.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

OSU Student Alliance v. Ray

Under 42 U.S.C. §1983, a plaintiff adequately alleges First and Fourteenth Amendment violations by claiming that a supervisor knowingly acquiesced to violations of students' free speech rights by an immediate subordinate.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Rights § 1983

Tsao v. Desert Palace, Inc.

Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a claim against a private casino is not frivolous where the casino acted under color of state law by arresting the plaintiff for trespass, because the casino could be considered a state actor.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Rights § 1983

United States v. Wolf Child

When a sentencing condition implicates a recognized fundamental liberty interest the court must apply enhanced procedures involving an individualized assessment to ensure that the condition applied is reasonable in its deterrent value and is not overly broad. Furthermore, this enhanced procedure must be made part of the record.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

In re Amy & Vicky

The Ninth Circuit will not reconsider its prior interpretation of the Crime Victims Rights Act, denying restitution to child pornography victims where no causal connection between the defendant’s offense and the victim’s specific losses exists, absent higher authority from the Ninth Circuit en banc or the U.S. Supreme Court.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Remedies

Laurel Park Community v. City of Tumwater

A zoning ordinance limiting the uses of manufactured home parks that has a negligible effect on property values and provides owners with reasonable alternative uses does not constitute a taking, nor does it violate substantive due process.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Stankewitz v. Wong

The district court does not err in granting a petition for writ of habeas corpus where the state fails to rebut the petitioner’s allegations that his counsel failed to investigate and present readily available mitigation evidence that, if true, would establish that he received ineffective assistance of counsel.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

United States v. Aguilar-Vera

The sentencing process violates Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(b)(2) if the presiding judicial officer does not address the defendant individually to determine whether the plea is being entered voluntarily. However, if that violation does not substantially affect the defendant's rights, the error is harmless.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Johnson

A court may impose a condition on supervised release for convictions that include similar factors or aspects from a defendant’s prior convictions if such a condition would protect the public and help to rehabilitate the defendant.

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

November 23 summaries

Akhtar v. Mesa

In a civil rights case, a prisoner's pro se status requires courts to explain deficiencies in the prisoner's complaint and allow leave to amend before dismissal with prejudice.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Rights § 1983

Parrish v. Commissioner SSA

For the purposes of the Equal Access to Justice Act savings provision (“EAJA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2412, a court properly offsets all EAJA attorney's fee awards, against all Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 406(b) awards, because an attorney who represents, at all stages, a claimant for past-due Social Security benefits has “receive[d] fees for the same work.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Attorney Fees

Carrera v. Ayers

A claim for ineffective assistance of counsel for failure to make a Wheeler objection, in 1990, can only be met if the defendant shows that there was a prima facie case for unlawful discrimination and shows that "there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

United States v. Zamorano-Ponce

Federally defined "statutory rape" is a "crime of violence" for the purposes of sentencing and "16-Level Enhancement" under U.S.S.G.§ 2L1.2(b)(1)(A)(ii). To determine whether a specific State crime qualifies as "statutory rape" for these purposes, the Court compares the State and Federal definitions, examining in particular the "full scope of the conduct" the State law prohibits.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Miller v. Wright

Entering into and complying with the legal requirements of a state contract does not amount to waiver of an Indian Tribe's sovereign immunity.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Indian Law

United States v. Maloney

Deference is given to trial courts in determining a juror's impartiality and the jury instructions, and a high level of deference is given to a court's decision whether or not closing arguments are proper.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Aloe Vera of America, Inc. v. United States

The two-year statute of limitations for a taxpayer’s §7431(a) claim only begins to run when the taxpayer is on inquiry notice from “actual or constructive knowledge” of each disclosure of return information. Additionally, the §7431(b) immunity afforded for good faith mistakes of disclosure does not protect the government from knowingly false releases of information.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

In re: Scholz

The use of “anticipated” in the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 has a trust law meaning, and annuities under such act are included in calculating projected disposable income for purposes of Chapter 13 bankruptcy plans.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

Barabin v. AstenJohnson, Inc.

A litigant is entitled to a new trial when a district court fails to hold a Daubert hearing or otherwise determine the reliability of expert testimony before allowing that testimony over an objection.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

Wagner v. Maricopa County

Expert witness testimony that is an opinion based on the propriety of a defendant’s action is a question for the jury to determine, not for the court acting as gatekeeper.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

Slater v. Clarke

Government officials are entitled to absolute immunity for their participation in extradition decisions as these decisions are, “intimately associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sovereign Immunity

United States v. Catalan

"The Sentencing Commission recently clarified that a probation revocation sentence served after deportation should not be used to calculate the “sentence imposed” under section 2L1.2(b)(1)" of the US Sentencing Guidelines, so the Court retroactively applied the amendment and vacated Catalan's sentence that had been determined by including the probation revocation sentence served after his deportation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

United States v. Oseguera-Madrigal

An immigration judge violates an alien’s due process rights when he fails to advise the alien of apparent eligibility for relief through a waiver of inadmissibility when the failure to advised is accompanied with prejudice; however, there is no prejudice where the alien is not eligible for the waiver.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Wiggan

A Grand Juror may testify to the materiality of a defendant's testimony and to the physical arrangement of the Grand Jury room. However, if the testimony addresses the Grand Jury's opinion on the defendant's credibility, its probative value is outweighed by its prejudicial effect and it must not be admitted under Federal Rule of Evidence 403 analysis.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

Pouncil v. Tilton

A plaintiff’s 2008 claims under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and the First Amendment, founded upon the denial of his requests for a conjugal visit with his wife, were based on an independent act, and therefore were not time-barred and “pursuant to the same regulation” of his previously denied request for a conjugal visit in 2002.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Stephens v. U.S. Railroad Retirement Board

The Railroad Retirement Board erred when it denied the petitioner disability benefits based on his history of employment, because short-lived, unsuccessful attempts at employment after the age of 22 only create a presumption that the child of a railroad worker under the Railroad Retirement Act is not eligible for disability benefits.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Disability Law

United States v. Manning

“Attempting” to obstruct justice through false statements, which “if believed would influence or affect the investigation,” amounts to obstruction of justice for purposes of U.S. Sentencing Guideline § 3C1.1, even if the defendant later rescinds those statements.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Mount Hope Church v. Bash Back!

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45(c)(1) “cannot properly support a sanction where the cost of complying with the subpoena is minimal and there is no showing that the subpoena was facially defective or issued in bad faith.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

United States v. Scott

Despite the lack of a timely written response to a motion to suppress, the government’s oral argument and written response to the magistrate judge’s recommendation preserve its automobile exception argument for appeal.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Appellate Procedure

United States v. Munguia

A trial court’s jury instruction to use a hypothetical reasonable person standard to evaluate “reasonable cause to believe,” when a subjective standard from the defendant’s perspective is proper, is not harmless error and, therefore, warrants reversal of a conviction.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Wahchumwah

When an undercover agent is invited into the home by a suspect, the warrantless use of a concealed audio-video recording device does not violate the Fourth Amendment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. I.E.V

A Terry frisk is not justified at its inception and therefore unconstitutional when it is a general exploratory search for evidence and when it is based on the nervous behavior of someone other than the defendant. Furthermore, a search unconstitutionally exceeds the scope of a Terry frisk when the "incriminating character of the object [is] not immediately apparent."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Arias-Espinosa

A court's ambiguous statement that a defendant "may have a right to appeal" does not invalidate the defendant's prior written waiver of appeal.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

December 30 summaries

Martinez v. Napolitano

8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(5) prohibits Administrative Procedure Act claims that indirectly challenge the removal of an alien since the petition for review process is the exclusive means to challenge an order of removal.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Pechenkov v. Holder

8 C.F.R. § 208.24(a)(2) is constitutional because it simply implements Congress's intent as expressed under 8 U.S.C. § 1158(c)(2) that an alien who has been granted asylum may have that status revoked after committing a serious crime, regardless of an application for withholding of removal.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Sims v. Stanton

To have a qualified immunity in depriving someone of their 4th amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure within the curtilage of their home, the officer must either be chasing someone who is suspected of a felony violation or is presently a violent threat to the community or the officer.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Rights § 1983

In Re: Bellingham Ins. Agency, Inc.

Under 28 U.S.C. § 157, a non-Article III bankruptcy judge has constitutional authority to hear and enter proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law in a fraudulent conveyance proceeding asserted by a bankruptcy trustee against a noncreditor, but entering a final judgment is left to the federal district court.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

Coles v. Eagle

Claims of excessive force are reviewed using the reasonableness standard under the Fourth Amendment. In determining whether the force was reasonable, the court balances the "nature and quality of the intrusion on the individual's Fourth Amendment interests against the countervailing governmental interests at stake."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Harris

49 U.S.C. § 46505’s prohibition of “dangerous weapons” on an aircraft is “sufficiently clear to provide guidance to citizens concerning how they can avoid violating it” and to place a defendant on notice that his conduct was criminal to survive an as-applied vagueness challenge.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Hernandez-Estrada

To successfully plead violations of the Jury Selection Service Act of 1968, a plaintiff must show a substantial interference with the "Act's key goals of randomness and objectivity."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Ortiz v. Yates

The trial court's ruling that denied the petitioner the opportunity to cross-examine his wife regarding what she perceived to be a threat from the prosecutor violated the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

United States v. Keyser

The mailing of sugar packets labeled “Anthrax” constitutes a true threat and, therefore, is not protected by the First Amendment; likewise, hoax speech is not entitled to First Amendment protection, because “false and misleading information indicating an act of terrorism tends to incite a tangible negative response by law enforcement, emergency workers, and citizens.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Simard

In granting a motion to strike a claim in a civil forfeiture proceeding, the district court errs when it applies the standard of proof for a possessory interest, rather than an ownership interest; therefore, an “unequivocal assertion of an ownership interest in the property is sufficient to establish standing.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Loftis v. Almager

Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, if a defendant pleads no contest, making reference to People v. West during the plea colloquy does not trigger the factual basis requirements of North Carolina v. Alford .

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Medrano v. Flagstar Bank

A mortgage-loan servicer's duty to respond under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, 12 U.S.C. § 2605, is not triggered unless the borrower includes her name and account information, the reasons the borrower believes the account is in error, and a request for information regarding the service of the loan.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Managed Pharmacy Care v. Sebelius

Congress expressly granted the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to reasonably decide under federal law the reimbursement rate that states may set in managing their Medicaid programs.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Washington Shoe v. A-Z Sporting Goods

Under the Calder test, personal jurisdiction is established against a non-resident defendant where the defendant knowingly engaged in copyright infringement knowing that the harm would impact a plaintiff in Washington State.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

United States v. Bustos-Ochoa

An alien cannot challenge his initial removal order as fundamentally unfair based on the fact that the immigration judge did not advise him on relief for which he was not eligible.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Metro One v. CIR

§ 56’s Relief Rule does not allow a taxpayer subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax to offset upwards of 100% of a taxpayer’s income with net operating losses, because the term “carryovers” as used in § 56(d)(1) refers only to “carryforwards.” Thus, taxpayers are not able to use net operating losses carried back to 2001 or 2002 from later tax years under the Relief Rule.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Barnes-Wallace v. Boy Scouts of America

A city’s lease of land for one dollar per year to the Boy Scouts of America does not violate the California Constitution, because the leases are “indirect or incidental” aid by the city for a religious purpose, and the city’s lack of involvement does not amount to entanglement such that the leases would violate the California No Preference Clause or state or federal Establishment Clauses.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

United States v. Valdavinos-Torres

Possession of a controlled substance for sale under state law is a deportable offense under federal law where the conviction record, including the indictment, the plea agreement, the transcript of the plea proceeding, minute entry, or the judgment, indicates the substance is a controlled substance under federal law.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Yepez

A defendant whose state criminal sentence was retroactively terminated is not eligible for safety valve sentencing relief.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

In Re: VeriFone Holdings

Under the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, pleadings are adequate if, viewed holistically, the inference that a company was deliberately reckless in the manipulation of its financial statements is "at least as compelling as any opposing inference."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Arteaga-De Alvarez v. Holder

The Ninth Circuit does not have jurisdiction over a plaintiff’s claim that she did not receive due process because her request for cancellation of removal was denied even though her husband’s cancellation of removal request had been granted based on similar circumstances. The Board of Immigration Appeal (BIA) “committed an error of law” when it relied on a categorical rule that the “availability of alternative relief necessarily undercuts a cancellation of removal claim of hardship to the applicant’s qualifying relative.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Gutierrez v. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Bank is not entitled to demand arbitration on appeal for a customer class action suit challenging the bank’s high-to-low debit card posting scheme under California’s Unfair Competition Law as “unfair” and “fraudulent.” National banking laws preempt California state law regarding the unfairness of a bank's posting scheme, but not any fraudulent misrepresentations made about it to customers.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Redoil v. EPA

The Clean Air Act is ambiguous regarding whether best available control technology applies to support vessels; as a result, an Environmental Appeals Board interpretation of the statute deserves deference under Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. NRDC, Inc.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

Sanchez v. Holder

Since the Federal Rules of Evidence do not apply to immigration hearings, the proper standard for admitting evidence is "whether the evidence is probative and its admission is fundamentally fair." Where an appellant claims a translation of her statements is inaccurate, but does not offer a corrected translation of the statements, the statements are admissible.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Phillips

The prohibition on “frequent[ing] places” utilized in the trade or use of illegal drugs prohibits a person from “knowingly going to a specific place where drugs are illegally used or sold,” but not incidental contact with a “neighborhood simply because a person is selling drugs somewhere within that neighborhood.”

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

Cooper v. Ramos

Under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, 28 U.S.C. § 1257 vests the power to hear direct appeals from state court judgments to the United States Supreme Court, not to federal district courts. Although the doctrine does not preclude a plaintiff from bringing an “independent claim” that was not the subject of a previous state court judgment, if subsequent claims are “inextricabl[y] intertwined” with a claim the court does not have jurisdiction to hear, the court will also be barred from hearing those subsequent claims.

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

Alocozy v. USCIS

A waiver of deportation under former INA section 212(c) does not foreclose the government's ability to use a person's conviction when it considers the "unrelated question of fitness for naturalization." Additionally, when determining whether a "new immigration consequence" was created by the retroactive application of the definition of aggravated felony, the Court will look at a person's "settled expectations."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Rojas v. Holder

In determining whether to grant or deny a request for voluntary departure, the Immigration Judge may consider “evidence of bad character or undesirability” in making that discretionary determination.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Rojas v. Holder

In determining whether to grant or deny a request for voluntary departure, the Immigration Judge may consider “evidence of bad character or undesirability” in making that discretionary determination.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Lee

When a defendant pleads guilty to violating a broad statute with 2 or more offenses, the court must be specific, for the purposes of determining career offender status or other enhanced sentencing designations, which offense was committed.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law