9th Circuit Court of Appeals

2016

January 20 summaries

United States v. Swisher

A statute containing a content-based restriction, with the purpose of stopping a particular message from being conveyed, is a restriction on speech and analyzed under the First Amendment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Bravo v. City of Santa Maria

Under 42 U.S.C. § 1988, examining a plaintiff’s success in acquiring a settlement against a defendant arising out of the same facts is appropriate when awarding attorneys' fees.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Attorney Fees

Reyes v. Smith

The Prison Litigation Reform Act prohibits prisoners from bringing actions regarding prison conditions, requires inmates to pursue to every available step of his or her prison grievance process, and to adhere to the “critical procedural rules” of the grievance process.

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

Klein v. City of Laguna Beach

The court may lawfully award lower or no attorneys’ fees to a plaintiff who seeks compensatory damages and is only awarded nominal damages.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Attorney Fees

Rizo v. Lynch

An order of removal is final even when a voluntary departure proceeding is pending and therefore the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has jurisdiction to review the removal order.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. James

When interpreting the meaning of words or phrases in federal statutes, it is improper to derive the meaning of the word or phrase from closely related state statutes.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Fue v. Biter

When a prisoner waits fourteen months to inquire into the status of his or her habeas corpus petition, the prisoner will not be entitled to equitable tolling because he or she did not act with sufficient diligence.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

McGee v. China Electric Motor

When the difference between a requested fee and the final award are too disparate, the court must provide specific reasoning in using the lodestar method.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Attorney Fees

United States v. Estate of E. Wayne Hage

A person who holds water rights on federal lands holds a revocable license, rather than a property right; such license is subject to limitations by federal agencies, including the requirement that a rancher must obtain a grazing permit before allowing their cattle to graze on federal lands.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Property Law

United States v. Spangler

An exclusion of an expert witness may be found to be harmless error if the expert’s testimony is deemed irrelevant to the charges, and the proponent had the opportunity to present evidence of the same substance.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

Nat’l Fed. of the Blind v. United Airlines

The federal government has broadly preempted the field of accessibility of air transportation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Preemption

Ramirez v. Lynch

When a state’s statutory definition for a crime of violence is broader than the federal definition, it cannot constitute a crime of violence that merits deportation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Taylor v. Beard

A felony murder conviction may be upheld even when there is evidence proving the individual did not commit the crime actually convicted of, if the prosecutor presented multiple theories of guilt from which a jury determination could lead to the same conviction based on a different charge.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Davis v. United States

A breach of a closing agreement by the Internal Revenue Service does not remove the statutory obligation of an individual to pay taxes.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Bozzio v. EMI Group

The incapacity of the promisee to a contract is not an absolute bar to a lawsuit by a third-party beneficiary.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Standing

Presidio Historical Ass'n v. Presidio Trust

The National Historic Preservation Act requires the head of the responsible Federal agency to his maximum capacity possible to plan and take action as necessary to minimize harm to the landmark.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

United States v. Cruz-Mendez

To be applicable for the “pilot/captain” enhancement, the defendant need only act as operator of a vessel carrying a controlled substance.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Wolfson v. Concannon

Restrictions placed on a candidate's ability to solicit for his own campaign and endorse other candidate's campaigns does not violate freedom of association and speech if the regulations are narrowly tailored to the legitimate state interest of safeguarding public confidence in elected officials.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Zachary v. California Bank & Trust

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 amendments only allow individual chapter 11 debtors to acquire property and earnings acquired after the start of the case that would be excludable under § 541(a)(6) & (7).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

Liao v. Junious

Failure of counsel to secure medical evidence supporting the petitioner’s defense constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

February 19 summaries

Jacksonville Pension Fund v. CVB

When proving scienter under section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act, hearsay is not automatically discounted from consideration of whether the statement is sufficiently reliable for pleading purposes.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Consumer Credit

Valencia v. Lynch

Where a statute is ambiguous, an agency regulation that provides reasonable interpretation will receive deference upon review.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Villavicencio-Rojas v. Lynch

Under the Federal First Offender Act, individuals found guilty of simple drug possession have the opportunity to enter a diversion program in order to avoid an entry of a judgment of conviction.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Garcia v. City of Riverside

Officers do not have a duty to investigate every unsupported assertion of innocence of detained individuals; however, when a detainee claims misidentification and there is clear physical inconsistency between a warrant subject and a booked individual officers should explore readily accessible identity checks to insure they are not holding the incorrect person.

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

Smith v. Schriro

It is unconstitutional for an intellectually disabled person to be executed even if their crime merits execution.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

United States v. Johnson

Application of the obstruction enhancement under United States Sentencing Guidelines § 3C1.1 to trial testimony does not impermissibly penalize a defendant twice for the same conduct, assuming the district court found the trial testimony was false, willful, and material.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

In re The Village at Lakeridge

A bankruptcy court cannot confirm a Chapter 11 reorganization plan without first determining if any of the persons voting to accept the plan are either statutory or non-statutory insiders.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

Daire v. Lattimore

Supreme Court precedent has “clearly established” that the Strickland standard applies to all claims of ineffective assistance of counsel in noncapital sentencing proceedings.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Ayala v. Davis

Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, a denial of relief that is not objectively unreasonable precludes any relief sought.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Sanders v. Energy Northwest

An employee asserting retaliation must establish the following elements for a prima facie case: (1) the employee was engaged in a protected activity; (2) the employer knew or suspected the employee was engaged in the protected activity; (3) the employee suffered an adverse action; and (4) the surrounding circumstances allude that the protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Labor Law

Mena v. Long

A district court may hold a petition in stay and abeyance even when all claims in a habeas corpus petition are unexhausted.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Sarver v. Chartier

Procedural state laws are not used in federal court if to do so would result in a direct collision with a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

USA v. Eglash

Mail fraud requires showing two elements: (1) the perpetrator devised or intended to devise a scheme to defraud (or to perform specified fraudulent acts); and (2) use of the mail for the purpose of executing or attempting to execute the scheme (or specified fraudulent acts).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Ass’n. v. Perez

If a court holds that a statute does not prohibit certain conduct, that does not disallow an agency from rulemaking regarding that conduct.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Gonzalez v United States

Determining whether the FBI is shielded from discretionary functions requires an analysis of: (1) whether the conduct is not discretionary and is not “the product of judgment or choice” and (2) whether government policy allows the discretion to be exercised.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Hernandez-Castro

A sentence consistent with a negotiated plea agreement may not be appealed unless an appellate waiver applies.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Ministry of Defense v. Frym

Judgments consummated after the Algiers Accord are not in violation of the Accord and are permitted to be attached.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Remedies

Yang v. Lynch

The Board of Immigration Appeals may not make credibility determinations based on the falsus maxim.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Alaska Oil and Gas Ass'n v. Jewell

Agency action is presumed valid and will be maintained if there is reasonable basis for the conclusion and the agency has considered all relevant factors.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

March 18 summaries

United States v. Murguia-Rodriguez

Under the Court Interpreters Act, a party must knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waive their right to an interpreter; mere affirmation that a party is comfortable proceeding in English does not constitute waiver of that right.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. Lemus

When a court reviews a conviction for sufficient evidence it will ask whether, after observing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v Lara

An officer may not unreasonably search a probationer's cell phone as a condition of probation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

City of Mukilteo v. USDOT

The National Environmental Policy Act requires the Federal Aviation Administration to analyze all reasonably foreseeable environmental impacts of its decisions before commencing operations for commercial passenger services at any major airport.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

Hedlund v. Ryan

A casual nexus test forbids the court from giving weight to non-statutory mitigating evidence unless the evidence was casually connected to the crime.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Hooks v. Kitsap Tenant Support Servs.

A person lacks the authority to serve in an Executive position under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act if that person is also a nominee for the permanent position.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Melendres v. Maricopa County

28 U.S.C. § 2107(a) and Rule 4(a) require appeals to be filed within thirty days of entry of the order appealed.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

United States Ex Rel Mateski v Ratheon

A complaint raising fraud based on disclosed information that is different in kind and degree from previously disclosed information is not “substantially similar” under the False Claims Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

United States v. Zhou

The government may revoke a citizen’s naturalization if it was procured illegally.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Reza-Ramos

Because jurisdiction depends upon the victim’s status as an Indian, the government has the burden to prove the victim’s status when a non-Indian commits a criminal offense against an alleged Indian on a federally recognized reservation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Beaver v. Tarsadia Hotels

The presumption that state law should not be superseded by federal law can be overcome through conflict preemption if the state law hinders the full purposes and objectives of Congress.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Burton v. Davis

A motion to proceed pro se is timely if it is made before the jury is established and there is no evidence that it is a tactic to secure delay.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Rosales Rivera v. Lynch

The two-step framework for determining if a crime involves moral turpitude includes first identifying the elements of the conviction statute, and secondly, comparing those elements to the generic definition of crime involving moral turpitude.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Arizona Ex Rel. Horne v. The Geo Group

In a class action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 aggrieved persons must allege acts within 300 days of the alleged unlawful employment practice; however, if they fail to do this they may piggyback their claim onto the timely charge filed by another plaintiff in order to fulfill exhaustion of administrative remedies.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Employment Law

Mitchell v. State of Washington

A state official's decision to deny a medical treatment option using an explicit racial classification is subject to strict scrutiny, but will be entitled to qualified immunity if the particular set of circumstances was not clearly established at the time that treatment was denied.

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

State of Alaska Dep't of Nat. Res. v United States

Summary judgment may be granted when a suit is brought under the Alaska’s Quiet Title Act, when the United States is not a party, when a claim declaratory relief is the same as a quiet title claim, and when a condemnation claim is improperly pleaded.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Property Law

Casa Del Caffee Vergnano v. ItalFlavors

Parties are only required to submit to arbitration in disputes where the parties consented to arbitration; further, the requisite consent to constitute a binding agreement is governed by contract law principles, specifically determining the parties’ mutual assent under an objective standard regarding the exchange of a legally enforceable bargain with consideration.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Arbitration

Daire v. Lattimore

For a claim to meet the standard review of the the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act it must show that a ruling was so lacking in justification that there was an error beyond any possibility for fair-minded disagreement.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus