Erin Driscoll

9th Circuit Court of Appeals (32 summaries)

ALASKA STOCK V. HOUGHTON MIFFLIN

Under the Copyright Act, where photographers assign their ownership of copyrights in their images to a stock agency and the stock agency has registered the complete collection as a whole, both the collective work and the individual images are registered. This includes situations where the copyright registration application lacks the individual name of each photographer, and lacks specific titles for each photograph.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Copyright

REAOC v. County of Orange

Without explicit legislative intent or statutory authority, longstanding practice or policy alone does not create an implied contractual right.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Contract Law

Gonzales v. CDC

When a state habeas hearing provides a “full and fair hearing” for the issue to be heard and determined under federal standards, the district court must apply issue preclusion to a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 habeas action.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Muniz v. UPS

Disparity between a party’s damages awards and the prevailing party’s attorney fees is not a per se special circumstance triggering downward adjustment, and absent unique circumstances requiring adjustment, the figure should be awarded unaltered.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Attorney Fees

United States v. Steele

Upon exercise of its factual cost-benefit determination, the district court does not abuse its discretion by deferring consideration of a defendant’s ineffective assistance claim to collateral review.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Kulakchyan v. Holder

Misrepresentation concerning the date of entry in an asylum application is material; under 8 U.S.C. § 1158(d)(6), withdrawal of an application alone may suffice for the Board of Immigration Appeals to find an application frivolous.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Bonds

Under 18 U.S.C. § 1503, statements that are misleading or evasive, though nevertheless factually true, can support a conviction for obstruction of justice.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Kumar v. Holder

When analyzing the level of “personal involvement” in granting asylum under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Board of Immigration Appeals should consider a petitioner’s particular circumstances.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

A.D. v. State of Hawaii Dep’t of Educ.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act’s “stay-put” provision, a child shall remain in his current educational placement during the pendency of any proceedings; the injunctive qualities of the stay-put provision apply to challenges to the legality of a State’s law, “prohibiting changes to a student’s educational placement until the legal dispute is resolved.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Disability Law

Chehalis Tribes v. Thurston Cnty.

Permanent improvements built on non-reservation land owned by the United States and held in trust for an Indian tribe pursuant to 25 U.S.C. § 465 are exempted from state and local government taxation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Indian Law

Elim Church of God v. Harris

The Department of Labor’s regulation creating an expiration date for labor certifications does not impermissibly apply a new rule retroactively, and publication of the proposed and final rule in the Federal Register is sufficient notice for all, including current certificate holders.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

United States v. Ajoku

In the context of 18 U.S.C. § 1035, false statements willfully made to non-federal authorities, but that “concern matters of interest to the federal government,” may fall within federal oversight for the purposes of § 1035; willfulness, for the purpose of § 1035 simply means “deliberately and with knowledge,” and does not require knowledge of unlawfulness.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Barnes

An officer engages in prohibited “two-step interrogation” when the officer, in a custodial setting, deliberately delays giving Miranda warnings to induce cooperation in an ongoing investigation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

San Luis Unit Food Producers v. United States

Administrative Procedure Act § 706(1) claims can proceed “only where a plaintiff asserts that an agency failed to take a discrete agency action that it is required to take” since “broad programmatic attacks on an agency’s administration of a program” are prohibited.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Chappell v. Mandeville

When the law is not clearly established on whether a contraband watch violates the Eighth Amendment, such that it fails to provide adequate notice to prison officials regarding the constitutionality of their actions, the prison officials are entitled to qualified immunity.

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

United States v. Xu

“When a statute gives no clear indication of an extraterritorial application, it has none.” However, there is "express legislative intent to punish patterns of organized criminal activity in the United States" and under RICO, conspiracy convictions are not the result of "improper extraterritorial application" when the pattern of defendants’ criminal enterprise involved both the foreign country and the United States.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

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. 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 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

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

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

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

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

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