Emily Gaffney

9th Circuit Court of Appeals (35 summaries)

Rubin v. City of Lancaster

The City of Lancaster's practice and policy of allowing city council meetings to begin with a citizen-led invocation open to any local congregation who volunteers does not constitute a violation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause as long as the prayer does not “proselytize, advance, or disparage” a faith or “affiliate the government with a particular faith.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • First Amendment

United States v. Cotterman

Evidence obtained from a laptop computer after a full forensic examination conducted 170 miles away from where the laptop was seized by border control agents is constitutional where the agents had reasonable suspicion to conduct the search.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Padgett v. Loventhal

Remand is necessary where, for a reduced attorney fee and cost award, the district court fails to explain how it determined the appropriateness of the award amount.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Attorney Fees

United States v. Zepeda

Stipulation of a Tribal Enrollment Certificate was insufficient evidence to establish the defendant’s Indian status for purposes of the defendant’s conviction under the Major Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1153, which grants federal jurisdiction over enumerated crimes committed by Indians in Indian country.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Indian Law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M.R., et al v. Dreyfus

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Disability Law

Greater Yellowstone Coalition v. Wyoming

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Wildlife Law

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

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

United States v. Urena

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Maya v. Centex Corporation

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Standing

United States v. Tafoya-Montelongo

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Local Joint Executive Board v. NLRB

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Employment Law

International Union v. J & R Flooring

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Employment Law

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

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

Blue Lake Rancheria v. United States

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

United States v. Bingham

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure