Victoria Pitts

9th Circuit Court of Appeals (17 summaries)

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

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

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

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

Balderas v. Countrywide Bank

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Crockett & Myers v. Napier, Fitzgerald & Kirby

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Appellate Procedure

Citizens for Balanced Use v. McAllister

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

United States v. Ceballos

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Sarei v. Rio Tinto

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

United States v. Sykes

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Nichols v. Dancer

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

United States v. Rodgers

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

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

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Miranda v. Braatz

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Indian Law

Viewtech Inc. v. United States

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Johnson v. Lucent Technologies

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Disability Law

Getz v. The Boeing Company

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

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure