Articles Posted in U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

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Plaintiffs filed a putative class action alleging that defendants failed to provide necessary services for students with diabetes in California public schools. The parties subsequently entered into a settlement agreement and the district court retained limited jurisdiction to enforce the agreement. After the district court's jurisdiction had expired per the terms of the settlement agreement, plaintiffs filed a motion seeking attorneys' fees for monitoring defendants' compliance with the agreement. The district court denied the motion for lack of jurisdiction. The court concluded that the district court erred in failing to recognize the distinction between ancillary jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement and ancillary jurisdiction over an attorney's fees dispute. While the settlement agreement limited the district court's ancillary jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the parties' settlement, it did not affect the district court's ancillary jurisdiction over an attorneys' fees dispute. Thus, the district court has ancillary jurisdiction over plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees. The court reversed and remanded. View "K.C. v. Torlakson" on Justia Law

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Riverkeeper attempted to intervene in an effort to prevent LNG from constructing a liquefied natural gas facility and pipeline along the Columbia River in Oregon. Riverkeeper sought review of the Coast Guard's issuance of a letter of recommendation regarding the suitability of the waterway for vessel traffic, contending that the court has jurisdiction under the Natural Gas Act, 15 U.S.C. 717r(d)(1). Section 717r(d) authorizes judicial review of agency orders and actions that issue, condition, or deny any permit, license, concurrence, or approval. The court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction and dismissed the petition for review because the letter of recommendation was not such an order or action under section 717r(d)(1). View "Columbia Riverkeeper v. U.S. Coast Guard" on Justia Law

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Defendants invoked diversity jurisdiction and filed a notice of removal fourteen months after the lawsuit was filed in state court. The district court sua sponte remanded, concluding that defendants removed the case too late. The court held that the district court acted in excess of its statutory authority because the one-year time limitation for removal of diversity cases under 28 U.S.C. 1446(b) is a procedural requirement rather than jurisdictional; while the district court may remand at any time prior to final judgment for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, it cannot remand sua sponte based on a non-jurisdictional defect because procedural deficiencies are waivable; and, in this instance, plaintiffs' failure to object constituted a waiver of any right to contest the removal. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "Smith v. Mylan Inc." on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a victim of a mailbox theft crime, challenged the district court's orders denying in part motions to quash two subpoenas duces tecum whose issuance defendant had requested under Rule 17(c)(3). The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion or commit legal error in denying the motions to quash; the information sought by defendant meets the standard for issuing a Rule 17(c) subpoena; in ordering production of the requested documents, the district court appropriately balanced the victim's privacy interests against defendant's right to investigate the case and prepare a defense for trial; and, therefore, the court denied the petition for a writ of mandamus under the Crime Victims' Rights Act, 18 U.S.C. 3771. Given the sensitive nature of the documents sought, production and disclosure of the documents on July 2, 2014 shall initially be limited to the district court. View "K.K. v. USDC-HI" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs appealed the district court's dismissal of their claims related to the formation and operation of the MERS System, an electronic mortgage registration system. The court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction appellants' appeal of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) Order because they have not sought a writ of mandamus; the court held that appellants have waived their argument regarding the MDL Court's remand orders; nothing in the record suggested that the MDL Court considered extraneous materials in ruling on defendants' motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6); therefore, the MDL Court did not convert defendants' motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment; the court reversed the MDL Court's dismissal of Count I, alleged violations of Arizona's false documents statute; affirmed the MDL Court's dismissal of Count II, wrongful foreclosure; affirmed the MDL Court's dismissal of Count III, Nevada Revised Statutes 107.080; affirmed the MDL Court's dismissal of Count V, aiding and abetting wrongful foreclosure under Arizona, California, and Nevada law; affirmed the MDL Court's dismissal of Count VI, aiding and abetting predatory lending under Arizona, California, and Nevada law; and concluded that the MDL Court acted within its discretion in denying leave to amend. View "In re: MERS" on Justia Law

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This appeal involves parallel judicial proceedings initiated by ReadyLink in state court and in federal court. ReadyLink contended that a decision by the Commissioner was preempted by IRS regulations. The federal district court abstained pursuant to Younger v. Harris and while the district court judgment was pending, the California Court of Appeal rejected ReadyLink's preemption claim. The California Supreme Court denied review. The court applied the Supreme Court's guidance in Sprint Communications, Inc. v. Jacobs and found that the district court erred by abstaining. Applying the California issue preclusion test, the court concluded that the decision of the California Court of Appeals barred ReadyLink's preemption claim. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint. View "ReadyLink Healthcare v. SCIF" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit alleging that defendants violated the automatic-stay provision of 11 U.S.C. 362(a). The court held that an attorney preparing an order for a judge is not entitled to quasi-judicial immunity. The court did not reach the question of whether such an action violated the automatic stay, or whether it was actionable under 11 U.S.C. 362(k). View "Burton v. Infinity Capital Management" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a class action suit against Coverall, a janitorial franchising company, alleging that Coverall misclassified its California franchises as independent contractors and that Coverall breached its franchise agreements. After the parties settled, a sole objector filed an objection to the proposed settlement. The court concluded that the objector presented no evidence that the district court abused its discretion in declining further adjustment from the lodestar amount; the district court acted within its proper discretion when it found that the settlement contained significant benefits for plaintiffs beyond the cash recovery, and that the award, at about the third of the lodestar amount, was reasonable; the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the Churchill Vill., L.L.C. v. Gen. Elec. factors supported the conclusion that the settlement was fair, reasonable, and adequate; the district court has no obligation to make explicit monetary valuations of injunctive remedies; the district court did not abuse its discretion in approving the settlement term that objectors be available for depositions; and the district court did not abuse its discretion when it approved the settlement agreement consistent with the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1715(b), notice requirement. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's approval of the proposed class action settlement under Rule 23 and the award of attorneys' fees to the attorneys of the proposed class. View "Laguna v. Coverall North America" on Justia Law

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Pyramid Tech filed suit against its insurer, alleging express breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith. Without holding a Daubert hearing, the district court excluded Pyramid Tech's expert witnesses and granted summary judgment to the insurer, finding insufficient evidence that a flood caused damage to Pyramid Tech's property. The court held that, after an expert establishes admissibility to the judge's satisfaction, challenges that go to the weight of the evidence are within the province of a fact finder, not a trial court judge. A district court should not make credibility determinations that are reserved for the jury. In this instance, the district court abused its discretion in excluding the expert evidence of David Spiegel and Ken Pytlewski, but did not abuse its discretion in excluding the expert evidence of Del Mortenson. The district court erred in granting summary judgment against Pyramid Tech's claims where genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether the insurer breached its contract with Pyramid Tech and breached the implied covenant of good faith. However, to the extent such claims were premised on Pyramid Tech's business interruption theory, no material issues of fact existed and the district court did not err in granting summary judgment against that theory of liability. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for retrial. View "Pyramid Tech. v. Allied Public Adjusters" on Justia Law

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LOWD plaintiffs appealed the district court's denial of their motion to preliminarily enjoin the Snow Basin logging project. The court concluded that the LOWD plaintiffs have shown that they were likely to prevail on their National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., claim regarding the Final Environmental Impact Statement's (FEIS) discussion of elk habitat because that discussion was insufficiently clear; the Environmental Impact Statement's (EIS) analysis of the project's effects on elk failed to satisfy NEPA's requirements; the LOWD plaintiffs have shown that absent a preliminary injunction, they were likely to face irreparable harm; LOWD plaintiffs have shown that the balance of the equities tipped in their favor; and LOWD plaintiffs have shown that the public interest supported the granting of a preliminary injunction. The court reversed the district court's assessment that the LOWD plaintiffs were not likely to succeed on one claim, affirmed the district court's determination that LWOD plaintiffs were not likely to succeed on other claims; and reversed the district court's holding that the LOWD plaintiffs were not entitled to a preliminary injunction pursuant to Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc. The court remanded with instructions. View "LOWD/BMBP v. Connaughton" on Justia Law