Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

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Transgender individuals who serve in the military or seek to do so, joined by the State of Washington, filed suit alleging that the August 2017 Memorandum, implementing President Trump's Twitter announcement that transgender individuals would not be allowed to serve in the military, unconstitutionally discriminated against transgender individuals. The district court issued a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the 2017 Memorandum and defendants appealed. In the meantime, the then-Secretary of Defense studied the issue and produced a report recommending that the President revoke the 2017 Memorandum in order to adopt the report's recommendation. The President revoked the 2017 Memorandum and authorized the Secretary to implement the policies in the report (the 2018 Policy). Defendants then requested that the district court resolve the preliminary injunction on the basis of the new 2018 Policy. The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's order striking defendants' motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction and remanded to the district court for reconsideration. In light of the Supreme Court's January 22, 2019 stay of the district court's preliminary injunction, the panel stayed the preliminary injunction through the district court's further consideration of defendants' motion to dissolve the injunction. Furthermore, the panel issued a writ of mandamus vacating the district court's discovery order and directing the district court to reconsider discovery by giving careful consideration to executive branch privileges as set forth in Cheney v. U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 542 U.S. 367 (2004), and FTC v. Warner Communications Inc., 742 F.2d 1156 (9th Cir. 1984). View "Karnoski v. Trump" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit dismissed consolidated appeals from a district court order holding two sets of appellants in civil contempt for violating a preliminary injunction prohibiting appellants from publishing any of the recordings made at NAF's annual meetings. The panel held that it lacked jurisdiction to hear either appeal, because final judgment has not yet been entered in the underlying civil action. In regard to defendants, they could only obtain immediate appellate review of the district court's contempt order only if the court had held them in criminal contempt. In this case, the contempt sanctions were civil in nature. As to the non-parties, the panel held that they could not immediately appeal because there was a substantial congruence of interests between the non-parties and the parties to the action. View "National Abortion Federation v. Center for Medical Progress" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit vacated a petition for a writ of mandamus seeking to vacate the district court’s order compelling arbitration of claims that UPS overcharged retail customers who shipped packages through third-party facilities by applying Delivery Surcharge Rates higher than the rates UPS advertised. The panel applied California law and held that the district court's order determining that the parties had entered into a binding arbitration agreement was not clearly erroneous as a matter of law. Therefore, the extraordinary remedy of mandamus was not warranted, because plaintiff unequivocally assented to online terms that incorporated the document containing the arbitration clause in question. View "Holl v. United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order granting the city's motion to remand this breach of contract case to state court based on a venue selection clause in its contract with defendant, an engineering firm incorporated in Florida. The panel held that the parties' venue selection agreement unambiguously precludes litigation in federal court. In this case, the contracts contained identical venue selection clauses that provide: "Venue for litigation shall be in Linn County, Oregon." The panel held that the venue selection clause precludes litigation in federal court because no federal courthouse is located in Linn County. Therefore, the only way to effectuate the parties' agreement is to limit venue for litigation to the state court in Linn County. View "City of Albany v. CH2M Hill, Inc." on Justia Law

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The settlement agreement—and in particular, the intent of the settling parties—determines the preclusive effect of the previous action. The settlement agreement in this case released plaintiff's and the class's claims against various parties, but it explicitly did not release any claims against Kohlberg. The Ninth Circuit held that, because the settlement specifically did not release plaintiff's and the class's claims against Kohlberg, claim preclusion did not bar plaintiff's current claim. Therefore, the district court erred by dismissing the action on claim preclusion grounds. The panel reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Wojciechowski v. Kohlberg Ventures, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for writ of mandamus seeking to direct the district court to vacate its order compelling third parties to arbitration. The petition related to an arbitration clause in a software development and licensing agreement. Considering the factors in Bauman v. U.S. Dist. Court, 557 F.2d 650, 654-55 (9th Cir. 1977), the panel held that the district court applied incorrect legal tests, and did not provide sufficient jurisdictional analysis on the current record. Furthermore, the district court's ultimate finding of jurisdiction was not clear. Therefore, because the district court's finding of jurisdiction over the third parties could possibly prove correct, the highly deferential clear error standard was not satisfied and mandamus relief was improper. The panel also held that the other Bauman factors likewise support denying mandamus relief where the third parties have not shown they lack an adequate remedy at law or they will be damaged or prejudiced in a way not correctable on appeal and third parties have not shown that the district court's order was an oft-repeated error, or manifests a persistent disregard of the federal rules. View "In re Boon Global Limited" on Justia Law

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MRT filed suit against Microsoft, alleging patent infringement stemming from MRT's development of a technology to protect electronic files from content piracy. The Ninth Circuit held that claim preclusion barred the claims in this suit that accrued at the time of MRT's patent-infringement action, because these claims arose from the same events—Microsoft's alleged misappropriation of MRT's software—as the prior patent infringement claims. Furthermore, they merely offer different legal theories for why Microsoft's alleged conduct was wrongful. Accordingly, the panel affirmed the dismissal of these claims. However, the panel held that, under Howard v. City of Coos Bay, 871 F.3d 1032 (9th Cir. 2017), claim preclusion did not bar MRT from asserting copyright infringement claims that accrued after it filed its patent-infringement suit: namely, claims arising from the sale of Microsoft products after MRT filed its patent-infringement suit. Therefore, the panel reversed the district court's dismissal of these copyright infringement claims and remanded for further proceedings. View "Media Rights Technologies, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp." on Justia Law

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When a federal court sitting in diversity confirms an arbitration award, the preclusion law of the state where that court sits determines the preclusive effect of the award. Plaintiff previously arbitrated breach of contract and related claims against ZTE USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of defendant ZTE Corp. ZTE Corp. was not a party to the arbitration. After the arbitrator denied plaintiff's claims, the district court confirmed the award under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and the Eleventh Circuit affirmed. In this case, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claim against ZTE Corp., and held that the arbitration award and its confirmation by the district court together barred plaintiff from pursuing its current claims against ZTE Corp under the doctrine of claim preclusion. The panel explained that, because a district court in Florida confirmed the award, Florida law applied. Under Florida law, the court held that claim preclusion barred plaintiff's claims because it sought the same remedy it had previously sought in arbitration. Furthermore, ZTE Corp. is in privity with ZTE USA, and the parties were suing in the same capacity as in the arbitration. View "NTCH-WA, Inc. V. ZTE Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, operators of a gas purification plant, filed suit against its insurer, Ace, after the insurer denied coverage for damage caused by broken metal brackets that secured crucial components. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's application of Washington law and its discovery sanctions against plaintiffs. However, the panel reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the insurer and held that there was a triable issue of fact as to whether the insurer was prejudiced by plaintiffs' remedial actions, whether plaintiffs' loss was fortuitous, whether the policy's Boiler and Machinery endorsement applied to independently confer coverage for plaintiffs' losses, whether the Endorsement's "accident" coverage applied, and whether a 16 month shutdown was consistent with the exercise of due diligence and dispatch. View "Ingenco Holdings, LLC v. ACE American Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's exercise of diversity jurisdiction over an action stemming from the foreclosure of plaintiff's property. The panel held that the Supreme Court's decision in Navarro Savings Ass'n v. Lee, 446 U.S. 458, 458 (1980), which held that a trustee is a real party to the controversy for purposes of diversity jurisdiction when he possesses certain customary powers to hold, manage, and dispose of assets for the benefit of others, was still controlling and the Supreme Court's decision in Americold Realty Trust v. ConAgra Foods, Inc., 136 S. Ct. 1012 (2016), did not upset the holding in Navarro or the panel's precedent. In this case, HSBC and the other defendants were not, like plaintiff, citizens of California and therefore there was complete diversity. Accordingly, the court properly exercised diversity jurisdiction. View "Demarest v. HSBC Bank USA" on Justia Law