Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

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Contest Promotions filed suit challenging San Francisco's billboard prohibition, arguing that the distinction between commercial and noncommercial signs violates the First Amendment. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, holding that the distinction drawn between commercial and noncommercial signs in Article 6 of the Planning Code survives intermediate scrutiny under Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. v. Public Service Commission, 447 U.S. 557 (1980). In this case, the distinctions directly advanced San Francisco's substantial interests in safety and aesthetics, and Article 6 was not constitutionally underinclusive. View "Contest Promotions, LLC v. City and County of San Francisco" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit held that the district court abused its discretion by not staying this federal case in deference to pending state court proceedings under Colo. River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States, 424 U.S. 800, 817-19 (1976). Accordingly, the panel reversed the district court's condemnation order, and remanded for the district court to stay the proceedings. On cross-appeal, the panel affirmed the district court's decision to deny Montanore's motion to determine the validity of the Subject Claims. View "Montanore Minerals Corp. v. Bakie" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Hilton on plaintiff's age discrimination claims. Plaintiff was 60 years old when he was terminated from his position as part of a reduction-in-workforce (RIF) in 2012. Applying the McDonnell Douglass test, the panel held that plaintiff satisfied the elements for establishing a prima facie case of discrimination; Hilton produced evidence showing that it acted for a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason; and plaintiff failed to introduce sufficient evidence to raise a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the reasons Hilton articulated were pretexts for age discrimination. The panel considered the context of this case, including Hilton's lost profits during the economic downturn, a series of layoffs, the overall age of the workforce, the fact that plaintiff survived previous RIFs, and the business reasons for selecting his position for elimination. Consequently, plaintiff's remaining claims also failed. View "Merrick v. Hilton Worldwide, Inc." on Justia Law

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To establish a concrete injury for purposes of Article III standing, the plaintiff must allege a statutory violation that caused him to suffer some harm that actually exists in the world. There must be an injury that is "real" and not "abstract" or merely "procedural." On remand from the Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of an action alleging willful violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq. In this case, plaintiff alleged that Spokeo failed to follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the information in his consumer report. The panel was satisfied that plaintiff had alleged injuries that were sufficiently concrete for the purposes of Article III; the alleged injuries were also sufficiently particularized to plaintiff and they were caused by Spokeo's alleged FCRA violations and were redressable in court; and therefore plaintiff had adequately alleged the elements necessary for standing. Accordingly, the court remanded. View "Robins v. Spokeo, Inc." on Justia Law

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A plaintiff may rely on the "deterrent effect doctrine" to establish constitutional standing under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., where she lacks firsthand knowledge that an establishment is not in ADA compliance. A plaintiff has constitutional standing where her only motivation for visiting a facility is to test it for ADA compliance. The Ninth Circuit held that, although plaintiffs in this case have standing to maintain their ADA suit, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying class certification because plaintiffs failed to meet the commonality requirement in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. View "Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center v. Hospitality Properties Trust" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial of habeas relief to petitioner, who was convicted of two murders and sentenced to death. The panel held, after supplemental briefing regarding the impact of McKinney v. Ryan, 813 F.3d 798 (9th Cir. 2015) (en banc), that neither the Arizona Supreme Court nor the trial court applied an impermissible causal-nexus test to exclude mitigating evidence. In this case, both courts considered all of petitioner's evidence offered in mitigation and found it insufficient to outweigh the serious aggravating factors. Therefore, there was no violation of clearly established federal law. View "Greenway v. Ryan" on Justia Law

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The discovery rule applies to a judicial deception claim. If a diligent plaintiff has pursued the underlying affidavit without success, accrual need not begin at the time of the search. Plaintiff filed suit against defendants for investigating him in connection with his wife's death, claiming that the search warrants for his home and computer were obtained through judicial deception. The Ninth Circuit held there was no question that plaintiff diligently pursued the facts underlying his judicial deception claim. Therefore, his claim for judicial deception was timely. Accordingly, the panel affirmed in part and reversed in part. View "Klein v. City of Beverly Hills" on Justia Law

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After plaintiff was raped by a co-worker at the Idaho Department of Corrections (IDOC), she filed suit against the IDOC and others. The Ninth Circuit vacated summary judgment in favor of defendants on plaintiff's Title VII hostile work environment claim. The panel held that, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff, a reasonable trier of fact could find that the IDOC's actions were sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment. The panel noted that if the jury finds that the IDOC supervisors created a hostile work environment, the IDOC would also be liable. View "Fuller v. Idaho Department of Corrections" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit alleging that Deputy Doug Lieurance's issuance of a misdemeanor citation to plaintiff for obstructing a buffalo herding operation violated plaintiff's constitutional rights. The Ninth Circuit held that defendants were not entitled to summary judgment on the unlawful seizure claim because the panel could not conclude as a matter of law that a reasonably prudent officer in the deputy's situation would have had probable cause to believe plaintiff committed obstruction and the district court improperly weighed evidence favorable to plaintiff against other evidence presented, failing to draw all inferences in plaintiff's favor; the district court did not first provide plaintiff notice and an opportunity to respond before dismissing the failure-to-train claim for failure to satisfy Rule 12(b)(6); the district court abused its discretion by excluding the entirety of plaintiff's police practices expert's testimony; the district court committed reversible procedural error in granting judgment as a matter of law on plaintiff's First Amendment and related state claims without first providing him notice of the grounds for the decision; the district court improperly resolved numerous factual disputes reserved for the jury; and the panel lacked jurisdiction to review the district court's denial without prejudice of defendants' attorney fees motion. Accordingly, the court dismissed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "Reed v. Lieurance" on Justia Law

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The Tribe filed suit seeking a declaration that it has the right to investigate violations of tribal, state, and federal law, detain, and transport or deliver a non-Indian violator encountered on the reservation to the proper authorities. The Ninth Circuit held that the first amended complaint raised a federal question that provided federal courts with subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1331; the Tribe has presented a prudentially ripe case or controversy and the case is constitutionally ripe as well; and the district court's conclusion that the Tribe's response letter mooted all controversies between the parties was erroneous. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Bishop Paiute Tribe v. Inyo County" on Justia Law