U.S. Ninth Circuit - The FindLaw 9th Circuit News and Information Blog

U.S. Ninth Circuit - The FindLaw 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


When Mario Garcia was arrested for a DUI in Riverside County, California, the police booking system matched him to an outstanding felony warrant in Los Angeles. Garcia was quickly transferred to L.A.

Except the police had the wrong Mario Garcia. And despite Garcia's numerous objections, officers refused to perform even the most basic checks, checks which would have revealed their mistake. In so failing, the Ninth Circuit ruled on Wednesday, the Los Angeles County, the L.A. Sheriff's Department, and individual officers forfeited their legal immunity.

The Ninth Circuit may soon be getting a new judge and it is likely to be Northern District of California Judge Lucy Koh, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Judge Koh, who we once dubbed the "most powerful woman in Silicon Valley," is best known for presiding over the Apple v. Samsung trial, where she won over our hearts by slapping down Apple's request for additional witnesses by asking its attorney if he was smoking crack. (He wasn't.)

Now she may get to dish out the smack from an even higher bench. Here's what you should know about Koh.

9th Circuit Affirms Arizona Judge Speech Laws as Constitutional

Our nation's most liberal circuit, the Ninth Circuit, just affirmed a lower district's ruling that judges cannot endorse other judges or political groups while angling for their own judge's seat.

The circuit found that despite legal arguments Wolfson presented, the Arizona laws put in place to limit judge speech survived the high bar of "strict scrutiny" review.

Arizona Governor: We Want Out of the 9th Circuit!

Is the Ninth Circuit too liberal? Arizona's governor seems to think so. Recently, he spearheaded an effort to break up the nation's largest circuit.

Is this the beginning of the Twelfth Circuit?

Amgen ERISA Case Is Back Again to Haunt the 9th Circuit

It looks like Ninth Circuit Judge Kozinski was particularly prescient in his prediction. SCOTUS has handed down a reversal to the federal appeals court, thus starting another round of litigation of securities allegations against the pharma maker, Amgen.

Amgen has been through the Ninth Circuit for two rounds already on grounds that the company knew long ago that the company's stock was overvalued and yet continued to allegedly violate ERISA. An excellently written summary of Amgen's court troubles was summarized by FindLaw's Casey Sullivan.

Plaintiff Entitled to Attorneys' Fees in City of Laguna Beach Case

In a rather circuitous line of cases generally revolving the issue of free speech, a plaintiff in Laguna Beach California successfully convinced the Ninth Circuit that he was entitled to attorneys' fees because his primary goal was not money, but some other injunctive relief.

Looks like you have to not want money to get money.

Chrysler Must Show a Compelling Interest for Sealing Corporate Docs

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals quite possibly made it easier for the public to access what some litigants had thought were court sealed documents.

Writing for the majority, Ninth Circuit Judge John Owens declared that a lower court erred in applying a strict "good cause" test for keeping documents instead of a stricter "compelling reasons" test.

The Ninth Circuit settled a long-standing dispute between federal authorities and Nevada ranchers on Friday, ruling that the Hage family had illegally grazed cattle on federal land without a permit.

But the most noteworthy fight wasn't between renegade ranchers and the Bureau of Land Management, it was between the judges of the Ninth Circuit and District Court Judge Robert C. Jones, who "grossly abused his power" and allowed his "well-established and inappropriately strong" feelings against federal agencies to bias his rulings. This is far from Judge Jones' first time being condemned by the Ninth Circuit.

9th Cir. Overturns Conviction for Military Medals Con-Man

The Ninth Circuit swooped in for the rescue of a man convicted under Stolen Valor Act for having unlawfully worn military decorations and medals that he did not earn. The court ruled that the section of the act under which he was convicted was unconstitutional.

There was dissent among the judges. Hon. Jay Bybee, who wrote the dissenting opinion, countered that the majority underestimated the negative effects of disallowing criminal punishments for flouting the law; and that letting persons wear medals they did not earn would damage public trust and cause confusion.

The Ninth Circuit has decline to reconsider, either in panel or en banc, environmentalists' challenge to Shell's arctic drilling plans. When government regulators approved Shell's spill response plan -- the plan meant to keep a drilling accident from becoming the next Exxon Valdez or Gulf oil spill -- they did so without formal environmental review under the Endangered Species Act or National Environmental Policy Act.

That led environmental groups to sue, a suit they lost in June and which the Ninth has now refused to rehear. That refusal, however, garnered a strong dissent from three circuit judges who argued that the court had undermined the strength of the environmental laws and created an incentive for agencies to abandon their role as overseers.