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


Porn Star's Libel Suit Survives Dismissal at the Ninth Circuit

The Ninth Circuit has greenlit a defamation lawsuit brought against the British tabloid Daily Mail Online by the former soft-core porn model Danni Ashe.

It's a bit of a victory for those "public figures" who generally fight an uphill battle with regards to defamation suits.

By sending out a wall of sound through the oceans, Navy sonar can detect enemy ships hundreds of miles away, day or night, in weather fair or foul. But that blast of sound can be damaging to the ocean's inhabitants, deafening whales and disturbing other marine mammals. Some marine mammals swim hundreds of miles to escape sonar, others may bleed from their eyes or ears, and some beach themselves on shore to get away from the harsh sounds.

And while the Navy's current peacetime sonar use makes efforts to reduce those impacts, it does not go far enough, the Ninth Circuit ruled on Friday, finding that government approvals for the sonar program violated the requirements of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

A social media company that accessed Facebook user's profiles, with the user's permission but against warnings from Facebook, violated a federal anti-hacking law, the Ninth Circuit ruled on Tuesday. Power.com, a now-defunct social network aggregator, had encouraged its users to recruit others through their Facebook accounts, sending form messages and emails promoting its website. And they persisted after being told to knock it off. That continued access of Facebook, after the company issued a cease and desist, constituted a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Ninth Ruled.

The ruling is the Ninth Circuit's second decision taking a broad interpretation of the CFAA in as many weeks and it should give any computer user pause.

Sharing Your Password Is a Federal Crime, 9th Circuit Rules

The final decision from the Ninth Circuit case of United States v Nosal II has finally been filed and should make casual users of this thing we call the internet a little nervous. Nosal II involved accusations that a former employee who'd used other current employees' password information to access company information had violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Sounds harmless enough and even intuitive. That is, until you listen to the judge's language. This has all the eerie import of Matish III.

This ruling has petition written all over it. In the short term, we doubt this means that anyone within the Ninth Circuit will have to worry about sharing their email passwords with their friends. But the faintest hint of precedent is enough to send a chill down our spines.

Under the terms of a 1997 settlement, minors must be released from Immigration and Naturalization Service detention centers, the Ninth Circuit ruled last week. That settlement, known as the "Flores agreement," established a "nationwide policy for the detention, release, and treatment of minors" in INS custody, Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz wrote for the three-judge panel, regardless of whether those children are alone or accompanied by adults.

Currently, hundreds of immigrant parents and children, accused of entering the U.S. illegally, are kept in custody, often for extended periods, at detention centers in New Mexico and Texas. Those minors could face release or transfer to new facilities under the Ninth Circuit's ruling, though the fate of their adult family members remains up in the air.

Culverts can be tricky things, especially if you're a fish. Culverts, those tunnels and pipes that carry creeks and streams under roadways, are an easy way to allow traffic to cross small waterways. But some of them also choke off fish entirely, becoming obstacles for salmon swimming from their upstream breeding grounds to sea. The problem is particularly pronounced when culverts are aging or in disrepair. And plenty of Washington State's culverts are aging and in disrepair.

Twenty-one of the state's Native American tribes, joined by the federal government, sued over the state of Washington's culverts, arguing that they impeded salmon runs and violated the tribes' treaty rights to catch fish. Those tribes were successful in the Ninth Circuit on Monday, with the court upholding a district court order that requires Washington to fix more than 800 derelict culverts.

At FindLaw, we love to get questions from our readers. So when you ask, we try to answer. One reader recently wrote us to wonder about the relationship between judicial scrutiny, appellate standards of review, and recent Second Amendment cases. In sum: what's up with all that?

The question actually goes to the heart of legal battles over concealed carry laws, assault-weapon bans, and Second Amendment rights. And it's bound to come before the Supreme Court, sooner or later. Let's dive in.

Smut Trolling 'Prenda Law' Firm Gets No 9th Cir. Sympathy

Trolling is the ultimate business model -- until it finally comes to a grinding halt. This appears to be how things are rolling out for the now defunct Chicago outfit Prenda Law that made a name for itself in recent years by buying up porn copyrights via shell companies and extracting settlement monies out of lonely downloaders.

In the words of Alison Frankel of Reuters, misusing copyright law and deceiving the courts are good tactics to enrage judges and turn sentiment against you. Not a good strategy at all for law firms.

Munitions Maker Hooks the Gov't for Cleanup Costs

The cleanup costs a defense contractor sought to collect against the US Government were not precluded because of previous litigation, according to the Ninth Circuit.

The costs under CERCLA were, according to the federal court, separate from the damages that had previously been collected in another suit which was brought by a downstream water agency. As a result, the costs were not subject to preclusion.

2nd Amend. Doesn't Grant Right to Carry in Public, 9th Cir. Says

The Ninth Circuit tightened the belt on gun laws in the Golden State as well as all the entirety of the nation's West Coast when an en banc court ruled that the Second Amendment does not guarantee a right to carry loaded concealed weapons in public yesterday.

It's a not-so-stunning reversal of a three-judge panel finding by the Ninth Circuit earlier that took heat and pressure from California Attorney General Kamala Harris.