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


Will Anti-Abortion Activist Out People in Fetal Tissue Research?

An anti-abortion activist may have short-lived success against the University of Washington's Birth Defects Research Laboratory following an appeals court decision.

David Daleiden, notoriously famous for releasing undercover videos of Planned Parenthood facilities, demanded the university produce documents about the purchase of fetal tissue, organs, and cells. A trial judge blocked his request after anonymous plaintiffs sued to protect their identifying information.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that order in Doe v. University of Washington, but remanded the case for the trial judge to make more specific findings about how releasing the information could harm the plaintiffs. It may not take much.

Court Revives Tainted-Groundwater Case

Where was Erin Brockovich when this happened?

A Chilean chemical company was contaminating the water in Southern California for years, according to a lawsuit filed in City of Pomona v. SQM North America Corporation. The city said the company was responsible for harmful fertilizer chemicals in its water system.

A jury didn't think so, but the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated their judgment. It's not a Brockovich movie, but it has an interesting plot twist and the story is not over.

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A lawsuit filed by a group of 21 young people against the federal government due to climate change is less crazy than it actually sounds. A federal district court judge in Oregon ruled the case could proceed to trial, despite the government's objections. However, due to a request for review filed by the White House, the Ninth Circuit has stayed the litigation in the district court pending its review.

While there has not been any indication of whether the Ninth Circuit will actually disturb the lower court's ruling, what is clear is that the appellate court is going to review the matter. Proponents of the case are hopeful that after review, nothing changes. Whether a briefing schedule, or call for briefs at all has been issued is not currently known. What is known is that the case is still set for trial in early 2018.

Wildlife Activist Free to Observe Bison, 9th Circuit Rules

One summer day several years ago, a herd of agitated bison crossed a Montana road oblivious that conservationists were fighting for them in court.

County sheriffs were herding the buffalo back to Yellowstone National Park, "hazing" them by horseback, cars, and all-terrain vehicles. Two weeks earlier, a federal court had outlawed hazing by helicopter.

Anthony Patrick Reed, a wildlife activist, parked his car fifty yards away to observe the operation. He was cited for obstruction, but in Reed v. Lieurance, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said he had a constitutional right to be there.

Court Splits Baby Food Case Against Gerber

A federal appeals court threw out claims that Gerber deceived consumers about its baby food, but said the plaintiff may sue for unfair competition.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded Bruton v. Gerber Food Products. The appeals panel said the company's labels were not likely to deceive the public about the quality of its baby food.

However, the plaintiff may have a claim that the labels violated California's Unfair Competition Law.

In a recent decision by a three judge panel at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, judges that use Twitter got a little bit more clarity on when Tweeting violates judicial ethics.

The case involved an appeal of a motion for relief from judgment filed by Sierra Pacific Industries, a lumber producer, after a settlement related to a 2007 wildfire. Sierra, for their appeal, alleged that the district court erred in refusing to grant relief from the settlement that the company agreed to with the government.

The underlying motion for relief was based on a whole host of alleged fraudulent conduct on the part of the government lawyers, and curiously, on one tweet from an anonymous account, allegedly controlled by Judge Shubb, who presided over the motion.

Monkey Can't Get Money From Selfies

It's hard to report this story with a straight face. I mean, even the monkey was smiling.

If you haven't seen them before, the pictures are definitely worth seeing. The macaque, who snapped his own selfies, has a great simian smile.

According to a federal judge, however, the animal doesn't have a copyright to the photos. It's not a joke, although more than a few lawyers say it is.

Family's Claim Revived Against Spanish Museum With Nazi-Looted Painting

How often does a U.S. trial judge get to decide a Spanish case over artwork painted by the French impressionist Camille Pissarro in 1897?

Once, unless of course the case is remanded. That's what is happening in the case of Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed and remanded the case to find out whether a Spanish museum lawfully acquired the artwork from the plaintiffs' great grandmother. The case turned, in part, on one word.

Court Affirms Sentence of Hacker-Journalist

For a twisted technology crime, former journalist Matthew Keys got a simple decision from an appeals court on his conviction and two-year sentence.

Taking only six pages to state the facts, law, and conclusion against the convicted hacker, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. His lawyers had tried to persuade the court that Keys did not cause any damage.

"Keys makes a scattershot of arguments concerning damage and loss, none of which is persuasive," the court said in United States of America v. Keys, an unpublished opinion.