U.S. Ninth Circuit: September 2012 News
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9th Circuit September 2012 News

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Loses 9th Circuit Injunction Appeal

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio can't detain people solely on the suspicion that they're undocumented immigrants, reports Fox News.

"America's toughest sheriff" was appealing a preliminary injunction that a district court judge issued last year.

Parents Stuck in Vaccine Court in Wrongful Death Case

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that a couple who lost a child due to vaccine-related complications cannot sue drug manufacturers in state court, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Instead, the parents are limited to accepting no-fault damages through a Court of Federal Claims “Vaccine Court” under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986.

The decision is not surprising, considering that the Supreme Court held in 2011 that the Act bars parents from suing pharmaceutical companies for their children’s vaccine-related injuries. In that case, the Court ruled that the Act’s lawsuit limitations reflected “a sensible choice to leave complex epidemiological judgments about vaccine design to the FDA and the National Vaccine Program rather than juries.”

Harold Hall Can Sue LAPD for Wrongful Conviction

Harold Hall, who spent 19 years in prison for two murders that he didn't commit, can sue the Los Angeles Police Department for his wrongful conviction.

Procedurally, Hall's case was shaky, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the "exceptional circumstances" in his case persuaded the court to allow Hall to amend his complaint in order to "avoid manifest injustice."

Ninth Circuit Affirms Facebook Cy Pres Settlement

A split Ninth Circuit panel upheld a $9.5 million privacy class action settlement with Facebook on Thursday. The settlement gives no money to Facebook users, $2.36 million to the plaintiffs' lawyers, and $6 million to a newly established charity promoting online privacy, reports Thomson Reuters News & Insight.

The question in this appeal was whether the district court abused its discretion in approving the $9.5 million settlement agreement as "fair, reasonable, and adequate," either because a Facebook employee sits on the board of the organization distributing cy pres funds or because the settlement amount was too low.

En Banc Rehearing Reveals Skepticism of DNA Database

California’s DNA and Forensic Identification Data Base and Data Bank Act (DNA Act) may not be long for this world. Not in its current form, at least.

Wednesday, a majority of the Ninth Circuit en banc panel that heard the DNA Act appeal expressed concern that the DNA is taken from people regardless of whether they are later charged or convicted of a crime, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

But will that skepticism manifest a reversal?

'Whistleblower' Can't Sue MERS for Depriving Counties of Fees

The Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) is a private, electronic registry that tracks servicing rights and ownership of U.S. mortgage loans. MERS was created by the mortgage industry to streamline the mortgage process by substituting electronic filings in place of traditional land recordings, and act as nominee in the county land records for the lender and servicer. In other words, lenders and servicers give MERS the power to foreclose on their mortgages.

A number of litigants have questioned whether or not MERS can legally foreclose on borrowers' homes. Would such foreclosures violate the borrowers' rights?

Today, we're talking about an entirely different type of MERS challenge, questioning whether MERS infringes upon counties' rights.

Feds Can't Deport Defendant's Only Exculpatory Witness

What do you do if the only exculpatory witness in your client's case is a recently-deported illegal alien?

Start appealing.

Friday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the government may not deport an illegal alien who can provide exculpatory evidence for a criminal defendant, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Ninth Circuit Rules Against Parents in Infant Spinal Tap Appeal

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against a pair of parents who sued doctors and Boise police officers after law enforcement officials removed their infant daughter from their custody for a medical treatment that the parents had previously refused. The Ninth Circuit upheld a 2007 jury verdict in the case, finding that the defendants did not violate the parents’ civil rights.

We’ve attempted to condense the facts below. (If you want the full story, see the statement of facts from the Ninth Circuit’s 2009 opinion in Mueller v. Auker.)

Ninth Circuit: McCormack Likely to Win Unlawful Abortion Challenge

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that a woman who induced her own abortion with Internet-prescribed medications is likely to succeed on her claim challenging the Idaho’s Unlawful Abortion law, but found that a lower-court overstepped its authority by barring a Bannock County prosecutor from enforcing the law against other women, The Wall Street Journal reports.

According to the Ninth Circuit opinion, Jennie McCormack learned that she was pregnant in the fall of 2010, and sought an abortion. Abortions were not available where she lives, (in southeast Idaho), but McCormack found out that abortions could be performed in Idaho using medications. Abortions by medication were also significantly cheaper than surgical abortions.

Cities Can't Seize and Destroy Homeless Population's Possessions

You know that saying, “Don’t kick a man while he’s down”? Apparently, the City of Los Angeles doesn’t. The City, it seems, has been seizing and destroying Skid Row homeless individuals’ momentarily-unattended personal possessions while the owners attend to “necessary tasks, such as eating, showering, and using restrooms.”

That’s not cool.

No, really. It’s unconstitutionally not cool. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that cities cannot seize and destroy unabandoned property that homeless people temporarily leave on the sidewalks, Los Angeles Times reports.

9th Cir: 'None of these Candidates' Can Stay on Nevada Ballot

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order on Tuesday to reinstate Nevada’s “none of these candidates” ballot option, The Associated Press reports.

Barring Supreme Court action, Nevada voters will be able to vote for none of the above in November.