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

9th Circuit January 2016 News

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.

If you signed into Facebook a few years ago, you were likely to see one of the social network's "Sponsored Stories," which repurposed user's names and images -- including children's likenesses -- for advertisements. "Sponsored Stories" led to a class action lawsuit against Facebook and a $20 million settlement.

Public interest groups sued, saying the settlement did little to nothing to protect consumer and children's rights. Indeed, they argue that the terms of the settlement are against California law. But even if it might, the Ninth Circuit ruled on Wednesday, that's not reason enough to reject the settlement.

'Koch Brothers, Show Us Your Donors!' 9th Circuit Says

Back in the days of the Watergate scandal, Congress vowed to beef up tax-donor and privacy protections in order to minimize "potential and actual disclosure." Over time, it became widely accepted that donors could make monetary contributions to organizations listed as non-profits without the need to file the usual "Schedule B."

Enter California Attorney General Kamala Harris who began to demand the filing of Schedule Bs under the threat of sanction and fees against the donees. Fury Ensues. No matter, the Ninth Circuit will expose you as a donor to the Koch brothers in the end.

Adobe Loses Copyright Infringement Case to Software Surplus

If you buy a software program and sell that software program to a third person, is that a copyright violation? According to Adobe it is.

But not according to the Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit. The circuit court held that Adobe did not meet the shifted burden it held to prove that Joshua Christensen and his company Software Surplus had violated alleged copyright and trademark rights held by the Adobe.