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

9th Circuit May 2016 News

Donald Trump spent the last few weeks touring the country, securing the Republican presidential nomination, and announcing his potential Supreme Court picks. But in court, Trump still faces accusations that his Trump University misled and defrauded students.

Now, the methods Trump University used to sell itself to students are likely to get a bit more publicity. On Friday, a judge in the Southern District of California ordered the release of Trump University "playbooks," internal guides for sales personnel on how to market the now defunct, non-accredited "university."

The need for clean, renewable energy is growing ever more urgent in the face of worsening climate change predictions. But large scale green energy developments aren't without their environmental costs. Wind turbines can turn into deadly Cuisinarts when placed in a bird's migratory path; sprawling solar farms can displace endangered desert wildlife.

And such was the conflict in a recent Ninth Circuit case, in which the court was asked to determine if plans for an Oregon wind farm adequately calculated the impact of the project on the greater sage grouse. They had not, the court found, sending the project back for further review.

9th Cir: 2nd Amendment Also Means "Right to Buy Arms"

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals took on an eyebrow-raising tone recently when it endorsed a pro-gun advocate notion that a "right to buy arms" is implied within the Second Amendment's right to bear arms.

The decision is a major blow to Alameda County's attempts to limit gun sales and the location of gun stores. It's a page flipper, for sure.

9th Circuit Boots Judge From BarBri Case to 'Preserve Justice'

The Ninth Circuit booted U.S. District Judge Manuel Real from a now recurring antitrust case involving Kaplan and West Publishing (makers of BarBri), while reversing his ruling. The circuit's decision might have appeared inevitable to some, given that Real's rulings on previous antitrust cases involving BarBri have been reversed three times in a separate case.

There are many interesting facets to the case. One question lawyers will be left asking is what judge Real's rational was in slashing attorneys' fee numbers by 70 percent? Why ask? Because he certainly didn't provide any explanation in his now overturned opinion.

Ninth Cir. Upholds 'Neutral Timekeeping' in Employee Pay

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld what is quickly becoming doctrine in all the federal courts: neutral-timekeeping is lawful under the FLSA.

The decision comes as a blow to Andre Corbin and other hourly wage-earners like him who allege lost wages due to unfavorable rounding to the nearest quarter. But it's really no surprise given other courts' views on the matter.

When a person's competency to stand trial for a crime is in question in Washington State, state law requires the state Department of Social and Health Services to evaluate them within seven to 21 days. Because of staffing, budgeting, and other limitations, detained individuals often go weeks without an evaluation, during which they may be held in solitary confinement, often exacerbating mental illnesses.

Following a class action lawsuit on behalf of such detained individuals, a federal district required a series of reforms from the state services that included a seven-day maximum for providing competency determinations. On appeal, while the Ninth Circuit agreed that jail was "no substitute" for therapeutic evaluation and treatment, the court tossed the seven-day requirement, finding the week-long limit to go "beyond what the Constitution requires."

Arizona's identity theft laws are not facially preempted by federal immigration law, the Ninth Circuit ruled on Monday. The state's identity theft laws prohibit the use of a false identity to obtain employment. The laws had been used by the controversial sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, to raid and arrest hundreds immigrants at their workplace.

A district court had ruled that the identity theft laws were likely to be unconstitutional last year, but the Ninth circuit disagreed, noting that Arizona's laws would not conflict with federal immigration law when applied to American citizens. The ruling raises the possibility that Sheriff Arpaio's workplace raids could recommence soon.

9th Circuit Affirms Life Sentence Despite 'Reclassification'

A state's post-conviction reclassification of a crime from a felony to misdemeanor has no bearing on a federal statute's sentencing guidelines, the Ninth Circuit said recently. Even though a criminal might get relief from his felony status years after the fact by the state, federal sentencing rules will still look to the time of conviction in meting out the proper punishment.

Criminal law practitioners would do well to educate their clients on the finer nuances that blend federal and state criminal law.