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

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Lawyer Discipline Challenge Violated Rooker-Feldman Doctrine

A California attorney Marilyn Sue Scheer doesn't give up easily. When a dispute with a client led to discipline from the California State Bar, Scheer refused to comply. When her refusal led to suspension, Scheer sued. When the California Supreme Court ruled against her, Scheer moved the fight over to the federal courts.

And it was there, in the Ninth Circuit, that Scheer lost again on Monday, as the Ninth reminded her that only the Supreme Court could hear appeals from "a state-court loser."

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.

Willful Ignorance Can Lead to Adoptive Admission, 9th Cir. Rules

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals tackled a matter of first impression in Transbay v. Chevron when it found that a party's willful ignorance of the contents of a document can possibly lead to an admission of the truth of the contents. Anyone who's planning to whip out the "I knew nothin'" defense will have to reassess her strategy.

Every litigator loves hearsay -- and its infamous loopholes. It looks like the Ninth Circuit has finally spoken and closed another loop on the "ostrich defense."

FRCP Rule 15(a) is Not 'Chronological,' 9th Cir. Says. Go Crazy!

In a decision that has all the glossy fun of civil procedure nit-pitpicking, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that Sergio Casillas Ramirez properly and timely filed a second amended complaint under FRCP Rule 15(a) and that the lower court ran afoul of Erie.

Let this be a reminder to all practitioners that those local court rules mean nothing once the case hits any federal court procedure speed-bumps.

Did Immigration Services Violate FOIA? 9th Cir. Finds Case Moot

Attorney James Mayock brought a suit against the Federal Agency claimed that USCIS had engaged in a "pattern and practice" of violating the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for well over several decades. The Ninth Circuit, however, found that Mayock failed to prove standing and that the case was actually moot.

The ruling further suggests that any immigration attorney should think twice before bringing a suit alleging personal harm that is actually the harm of his clients.

Environmental and community advocates won't be able to force stricter pesticide emissions restrictions in California, the Ninth Circuit ruled on Friday. A coalition of groups, lead by El Comite para el Bienestar de Earlimart, had challenged the state's Clean Air Act pesticide regulations, arguing that they did not reduce emissions enough and would lead to excessive levels of exposure for Latino youth.

The regulations in question were first proposed in 1994 to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act. Under California's State Implementation Plan (SIP), certain pesticide emissions were to be reduced by up to 20 percent of their 1990 levels by 2005. It wasn't until 2012, however, that the EPA determined that the California SIP included enforceable regulations.

The Ninth Circuit has reversed a district court ruling granting summary judgment to Sears in a California disability law dispute. The district court had ruled that employee presented no triable claims because the evidence he offered was all self-serving.

Of course it was, the Ninth ruled when reversing. Self-serving evidence, consisting here of uncorroborated recollections, may not be of much weight to a trier of fact, but it cannot be rejected outright at the summary judgment stage.

Injunction Violated: Sea Pirate Hippies Aid Foreign Cousins

It's the oldest trick in the book. Your parents tell you not to do something, so you have your brother do it for you.

That's the gist of what happened here. Last year, we brought the tale of the sea pirate hippy bench-slapping, a master class in insulting multiple parties in a single judicial opinion by none other than the great Judge Alex Kozinski. The Kozinski-helmed majority issued an injunction ordering the Sea Shepard Conservation Society to stay away from certain (alleged whaling) ships.

Sea Shepard kinda-sorta complied: They gave their ships and equipment to foreign branches of their organization, which, of course, engaged in activities that would have violated the injunction had Sea Shepard USA done them itself.

3 Quick Tips for New Attorneys Filing in The 9th Circuit

You know the drill: New attorneys practicing in the Ninth Circuit need to be aware of the court's local rules to make sure they don't look too much like a newbie.

In comparison with some other circuits, the Ninth Circuit's rules appear to be slightly more laid back. But even so, federal courts are on the whole much stricter and sterner when it comes to enforcing the rules than your average state court. If you are just starting out in federal practice, here are three quick tips.