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

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Joann Davis was an elderly widow of an Apollo engineer trying to hawk an extra-terrestrial rock when she wound up in trouble with the space agency. After Davis contacted the agency for help selling the rice-sized rock, in part to cover her son's medical bills, NASA organized a sting, detaining Davis in a Denny's parking lot, and declining to let her use the restroom, even as she wet herself.

Davis sued NASA, for a detention that was "unreasonably prolonged and unnecessarily degrading," in violation of the Fourth Amendment. And that suit can go forward to resolve genuine issues of material fact surrounding the lawfulness of her detention, the Ninth Circuit ruled last Thursday.

Porn Star's Libel Suit Survives Dismissal at the Ninth Circuit

The Ninth Circuit greenlit a defamation lawsuit brought against the British tabloid Daily Mail Online by the former soft-core porn model Danni Ashe.

It's a bit of a victory for those "public figures" who generally fight an uphill battle with regards to defamation suits.

Burning Man's La Contessa Is Not Visual Art Under VARA

The legendary La Contessa which once started off life as a school bus but later transformed into a model replica of a 16th century Spanish galleon did not qualify as visual art under the federal Visual Artists Rights Act and other implicated Nevada laws, the Ninth Circuit ruled.

For those who can't remember, La Contessa lasted about four years at the festival until she was banned because her "unsafe driving practices far exceeded community tolerance and out-weighed the visual contribution [she] made." What a bunch of party poopers.

9th Circuit Revives Bogus Casting Call Model Mayhem Suit

Owing to a recent reversal of a lower federal court decision by the Ninth Circuit, the model networking site Model Mayhem and its parent company Internet Brands must face a previously dismissed case arising out of a casting couch scam. According to the lawsuit, the scam left the plaintiff drugged, raped, and cast as an unwilling member in an illicitly published porno.

The plaintiff's lawyer has celebrated the decision as a "landmark" victory for victims who were similarly scouted by unscrupulous scammers and it clarifies the proper application of the Communications Decency Act.

Sexual Harassment Claims Against Prison Co. Will Go Forward

A previously dismissed sexual harassment suit brought against a Florida-state correctional agency that contracts with the Department of Justice must be reinstated, said the Ninth Circuit. The case centers on the unprofessional and sexually explicit behaviors of male co-workers who were employees of Florida based Geo Group.

The Arizona Attorneys Office seemed happy by the Ninth Circuit's ruling. "This ruling allows our office to seek remedies for 25 women who were forced to accept sexual harassment by their male co-workers and supervisors as a requirement for their work at the Geo Group," said Mia Garcia, a spokesperson for the AZ Attorney General's Office.

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.

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.

'Tire-Eating' Ford Focus Case Revived by 9th Circuit

In a breach of warranty case affecting many Focus owners, the Ninth Circuit reversed a lower court's ruling that plaintiffs who owned 'tire-eating' Ford Focus models from 2005-11 failed to show that the cars became unsalable within the duration of implied warranty.

Judge Donald Mallor twisted the knife further when he found that the language of the express warranty was ambiguous. He slapped Ford under the doctrine of contra proferentem.

9th Cir. Reverses Lower Court ADEA Age Discrimination Case

Last August, the Ninth Circuit reversed the lower district's summary judgment in favor of the Department of Homeland Security when a border patrol agent sued the branch of the agency alleging violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, better known as ADEA.

In the lawsuit, government employee John France alleged that he had been passed over for promotion to Assistant Chief Patrol Agent with a pay scale of GS-15 because he was the oldest candidate who applied. The Department of Homeland Security demurred and the Appellate Court finally reversed, ruling that the facts did not support summary judgment.

In a class action lawsuit that's sure to get heart rates up, a Florida man has alleged that Fitbit's technology is a fraud. James Brickman claims that the company duped him and others out of their cash by making false claims that it could track their sleep.

Fitbit sells wearable tech devices that track a consumer's steps, calories burned, distance covered and other data. Those features have made it a widely popular accessory amongst fitness nerds. The company also advertises a sleep tracking feature, promising "quantified sleep" and "quality data." According to the class action, however, the product's sleep tracking function does not and cannot do what it claims.