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The Supreme Court has upheld Arizona's use of independent commissions in drawing legislative districts. In order to prevent gerrymandering, the state elected, through public referendum, to establish an independent commission to draw congressional districts. The state legislature challenged this practice, arguing that it violated the constitution's Elections Clause, which declares that the time, place and manner of Congressional elections should be determined "in each State by the Legislature therefor," though Congress can alter those regulations.

The opinion, written by Justice Ginsburg and joined by Kennedy, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, held that states weren't limited to having their legislatures in charge of legislative districting, so long as the choice is enacted through proper means. "Legislature," read this way, isn't limited to elective representatives -- it means any law-making authority, including the people themselves.

The Yellowstone Club was to be one of the most ornate ski resorts in the West, a snowbound Shangri-la for the super rich described by The New York Times as "a ski community where there's no such thing as too much." That is, until the plan collapsed, with the club defaulting on loans worth hundreds of millions of dollars and the developer, Tim Blixseth, accused of misusing funds to support his extravagant lifestyle.

Blixseth is currently facing $250 million in judgments from creditors and has failed to account for $13.8 million in spending. That failure put him in jail for contempt of court, where a district court judge says he'll remain until a full accounting is made. He won't be getting any help from the Ninth Circuit either, as the appeals court refused his petition for release yesterday.

If you need something to do on a slow night, consider heading down the Ninth Circuit -- for a movie. That's right, the halls of justice aren't just for deciding cases, they also host regular movie screenings put together by judge Alex Kozinski.

The Los Angeles Times provided a glimpse behind the scenes of one screening, in a piece published on Thursday. Kozinski provides the film and booze for free, but the pizza will cost you $10. The judge claims to do the shopping with his administrative assistant and describes the nights as way to keep in touch with the court's community.

Animal welfare advocates have filed two lawsuits challenging the transfer of a pair of Asian elephants from a zoo in Seattle to Oklahoma City, claiming the move violates the state constitution and federal Endangered Species Act.

The transfer comes after years of controversy surrounding the fate of Seattle's elephants. The Seattle zoo, Woodland Park, agreed to end its elephant display last year, following several years of public pressure. Now, the future home of the elephants is subject to contention. The zoo plans on transferring them to Oklahoma City, where they would be housed in a recent addition to that city's zoo, while advocates argue the elephants should be sent to a sanctuary.

San Jose Strikes Out in 9th Cir. MLB Antitrust Appeal

When we last left the City of San Jose in its ongoing battle with the behemoth known as Major League Baseball, it was trying to fast-track an antitrust lawsuit against MLB to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Well, the Ninth Circuit has decided, and with Judge Alex Kozinski at the bat, San Jose -- like Mighty Casey -- has struck out.

9th Cir. Dismisses Shareholder Lawsuit Against NVIDIA for Faulty Chips

NVIDIA Corporation makes a bunch of computer chips, including graphics processing units (GPUs) for all your sweet gaming machines. In 2006, NVIDIA began experiencing problems with some of its chips. NVIDIA initially wasn't sure what the problem was, and issued software updates to run the fans of its graphics cards faster to cool down the cards. But that didn't work.

Finally, HP concluded that the problem was the chips themselves. NVIDIA determined that the problem lay in the composition of a new kind of solder used on its chips. In 2008, NVIDIA told its manufacturers to go back to the old solder.

No Personal Jurisdiction on Corp. by Serving Executive: 9th Cir.

Remember Burnham v. Superior Court? That's the one where a defendant was personally served in California while traveling there on business. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld personal service due to transient presence in the forum state ("tag jurisdiction") as legitimate on its own, without requiring any of the "sufficient minimum contacts" nonsense of International Shoe.

Here's a law school hypothetical for you: What if an officer of a foreign corporation is personally served in the forum state? Does that grant a court personal jurisdiction over the corporation? No it doesn't, said the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Martinez v. Aero Caribbean.

NCAA Players Can Profit From Video-Game Likenesses: Dist. Court

The NCAA has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism lately -- and rightly so. The NCAA, which has a stranglehold on the top college sports in the United States, sets out rules based on the fiction that college athletes are students first and athletes second, and that they play college sports simply for the love of the game. The rules are also based on the fiction that college sports are not a business. In the meantime, college athletes aren't permitted to earn any money from their athletic skills outside the scholarships their schools offer.

Former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon represents a group of college athletes who are a little peeved that NCAA is making literally millions of dollars licensing their likenesses to anyone with a pulse, including TV stations, merchandise manufacturers, and video game companies. On Friday, Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California agreed, finding the NCAA's rules were an unreasonable restraint on trade.

ACA Doesn't Violate Medical Autonomy, Preempts Ariz. Law: 9th Cir.

Another day, another challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

Plaintiffs Nick Coons and Eric Novack were represented in District Court by the Goldwater Institute. (You know where this is headed.) They object to the Affordable Care Act for three reasons: (1) the individual mandate is bad and they don't like it; (2) they don't like the establishment of an advisory program that issues Medicare budget recommendations; and (3) the ACA violates their right to medical autonomy. Oh, and they also claim that an Arizona Health Care Freedom Act, one of many such acts passed in other states, purports to invalidate the ACA individual mandate in Arizona.

Gee, I wonder how this will go.

Did Mass Murderers File a Motion in the Tech Anti-Poaching Suit?

It's Friday, which means my ability to take anything seriously is absolutely nearing it end. I'm running on fumes here.

Fortunately, eight federal inmates, including three infamous convicted murderers, have supposedly filed a handwritten motion to intervene in the Silicon Valley anti-poaching class action lawsuit. You know, the one where CEOs of major tech companies sent emails back-and-forth, agreeing not to poach each other's staff? The one that reached a settlement agreement for pennies, despite the smoking gun evidence?

The settlement is currently sitting on U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh's desk. Sitting next to it is this handwritten motion -- and in the trashcan nearby, there's another motion that was filed using a California attorney's stolen identity.

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