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


In a peculiar twist of events, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor Uber, Lyft and other rideshare services' challenge to a Seattle law that would allow the drivers to unionize.

In short, the appellate court found merit to the challengers' argument that allowing the unionization could violate the Sherman Antitrust Act. The case made its way up to the Ninth Circuit after the federal district court in Seattle dismissed the challenge.

9th Circuit Splits Shoes in Trademark Case

The Stan Smith is a shoe, but not just any shoe.

It was "Shoe of the Year," with 40 million pairs of the adidas brand sold world-wide in 2014. But then Skechers, a relative newcomer in the shoe business, went and took all that glory.

A legal battle over the trademark shoe followed, and a trial judge ordered Skechers to stop selling infringing shoes. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, puts its foot down in Adidas America v. Skechers USA.

Apple v. Samsung Patent Case Back in Court

In law and in sports, sometimes the game is over long before the final score.

That's what is happening in Apple v. Samsung, a patent infringement case pending in a California federal court. Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a $399 million award to Apple and sent it back for further proceedings.

The high court having framed the issue, the trial court will have to bring it home. It's a big game for tech companies that are waiting to see how much Apple wins this time.

San Diego Albertsons Sued for Ban on Spanish Language

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, federal officials filed suit against an Albertons store for banning employees from speaking Spanish.

It is more than a legal problem for the grocery store chain, which employs about 280,000 people in the United States. Only the San Diego store is in trouble for the Spanish-language ban, but it is a practical problem as well.

About 32 percent of the border community there is Hispanic. So how will the Albertsons, a short walk away from Mexico, serve its Spanish-speakers?

The hemp industry is not pleased with a recent ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Industry proponents filed a challenge with the court to the DEA's final rule listing cannabinoids as a schedule 1 controlled substance.

Cannabinoids, or CBD, may sound similar to cannabis, but are actually rather different from the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana, THC, or tetrahydrocannabinols. Although the medical marijuana industry has long since pushed for CBD extracts to be defined separately, particularly as there is no psychoactive effect and it has proven to be medically beneficial, the federal government still lumps these in with drugs like heroin and LSD.

Court: NLRA Applies to Tribal Casino

In gambling, sometimes the house doesn't win.

That's what happened in National Labor Relations Board v. Casino Pauma. The tribal casino tried to keep employees from distributing union literature, and the NLRB stepped in.

The board said the casino violated federal laws protecting union activity, but the tribe said not on its land. In a petition to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the casino took a chance and lost.

In 2012, Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz shot and killed a sixteen year old Mexican boy, Jose Elena Rodriguez. The federal murder trial over whether the killing was justified recently ended with the jury returning a not guilty verdict for the second degree murder charge.

The jury, however, could not reach an agreement on the lesser charges of involuntary and voluntary manslaughter. The court ordered a mistrial as to those charges, yet the decision to retry those charges has not yet been made. Given the gory, and uncontested, details, it would not be surprising to see the matter retried.

Ninth Circuit Not Amused by Selfie-Monkey Copyright Claim

Naruto, the smiling selfie-monkey, got no love from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Dissing the animal rights group that sued for him, the appeals court said animals don't have copyrights. The case attracted global attention because the macaque actually took his own picture, but that did not seem to impress the federal judges.

The Ninth Circuit handed the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals a loss in Naruto v. Slater, saying all the macaque really lost was its so-called "friends."

Special Prosecutor Will Oppose Arpaio in Pardon Case

President Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio last year, but his case is far from over.

Although Arpaio was pardoned for contempt of court, he is appealing because the trial judge refused to vacate the conviction. Judge Susan Bolton said the pardon spared him the punishment, but not the record.

In United States of America v. Arpaio, a divided U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has appointed a special prosecutor to oppose the former sheriff. The majority and dissenting opinions seem to agree on one thing, however: the government is broken.

The Regents of the University of California succeeding in having a three year old Title IX case dismissed on summary judgment. Although the facts of the case are wildly disturbing, the federal district court found that the circumstances surrounding the sexual misconduct were so far out of the control of the university that it could not be held liable.

But before y'all go grab the pitchforks and start marching on the Berkeley administration buildings, the facts rather strongly support the dismissal on summary judgment.