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

9th Circuit November 2015 News

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.

The Ninth Circuit has given the EEOC the go ahead to compel production of so-called "pedigree information" in employment investigations. Pedigree information includes things like an employee's name, Social Security number, address, and telephone number.

The ruling came after the EEOC investigated the McLane Company for gender discrimination after it refused to allow an employee to return to her job following maternity leave. The Commission sought extensive information on employees which McLane refused to provide but which, the Ninth Circuit has ruled, was appropriate and relevant to the investigation.

Uber Drivers Score Another Win in the 9th Cir.

Another win was secured for Uber drivers in O'Connor et al v. Uber Technologies Inc. as the Ninth Circuit denied the company's request to appeal the recent order approving the class certification in a lawsuit by drivers who wished to be categorized as employees.

The ruling means that drivers could potentially be relieved of gas and maintenance costs of their vehicles which they currently pay for themselves, according to Reuters. The final outcome of the Uber controversy will not only impact the business model of Uber, but other companies within the sharing economy as well.

The "machinery of death" is creaking back into action in California after a Ninth Circuit decision revived the state's capital punishment system today. In a surprising ruling last year, Judge Cormac Carney declared that the state's death penalty system was so slow and arbitrary that it constituted cruel and unusual punishment. He ordered the whole thing shut down.

But that ruling has now been overturned on a technicality, with the Ninth announcing today that the district court should not have entertained the argument in a habeas review.

It's not just Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia who are likely to die on the bench. Though those Supreme Court Justices are over 80, they've both steadfastly refused to consider retirement. They've got company. Many federal judges plan on hanging on to that gavel right to the end.

Since federal judges are appointed for life and must be impeached by Congress to be removed, their careers can last well into their twilight years. And while many remain sharp throughout that period, there are also concerns that an aging judiciary will lead to senile judges staying on the bench too long. In response, the Ninth Circuit has adopted a sophisticated senility awareness program to help judges recognize when it might be time to take a break from the bench.

Foie Gras May Be Banned in California ... Again

The Ninth Circuit Court may soon hear a case involving the legality of foie gras in California eateries.

If you're not a regular consumer of the French delicacy, you're probably not aware that the production and selling of traditionally made foie gras (which is essentially any foie gras) was made illegal in 2012. It's also a pretty good bet that you did not know that District Judge Stephen V. Wilson overturned a section that banned the sale of foie gras in California. If you love foie gras, you'd better start savoring the memory because it could be made illegal again in a state near you.

Well that didn't take long. Just over two weeks after hearing oral arguments over a controversial Reno highway expansion, the Ninth Circuit has refused to halt the project. Community groups had opposed the controversial SouthEast Connector, seeking an emergency injunction to halt the project and arguing that it had been approved without sufficient environmental review.

The Ninth, it seems, didn't even have to think twice about it. The court quickly rejected the group's appeal, in a three paragraph opinion which found no indication that the lower court had abused its discretion when it allowed construction to go forward.