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9th Circuit February 2017 News

First Amendment Ruling Against Lawyer who Spoke to the Press about Settlement

A federal appeals court gave new meaning to 'free speech' for an Arizona attorney who won nearly $1 million in a First Amendment case. The court vacated the entire judgment, including more than $300,000 in attorney's fees.

Maria Brandon, a Maricopa County attorney, had sued the county for retaliating against her after she spoke to a newspaper reporter about the county's settlement practices. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said county officials did nothing wrong, and reversed a jury's verdict.

"In light of what they considered were justifiable misgivings regarding Brandon's judgment, these officials requested that Brandon not be assigned further cases in which the county was a party and which involved risk management," Judge Carlos Bea wrote for the unanimous panel.

Court Upholds Order to Save Salmon

Favoring fish over farmers, a federal appeals court upheld a water agency's decision to divert water to the lower Klamath River in California

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the Bureau of Reclamation lawfully diverted the water to prevent a die-off of salmon in 2013, when water levels fell precariously low for the migrating fish. The last time the river dropped so low, more than 34,000 salmon died there.

Writing for a unanimous panel, Judge N. Randy Smith said Congress gave the BOR authority to divert water resources to protect fish more than 70 years ago. Despite challenges from various water districts, the appeals court said the BOR secretary had discretion to take "appropriate measures" in releasing the water.

Hunter Misses the Mark in Anti-SLAPP Case

Shooting down a motion to strike, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lyrically laid out a case between a hunter and an international sport hunting club.

The court told the story of Dr. Lawrence Rudolph, who was once an award-winning member of the Safari Club. He rose to the top of the 50,000-member club, but then was exiled for allegedly breaching his duties to the organization.

"That's when the season opened," wrote Judge Richard Seeborg in an opinion notable for its many hunting references as much as its ruling.

The Ninth Circuit declined to reinstate President Trump's immigration ban yesterday, finding that the government had shown neither "a likelihood of success on the merits," nor any evidence that a failure to resume the program "would cause irreparable injury."

The decision is bound to be picked over by lawyers, politicians, and possibly the Supreme Court. But along with the court's words, there is plenty of insight to be gained from the court's citations, which give us a sort of peek, one-level down, at how the court viewed the immigration dispute and its role in it.

The Ninth Circuit won't be lifting an order enjoining enforcement of President Trump's executive order barring travel from seven majority-Muslim nations and the resettlement of refugees.

In a per curiam decision, the three-judge panel ruled just moments ago that the administration "has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal, nor has it shown that the failure to enter a stay would cause irreparable injury." Last Friday, Washington State won a temporary restraining order barring enforcement of the ban after it sued, alleging that the executive order violated the Constitution and federal immigration law. The ruling means that Trump's immigration ban will remain on hold for now, while the case continues to play out.

Yesterday's oral arguments in Washington v. Trump might have been the most popular arguments ever held in the Ninth Circuit. More than 40,000 people 137,000 people have listened along to the arguments, which were streamed live on the Ninth's YouTube page.

What did they hear? A passionate, occasionally messy, debate about the president's executive order barring refugees and immigrants from seven majority-Muslim nations and judges that seemed, at times, skeptical of the government's position. Here are the highlights.

The Department of Justice yesterday urged the Ninth Circuit to reinstate President Trump's executive order banning refugee resettlement in the United States and halting immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations. The move comes just days after a federal judge in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order, stopping enforcement of the EO nationwide.

That TRO, the Justice Department argued in its reply filed yesterday afternoon, is unjustified and "vastly overbroad." Here is a quick look at their arguments.

In many ways, e-Commerce has made our lives as consumers so much easier. Need a book? Order it online. Last minute dry cleaning? There's an app. Looking for a lawyer? Here's an online directory.

But as lawyers, e-Commerce doesn't usually mean easy. Instead, litigating e-Commerce disputes in the federal court system can present unique challenges and unexpected pitfalls. Thankfully, there are resources available to help you overcome those challenges deftly.

It's been a busy weekend for lawyers fighting over President Trump's immigration ban. On Friday, a federal judge in Seattle issued a nationwide temporary restraining order pausing the enforcement of ban. While the President took to Twitter to decry the outcome (and the judge), Department of Justice lawyers moved quickly for an emergency stay in the Ninth. Then, on Sunday morning, the Ninth rejected the government's request, allowing the TRO to stand for the time being.

Here's what has happened so far, and what you can expect in the days ahead.

Cancelling a Contract Doesn't Negate Prior Consent to Receive Text Messages

The Ninth Circuit ruled that a customer who gave his phone number to a gym cannot sue the company for contacting him by text message -- even after the customer cancelled his membership.

According to the ruling, it was a matter of context and a failure to expressly revoke consent. The man cancelled his membership, but he did not expressly revoke his consent to receive messages.

"The call or text message must be based on the circumstance in which the consumer gave his or her number," the appellate court said in an unanimous opinion. "The consumer may revoke his or her consent but in that case must clearly express that he or she does not want to receive the messages or calls."