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Cross-Border Pollution Case Can Proceed Over Tijuana Sewage

Judge Jeffrey Miller has an international border case that is beyond his reach.

It is hard enough that the case is about wastewater flowing from Mexico border town Tijuana to nearby San Diego County, California. But it is even more complicated than the course of pollution spilling into waterways and ocean bays.

City of Imperial Beach v. International Boundary Water Commission is the first case of its kind. It asks the court to address a Clean Water Act violation from polluted waters entering United States from another country.

The Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (MAMM) fought the law, and even though the law didn't win, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the pot shop is not entitled to attorney fees, despite what the Equal Access to Justice Act says.

Basically, when the government acts foolishly in pursuing legal action and a private party must take legal action to stop it, those private parties can have their attorney fees paid back. In the MAMM case, the court found that the pot shop didn't necessarily win their case as much as the government just lost theirs, and that actually makes a significant difference when it comes to enforcing the attorney fee shift under the EAJA.

Litigators in the Ninth Circuit's district courts work on some of the most innovative and forward-thinking cases filed in the country. For years now, federal litigators in California have trusted The Rutter Group's Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial, California and Ninth Circuit Edition. (Disclosure: The Rutter Group is part of Thomson Reuters, FindLaw's parent company.)

The bestselling guide has been updated for 2017 with new cases, statutes, and the information you need to help you litigate in California's federal courts. The guide organizes the leading precedents and applicable statutes by issue and exhaustively indexes each topic, so that no matter which road you take, you'll always get where you need to go.

Federal Court litigation is a marathon, not a sprint. As any marathon runner knows, you can't run the race if you haven't prepared. Fortunately for attorneys, preparing a case for trial doesn't require any actual running, though it can sure feel like a workout sometimes.

When prepping a case for trial, or just filing, even experienced federal court litigators need to have their recollections refreshed on proper civil procedure. While younger, inexperienced lawyers might choose to start with a web search, experienced practitioners will turn to the federal practice guide that has become an industry standard at any law firm worth its weight in billables: The Rutter Group's Practice Guide: Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial, National Edition.

Lawyer Discipline Challenge Violated Rooker-Feldman Doctrine

A California attorney Marilyn Sue Scheer doesn't give up easily. When a dispute with a client led to discipline from the California State Bar, Scheer refused to comply. When her refusal led to suspension, Scheer sued. When the California Supreme Court ruled against her, Scheer moved the fight over to the federal courts.

And it was there, in the Ninth Circuit, that Scheer lost again on Monday, as the Ninth reminded her that only the Supreme Court could hear appeals from "a state-court loser."

Plaintiff Entitled to Attorneys' Fees in City of Laguna Beach Case

In a rather circuitous line of cases generally revolving the issue of free speech, a plaintiff in Laguna Beach California successfully convinced the Ninth Circuit that he was entitled to attorneys' fees because his primary goal was not money, but some other injunctive relief.

Looks like you have to not want money to get money.

Chrysler Must Show a Compelling Interest for Sealing Corporate Docs

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals quite possibly made it easier for the public to access what some litigants had thought were court sealed documents.

Writing for the majority, Ninth Circuit Judge John Owens declared that a lower court erred in applying a strict "good cause" test for keeping documents instead of a stricter "compelling reasons" test.

Willful Ignorance Can Lead to Adoptive Admission, 9th Cir. Rules

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals tackled a matter of first impression in Transbay v. Chevron when it found that a party's willful ignorance of the contents of a document can possibly lead to an admission of the truth of the contents. Anyone who's planning to whip out the "I knew nothin'" defense will have to reassess her strategy.

Every litigator loves hearsay -- and its infamous loopholes. It looks like the Ninth Circuit has finally spoken and closed another loop on the "ostrich defense."

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.

Did Immigration Services Violate FOIA? 9th Cir. Finds Case Moot

Attorney James Mayock brought a suit against the Federal Agency claimed that USCIS had engaged in a "pattern and practice" of violating the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for well over several decades. The Ninth Circuit, however, found that Mayock failed to prove standing and that the case was actually moot.

The ruling further suggests that any immigration attorney should think twice before bringing a suit alleging personal harm that is actually the harm of his clients.