Articles Posted in U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

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Plaintiff, a paraplegic who uses a wheelchair, filed suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., and the California Disabled Persons Act (CDPA), Cal. Civ. Code 54 et seq., against the City because none of the City's public on-street parking is accessible to people with disabilities. The district court denied the City's motion to dismiss, concluding that the broad language of the ADA requires public entities to ensure that all services, including on-street parking, are reasonably accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. The district court then granted the City's motion to certify the order for interlocutory appeal and the City petitioned for leave to appeal. The text of the ADA, the relevant implementing regulations, and the DOJ's interpretation of its own regulations all lead the court to conclude that public entities must ensure that all normal governmental functions are reasonably accessible to disabled persons, irrespective of whether the DOJ has adopted technical specifications for the particular types of facilities involved. Therefore, the court held that plaintiff has stated a claim under the ADA and the CDPA based on the City's alleged failure to provide accessible on-street diagonal stall parking. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Fortyune v. City of Lomita" on Justia Law

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El Dorado, a mobile home park owner located in the City of Fillmore alleged that the City interfered with an application for a subdivision of its seniors-only mobile home park by causing unreasonable delays and imposing extralegal conditions because of a fear that subdivisions would lead to El Dorado opening the Park to families. El Dorado's complaint was dismissed for lack of standing. The court concluded, however, that El Dorado had Article III standing where El Dorado suffered a concrete and particularized, actual, injury, in the form of added expenses caused by the City's interference of the application. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "El Dorado Estates v. City of Fillmore" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs allege that they hold land patents, issued by the federal government before Alaska entered the Union, giving title to certain Alaska streambeds. In 2010- 2011, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources determined that the waterways above these streambeds were navigable in 1959, the year Alaska was admitted to the Union, and remain navigable. Under the Submerged Lands Act of 1953, all land beneath such waterways belongs to the state, 43 U.S.C. 1311(a). Plaintiffs argue that Alaska’s determination that the waterways have been navigable since 1959 does not disturb the title to the land that was granted to them and that, under the Act, streambeds that had already been patented by the federal government were not granted to Alaska upon its statehood. The district court dismissed Plaintiffs’ declaratory judgment action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Ninth Circuit affirmed. Alaska has a sufficient interest in the lands to assert Eleventh Amendment immunity. Plaintiffs’ action was “close to the functional equivalent” of a quiet title action; the lands at issue are submerged lands beneath navigable waters, which have a “unique status in the law” insofar as “[s]tate ownership of them has been considered an essential attribute of sovereignty.” View "Lacano Invs., LLC v. Sullivan" on Justia Law

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Defendant-appellee William Sloan, a citizen of the United States, and plaintiff-appellant Elaine Murphy, a citizen of Ireland, were married in California in 2000. They lived together in Mill Valley, California, and had a daughter, E.S., in 2005. In October 2009, the couple separated, with Sloan moving to a different bedroom in their house. In 2010, Murphy and Sloan enrolled E.S. in a private California preschool for the next fall. But plans changed in the spring after Murphy proposed moving to Ireland so that she (Murphy) could go back to school. Murphy and Sloan discussed the move to Ireland as a "trial period," and Sloan wrote to both the private preschool and the public school district to inform them of E.S.'s move and the temporary nature of the plan. Visitation between the parents worked for several years until Murphy took E.S. with her on a trip to visit Murphy's boyfriend in Asia. Sloan lost contact with Murphy during that time. On a regularly scheduled visit to E.S. in Ireland, Sloan grew concerned about E.S.'s absences from school when Murphy announced she would again be going to Asia with Murphy's boyfriend. Sloan took E.S. with him to the United States when he left Ireland. Murphy and Sloan agreed that Sloan told Murphy that he did not intend to return E.S. to Ireland, to which Murphy responded that if E.S. was going to live in the United States, Murphy would return to Mill Valley. Murphy took no action to compel E.S.'s return to Ireland for nearly three months, until September 2013, when she filed the action that led to this appeal. E.S. began third grade in Mill Valley in August 2013. In October 2013, the Superior Court entered a judgment dissolving the marriage, but left pending the state court action for purposes of issuing further orders regarding child custody, child support and spousal support. Murphy brought suit under the Hague Convention to compel E.S.'s return to Ireland, contending that Ireland was E.S.'s "habitual residence." The district court denied Murphy's petition after considering Murphy and Sloan's sworn declarations, testimony and documents presented at an evidentiary hearing and depositions of Murphy's boyfriend and an expert witness. It determined that the spring of 2010 was the last time that Sloan and Murphy had a shared, settled intent, which was that E.S. reside in California. The court concluded that "E.S. was, at the time of the alleged wrongful retention, and now remains, a habitual resident of the United States." The issue this case presented for the Ninth Circuit's review explored the significance of a "trial period" of residence on a child's "habitual residence" under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Murphy sought the return of E.S. to Ireland. After review, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court that E.S. was a habitual resident of the United States; "E.S.'s attachments to Ireland 'did not shift the locus of [E.S.'s] development[,] and . . . any acclimatization did not overcome the absence of a shared settled intention by the parents to abandon the United States as a habitual residence.'" View "Murphy v. Sloan" on Justia Law

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Yongguo Lai, a native and citizen of China, appealed a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision dismissing Lai's appeal of an immigration judge's (IJ) decision denying his application for asylum, withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The BIA relied on the IJ's finding that Lai's claim of persecution and torture on account of his Christian religion was not credible. The IJ based her ruling, in relevant part, on Lai's testimony during cross-examination that contained information the IJ found to be missing from and inconsistent with Lai's initial written application and direct testimony, and uncorroborated in one respect. Upon review, the Ninth Circuit concluded the BIA's adverse credibility determination was not supported by substantial evidence. Accordingly, the Court reversed and remanded the case to the BIA for further proceedings. View "Lai v. Holder" on Justia Law

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ATC filed suit challenging the City's denial of its Conditional Use Permit (CUP) applications for three of its San Diego telecommunications facilities. ATC raised claims under, among other provisions, the California Permit Streamlining Act (PSA), Cal. Gov't Code 65956(b); the Federal Telecommunications Act (TCA), 47 U.S.C. 332; California Code of Civil Procedure 1094.5; and the Equal Protection Clause. The court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of ATC on the PSA claim because the court concluded that the CUP applications were not deemed approved before the City denied them. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on the TCA claim where the City evaluated the CUP applications under the proper provision of the Land Development Code and supported its decision to deny them with substantial evidence; the City did not unreasonably discriminate among providers of functionally equivalent services because ATC and the City are not "similarly situated" providers; and ATC has failed to show effective prohibition because it has not demonstrated that its proposals were the least intrusive means of filling a significant gap in coverage. ATC could not prevail on California Code of Civil Procedure 1094.5 because it does not have a fundamental vested right to the continued use of the Verus, Border, and Mission Valley Facilities. There was no violation of the Equal Protection Clause because the City's decision to deny the CUP applications was rationally related to the City's legitimate interest in minimizing the aesthetic impact of wireless facilities and in providing public communications services. Accordingly, the court reversed in part and affirmed in part. View "American Tower Corp. v. City of San Diego" on Justia Law

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Avenal Power filed suit seeking to compel EPA to issue a Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permit under the old applicable air quality standards that would have applied had EPA acted within the statutory deadline. EPA eventually granted Avenal Power the Permit without regard to the new regulations. Petitioners challenged EPA's action. As a preliminary matter, the court concluded that petitioners had associational standing. On the merits, the court held that the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. 7475(c), unambiguously requires Avenal Power to demonstrate that the Avenal Energy Project complies with the regulations in effect at the time the Permit is issued; because Congress has directly spoken to the precise question at issue in Chevron, U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., EPA cannot grant the petition for review; and, therefore, the court vacated the decision to issue the permit and remanded for further proceedings. View "Sierra Club v. EPA" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs Coons and Novack filed suit challenging the constitutionality of two provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub. L. No. 111-148, 124 Stat. 119, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-152, 124 Stat. 1029 (Affordable Care Act): the individual mandate and the establishment of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Plaintiffs also sought a declaration that the Arizona Health Care Freedom Act, Ariz. Const. art. XXVII, section 2, is not preempted by the Affordable Care Act. The court affirmed the district court's holding that the individual mandate does not violate Coons' substantive due process right to medical autonomy; affirmed the dismissal of Coons' challenge, based on lack of ripeness, to the individual mandate for violation of his substantive due process right to informational privacy; affirmed the district court's holding that the Affordable Care Act preempts the Arizona Act; and, with respect to Novack's challenge to IPAB, the court vacated the district court's decision on the merits of the claim and remanded with instructions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. View "Coons v. Lew" on Justia Law

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Riverkeeper attempted to intervene in an effort to prevent LNG from constructing a liquefied natural gas facility and pipeline along the Columbia River in Oregon. Riverkeeper sought review of the Coast Guard's issuance of a letter of recommendation regarding the suitability of the waterway for vessel traffic, contending that the court has jurisdiction under the Natural Gas Act, 15 U.S.C. 717r(d)(1). Section 717r(d) authorizes judicial review of agency orders and actions that issue, condition, or deny any permit, license, concurrence, or approval. The court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction and dismissed the petition for review because the letter of recommendation was not such an order or action under section 717r(d)(1). View "Columbia Riverkeeper v. U.S. Coast Guard" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Planned Parenthood under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733, alleging that Planned Parenthood knowingly and falsely overbilled state and federal governments for contraceptives supplied to low-income individuals. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint on the alternative ground that the complaint did not state plausible claims for relief. Even assuming that the third amended complaint sufficiently alleged falsity, it did not satisfy Rule 8(a), which requires a plausible claim that Planned Parenthood knowingly made false claims, with the statutory scienter. Because plaintiff's own complaint attachments defeated the plausibility of his allegations, and because he had already amended his complaint several times, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying him further leave to amend. The district court also correctly concluded that plaintiff's claims under state law were time-barred. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Gonzalez v. Planned Parenthood" on Justia Law