Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
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Plaintiff, a former cargo customer service agent for Delta Airlines, claimed that the Transportation Security Agency (“TSA”) revoked his security badge without explanation and sued for violations of the Administrative Procedure Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981, and due process.The Ninth Circuit held that Sec. 1981 prohibited discrimination by state officials but not federal or nongovernmental actors. The court also held that the district court did not have jurisdiction to consider Plaintiff's challenge to the TSA’s Redress Process because it fell within this court’s exclusive jurisdiction under 49 U.S.C. Sec. 46110, and that Plaintiff failed to establish a liberty interest to support his due process claims. View "LASSANA MAGASSA V. ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, ET AL" on Justia Law

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Pursuant to Rule 8.548(b)(2) of the California Rules of Court, the Ninth Circuit requested that the Supreme Court of California decide the certified question presented below: Do non-convicted incarcerated individuals performing services in county jails for a for-profit company to supply meals within the county jails and related custody facilities have a claim for minimum wages and overtime under Section 1194 of the California Labor Code in the absence of any local ordinance prescribing or prohibiting the payment of wages for these individuals? View "ARMIDA RUELAS, ET AL V. COUNTY OF ALAMEDA, ET AL" on Justia Law

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The two procedures at issue are the HARYS FOUR departure procedure at Van Nuys Airport, and the SLAPP TWO departure procedure at Burbank Airport. Petitioner contends that the FAA failed to sufficiently analyze the procedures, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), the Administrative Procedure Act, and section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1996.   The key issue is the timeliness of Petitioner’s challenges. Petitions for review of FAA orders must be filed within 60 days after the order was issued, or where there are “reasonable grounds” to excuse a delay in filing. 49 U.S.C. Section 46110(a). The Ninth Circuit denied in part and dismissed in part the petition for review brought by an association of nearby residents challenging the FAA orders. The panel held that the statutory “reasonable grounds” exception did not apply. A petitioner’s own mistake cannot excuse its delay in filing. The panel further held that the FAA’s alleged violative conduct did not toll the statute of limitations for filing the petition. Petitioner cannot circumvent the strict time limits imposed by section 46110 simply by invoking the Administrative Procedure Act. The panel concluded that the petition of review of HARYS ONE and SLAPP ONE was untimely, and it dismissed the petition for review insofar as it challenged those orders. View "SAVE OUR SKIES LA V. FAA, ET AL" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs appeal the district court’s dismissal of their claims challenging the constitutionality of Oregon’s since repealed system of suspending, without an inquiry into ability to pay, the driver’s licenses of persons who fail to pay the fines imposed on them in connection with traffic violations. The district court dismissed the operative complaint for failure to state a claim.   The Ninth Circuit affirmed. The panel first considered Plaintiffs contention that Defendants’ suspension of her driver’s license based on her failure to pay traffic fines, without first determining that she had the ability to pay and had willfully refused to make a monetary payment, violated the due process and equal protection principles recognized in Bearden v. Georgia, 461 U.S. 660 (1983), and Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12 (1956). The panel concluded that suspension of Plaintiff’s license for failure to pay her traffic fines was rationally related to a legitimate government interest in punishing and deterring traffic violations, even if her failure to pay was a result of indigency. The panel rejected Plaintiff’s contention that the State’s distinction between traffic debt and non-traffic debt violated the equal protection principles set forth in James v. Strange, 407 U.S. 128 (1972). Finally, the panel rejected Plaintiff’s contention that Defendants violated her procedural due process rights by suspending her license without affording either a “presuspension hearing” or a “post-suspension hearing” concerning her ability to pay her traffic debt. View "CINDY MENDOZA, ET AL V. KRIS STRICKLER, ET AL" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs-Appellants Cariene Cadena and similarly situated employees (Appellants) are employed by Customer Connexx LLC (Connexx) to operate a call center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Appellants’ primary responsibilities are to provide customer service and scheduling to customers over a “softphone,” operated only through their employer-provided computers.   The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s summary judgment in favor of Defendant Customer Connexx LLC and remanded for further proceedings in a collective action brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act by call center workers. The panel concluded that the district court correctly identified the workers’ principal duties as answering customer phone calls and scheduling appliance pickups. Agreeing with the Tenth Circuit, the panel held that the workers’ duties could not be performed without turning on and booting up their work computers, and having a functioning computer was necessary before the workers could receive calls and schedule appointments. Accordingly, turning on the computers was integral and indispensable to the workers’ duties and was a principal activity under the FLSA. It, therefore, was compensable.   The panel reversed the district court’s summary judgment on the FLSA claim and remanded to the district court for consideration of whether time spent shutting down computers was compensable, whether the time spent booting up and down the computers was not compensable under the de minimis doctrine, and whether Connexx had no knowledge of the alleged overtime such that it was not in violation of the FLSA’s overtime requirements. View "CARIENE CADENA, ET AL V. CUSTOMER CONNEXX LLC, ET AL" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs brought a putative class action under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 alleging that tire chalking violated the Fourth Amendment. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s summary judgment for Defendants and held that municipalities are not required to obtain warrants before chalking tires as part of enforcing time limits on city parking spots. The panel held that even assuming the temporary dusting of chalk on a tire constitutes a Fourth Amendment “search,” it falls within the administrative search exception to the warrant requirement. Complementing a broader program of traffic control, tire chalking is reasonable in its scope and manner of execution. It is not used for general crime control purposes. And its intrusion on personal liberty is de minimis at most. View "ANDRE VERDUN, ET AL V. CITY OF SAN DIEGO, ET AL" on Justia Law

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City of Reno’s complaint and declaratory relief under Nevada’s Video Service Law (“VSL”) and the federal Declaratory Judgment Act, respectively. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal for failure to state a claim of Reno’s complaint alleging that Netflix, Inc. and Hulu, LLC failed to pay franchise fees for the video streaming services they provide.   Specifically, the panel first addressed the VSL. The VSL does not expressly create a private right of action for cities to sue for unpaid franchise fees. The test under Nevada law for whether a statute creates an implied right of action is set forth in Baldonado v. Wynn Las Vegas, LLC, 194 P.3d 96 (Nev. 2008). The panel held that all three Baldonado factors weigh against recognition of an implied right of action here. Concerning the federal Declaratory Judgment Act, the panel held that it does not provide a cause of action when a party, such as Reno, lacks a cause of action under a separate statute and seeks to use the Act to obtain affirmative relief. Here, Reno’s suit was offensive, not defensive, and Reno lacked an independent cause of action, so the Declaratory Judgment Act provided no basis for relief. View "CITY OF RENO V. NETFLIX, INC., ET AL" on Justia Law

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Bliss Sequoia Insurance and Risk Advisors held an insurance policy from Allied Property and Casualty Insurance (Allied Property) covering any liability that Bliss Sequoia might incur for “damages because of ‘bodily injury.’” One of Bliss Sequoia’s clients was a water park, and after a park guest was injured, the park sued Bliss Sequoia for professional negligence, alleging that the coverage limits on the park’s liability insurance were too low. This appeal presents the question whether that negligence claim arose “because of” the guest’s “bodily injury” and is therefore covered by Bliss Sequoia’s policy. We agree with the district court that the answer is no.   The panel affirmed the district court’s summary judgment in favor of Allied Property. Allied’s policy provided that it covered any sums Bliss Sequoia was “legally obligated to pay as damages because of ‘bodily injury’ or ‘property damage.’” Bliss Sequoia alleged that the bodily injury at issue was a “but-for” cause of Bliss Sequoia’s professional-negligence liability. The panel held that pure but-for causation would result in infinite liability for all wrongful acts, and therefore, the law almost never employs that standard without limiting it in some way. The law cuts off remote chains of causation by applying common law principles of proximate causation. Further, the personal-injury lawsuit against the water park arose “because of bodily injury,” but the claims of professional negligence did not. Because Bliss Sequoia’s policy did not cover those claims, Allied had no duty to defend or indemnify Bliss Sequoia against them. View "BLISS SEQUOIA INSURANCE, ET AL V. ALLIED PROPERTY & CASUALTY INS" on Justia Law

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ICE has decided to rely almost exclusively on privately owned and operated facilities in California. Two such facilities are run by appellant The Geo Group, Inc. AB 32 would override the federal government’s decision, pursuant to discretion conferred by Congress, to use private contractors to run its immigration detention facilities.The Ninth Circuit en banc court vacated the district court’s denial of the United States and The Geo Group, Inc.’s motion for preliminary injunctive relief, and held that California enacted Assembly Bill (AB) 32, which states that a “person shall not operate a private detention facility within the state,” would give California a virtual power of review over Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s detention decisions, in violation of the Supremacy Clause.The en banc court held that whether analyzed under intergovernmental immunity or preemption, California cannot exert this level of control over the federal government’s detention operations. The en banc court remanded for further proceedings. The en banc court held that AB 32 would breach the core promise of the Supremacy Clause. To comply with California law, ICE would have to cease its ongoing immigration detention operations in California and adopt an entirely new approach in the state. This foundational limit on state power cannot be squared with the dramatic changes that AB 32 would require ICE to make. The en banc court held that appellants are likely to prevail on their claim that AB 32 violates the Supremacy Clause as to ICE-contracted facilities. View "THE GEO GROUP, INC., ET AL V. GAVIN NEWSOM, ET AL" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed in part and vacated in part the district court’s grant of Defendants’ motion to dismiss, and remanded for further proceedings, in an action in which federally-qualified health centers operating in Arizona and their membership organization alleged that the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, which administers Arizona’s Medicaid program, and its director violated 42 U.S.C. Section 1396a(bb) and binding Ninth Circuit precedent by failing or refusing to reimburse Plaintiffs for the services of dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, and chiropractors.   First, the panel held that the court’s precedent in California Ass’n of Rural Health Clinics v. Douglas (“Douglas”), 738 F.3d 1007 (9th Cir. 2013), established that FQHC services are a mandatory benefit under Section 1396d(a)(2)(C) for which Plaintiffs have a right to reimbursement under Section 1396a(bb) that is enforceable under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983. The panel rejected Defendants’ interpretation of Section 1396d(a)(2)(C)’s phrase “which are otherwise included in the plan” as applying to both the phrases “FQHC services” and “other ambulatory services offered by a [FQHC.]” The panel, therefore, rejected Defendants’ assertion that Section 1396d(a)(2)(C) only required states to cover FQHC services that are included in the state Medicaid plan.   The panel recognized that Douglas held that the mandatory benefit of “FQHC services” under § 1396d(a)(2)(C) includes “services furnished by . . . dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, and chiropractors” as well as doctors of medicine and osteopathy. The panel held that Arizona’s categorical exclusion of adult chiropractic services violated the unambiguous text of the Medicaid Act as interpreted in Douglas. View "AACHC V. AHCCCS" on Justia Law