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

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The Canal Authority appealed the district court's decision to grant summary judgment in favor of Interior, Bureau, San Luis, and Wetlands, in a suit to establish priority water rights under Central Valley Project (CVP) water service contracts. The district court granted summary judgment for defendants, holding that all claims arising before February 11, 2004 were time-barred and that Canal Authority was not entitled to priority water allocation under the CVP contracts. The court affirmed the district court's decision on the alternative basis that California Water Code 11460 did not require the Bureau to provide CVP contractors priority water rights, because contracts between the Canal Authority and Bureau contained provisions that specifically address allocation of water during shortage periods. View "Tehama-Colusa Canal Auth. v. U.S. Dept. of Interior" on Justia Law

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ACT brought this suit against PCI and First National, alleging claims of breach of contract, quantum meruit, and recovery on a payment bond under the Miller Act, 40 U.S.C. 3131(b). Because United States ex rel. Celanese Coatings Co. v. Gullard was clearly irreconcilable with intervening higher authority, the court overruled it and held that the Miller Act's statute of limitations was a claim-processing rule, not a jurisdictional rule. Because nothing on the face of ACT's complaint indicated that it did not work on the project or rent equipment to PCI within one year of the date it filed the complaint, the complaint could not have been dismissed if the district court had treated the Miller Act's statute of limitations as a claim-processing rule. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "Air Control Tech. v. Pre Con Indus." on Justia Law

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These are two appeals stemming from the government's immediate termination of a Medicare Part D services contract with a prescription drug insurance coverage provider, Fox. Fox subsequently filed actions in the district court challenging both the termination and an order for immediate repayment. The court affirmed the district court's holding that the contract was properly terminated; affirmed the district court's ruling that governing regulations authorized the government's demand for immediate repayment of a prorated share of the funds that had been paid to Fox at the beginning of the month and that Fox would not utilize after the contract's termination; and the government's actions were more than justified, as Fox had risked permanent damage to its enrollees by, inter alia, improperly denying coverage of critical HIV, cancer, and seizure medications, and having no compliance structure in place. View "Fox Ins. Co. v. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid" on Justia Law

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Defendants' convictions arose out of a series of events that took place while Defendant Robles was Treasurer of the City of South Gate, California. Robles, along with Defendant Garrido, a local businessman and friend, were implicated in two schemes to award city contracts to particular companies while reaping substantial benefits for themselves. On appeal, defendants challenged their convictions. In light of the the Supreme Court's decision in Skilling v. United States, which narrowed the scope of 18 U.S.C. 1346 to include only honest services fraud based on bribery and kickback schemes, the court reversed Robles's and Garrido's honest services fraud convictions and reversed Robles's money laundering convictions. The court affirmed Robles's bribery convictions under 18 U.S.C. 666 because such convictions did not required the defendant to be engaged in an official act. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Garrido" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff brought suit under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act (FCA) against Lockheed Martin Corporation, alleging that Lockheed defrauded the United States Air Force under a contract for the Range Standardization and Automation IIA program concerning software and hardware used to support space launch operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base and Cape Kennedy. Hooper filed his suit in the Maryland district court, which transferred the suit to the central district of California on forum non conveniens grounds. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Lockheed on all grounds. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (1) affirmed the district court's evidentiary rulings and conclusion that Hooper failed to establish his claims of fraudulent use of the software and defective testing procedures because there was no genuine issue of material fact as to whether Lockheed "knowingly" submitted a false claim; and (2) reversed the district court's dismissal of (i) Hooper's wrongful discharge claim as barred by California's two-year statute of limitations, holding that Maryland's three-year statute of limitations applied here, and (ii) Hooper's claim that Lockheed violated the FCA by knowingly underbidding the contract. View "Hooper v. Lockheed Martin Corp." on Justia Law

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In this appeal, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals addressed whether the renewal of forty-one water supply contracts by the United States Bureau of Reclamation violated section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and illegally threatened the existence of the delta smelt. The contracts at issue fell into two groups: (1) users who obtained water from the Delta-Mendota Canal (DMC contracts), and (2) parties who claimed to hold water rights senior to those held by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation with regard to a Central Valley Project and who previously entered into settlement contracts with the Bureau (settlement contractors). The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants, finding that Plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the DMC contracts and that Plaintiffs' claims against the settlement contractors failed because the contracts were not discretionary and were thus exempted from section 7(a)(2) compliance. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the district court properly granted summary judgment for Defendants, finding that Plaintiffs lacked standing with regard to the contracts and that section 7(a)(2) of the ESA did not apply to the settlement contracts. View "Natural Res. Defense Council v. Salazar" on Justia Law

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Four mobile home park owners appealed the dismissal of their suit under the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. 3604, 3617, challenging a city zoning ordinance prohibiting any mobilehome park currently operating as senior housing from converting to all-age housing. The court held that because the FHAA was silent on whether such senior housing zones were permissible and because federal regulations allow for them, the judgment of the district court was affirmed. View "Putnam Family P'ship, et al. v. City of Yucaipa" on Justia Law

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This case stemmed from a dispute that arose after a 20 year lease program ended in which Polar Star owned 300 units of family housing located on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Polar Star leased the units back to the Air Force but the parties could not agree on the purchase price or the amount of rent payable for an additional year on the lease. The United States first sent notice of a one-year renewal of the lease, then filed a protective eminent domain action to condemn a five-month leasehold in the houses. Polar Star subsequently appealed a number of the district court's rulings. The court held that the district court correctly decided that the government's notice of renewal successfully renewed the Project Lease for one year; the district court's finding that the expiration date of the Ground Lease was the error, and therefore the lease ran for 23 years, was not clearly erroneous; the district court correctly determined that it lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate the amount of rent due from the Government to Polar Star on the renewal; Polar Star did not file an action in district court, so the only matter before the court was the Government's condemnation action; the district court correctly determined that the condemnation action should be dismissed; Polar Star's entitlement to rent beyond what the Government paid was not asserted on a claim or counterclaim in the district court; and plaintiffs may be entitled to pursue a claim in the Court of Federal Claims. Accordingly, the district court's judgment of dismissal was affirmed. View "United States v. Polar Star Alaska Housing Corp, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff foster children appeal the dismissal of their class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, in which they alleged that the caseloads of the Sacramento County Dependency Court and court-appointed attorneys were so excessive as to violate federal and state constitutional and statutory provisions. The district court abstained from adjudicating plaintiff's claims. The court held that the district court properly abstained from consideration of the claims plaintiff raised here based on O'Shea v. Littleton. Accordingly, the court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint. View "E.T., et al. v. Cantil-Sakauye, et al." on Justia Law

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This case arose from the tragic February 2007 crash of an Army Special Operations Aviation Regiment helicopter in Afghanistan. Plaintiffs, who include those injured and the heirs of those killed in the crash, appealed from the district court's dismissal of AT Engine Controls (ATEC) for lack of personal jurisdiction and from the court's summary judgment in favor of The Boeing Company (Boeing), Honeywell International, Inc. (Honeywell), and Goodrich Pump and Engine Control (Goodrich) (collectively, contractors). The court considered each of plaintiffs' arguments challenging the district court's dismissal of ATEC for lack of personal jurisdiction and its summary judgment in favor of the contractors, finding none of these arguments persuasive. The court also held that because the government contractor defense barred each of plaintiffs' state-law claims, the court need not consider the contractors' alternative argument, based on the combatant activities exception, for upholding the district court's summary judgment. Accordingly, the judgment of the district court was affirmed. View "Getz, et al. v. The Boeing Company, et al." on Justia Law