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

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Plaintiffs filed suit against Chase and WaMu, alleging claims arising out of allegedly fraudulent acts by WaMu concerning the refinancing of their mortgage. WaMu was later placed into receivership of the FDIC and the FDIC transferred plaintiffs' mortgage to Chase. The court concluded that plaintiffs' claims in their complaint are "claims" for purposes of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), 12 U.S.C. 1821(d)(3)(D), and related to WaMu's acts or omissions for purposes of section 1821(d)(13)(D). Because plaintiffs have not exhausted their administrative remedies under section 1821(d), the plain language of section 1821(d)(13)(D)(ii) stripped the district court of jurisdiction to consider plaintiffs' complaint. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' claims. View "Rundgren v. Washington Mutual" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against Countrywide and others involved in their residential mortgage, alleging violations of numerous federal statutes. The district court dismissed the claims with prejudice and plaintiffs appealed. The court held that plaintiffs can state a claim for rescission under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq., without pleading that they have tendered, or that they have the ability to tender, the value of their loan; only at the summary judgment stage may a court order the statutory sequence altered and require tender before rescission - and then only on a case-by-case basis; and, therefore, the court reversed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' rescission claim and remanded for further proceedings. The court held that, although the limitations period in the Real Estate Settlement Practices Act (RESPA), 12 U.S.C. 2614, ordinarily runs from the date of the alleged RESPA violation, the doctrine of equitable tolling may, in the appropriate circumstances, suspend the limitations period until the borrower discovers or had reasonable opportunity to discover the violation; just as for TILA claims, district courts may evaluate RESPA claims case-by-case; and, therefore, in this case, the court vacated the dismissal of plaintiffs' Section 8 of RESPA claims on limitations grounds and remanded for reconsideration. View "Merritt v. Countrywide Financial Corp." on Justia Law

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The Diaz Defendants challenged the bankruptcy court's and district court's orders invalidating the transfer to them of a Mexican coastal villa owned by debtors and requiring them to convey the property to Kismet for the benefit of debtors' bankruptcy estate. The court concluded that, notwithstanding the local action doctrine, 28 U.S.C. 1334(e) granted the bankruptcy court exclusive in rem jurisdiction over the Villa interest; given the court's ruling that H&G was debtors' alter ego and its substantive consolidation of H&G with the bankruptcy estate, the Villa interest was property of the estate as of the petition date; the bankruptcy court properly declined to honor the forum selection clauses in the Mexican contracts and declined to abstain from ordering recovery of the property based on international comity; Mexico was not a necessary party and the bankruptcy court could enter judgment without Mexico; the bankruptcy court properly applied U.S. law rather than Mexican law; and the bankruptcy properly found that Martha Barba de la Torre purchased the property in bad faith. Accordingly, the court affirmed the bankruptcy court's judgment with respect to the postpetition transfer action; the fraudulent conveyance action is moot as a result; and the district court granted Kismet's and the Diaz Defendants' requests for judicial notice. View "In re: Icenhower" on Justia Law

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This appeal arose from contempt sanctions issued by the bankruptcy court against the Diazes for failing to transfer a Mexican coastal villa to Kismet. The court concluded that: (1) the bankruptcy court had jurisdiction to substitute Axolotl as transferee; (2) the bankruptcy court did not violate due process in imposing certain sanctions; (3) the ACJ was sufficiently specific to support a finding of contempt; (4) even if "legal impossibility" excused noncompliance, the Diazes have not demonstrated that compliance with the ACJ was legally impossible; (5) the bankruptcy court's findings of contempt for the period up to November 25 were not clearly erroneous; (6) the Diazes' claim that the bankruptcy court lacked jurisdiction to quantify fees and costs in its order of December 18, 2008 was moot where the order was vacated by the district court; and (7) the bankruptcy court properly abrogated attorney-client privilege where Mr. Diaz implicitly waived privilege with regard to communications on certain subjects. The court also concluded that the district court did not err in vacating the compulsory sanctions of $25,000 per day for the period from November 26, 2008 to December 4, 2008. Finally, the court granted requests for judicial notice. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "In re: Icenhower" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs appealed the district court's dismissal of their claims related to the formation and operation of the MERS System, an electronic mortgage registration system. The court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction appellants' appeal of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) Order because they have not sought a writ of mandamus; the court held that appellants have waived their argument regarding the MDL Court's remand orders; nothing in the record suggested that the MDL Court considered extraneous materials in ruling on defendants' motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6); therefore, the MDL Court did not convert defendants' motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment; the court reversed the MDL Court's dismissal of Count I, alleged violations of Arizona's false documents statute; affirmed the MDL Court's dismissal of Count II, wrongful foreclosure; affirmed the MDL Court's dismissal of Count III, Nevada Revised Statutes 107.080; affirmed the MDL Court's dismissal of Count V, aiding and abetting wrongful foreclosure under Arizona, California, and Nevada law; affirmed the MDL Court's dismissal of Count VI, aiding and abetting predatory lending under Arizona, California, and Nevada law; and concluded that the MDL Court acted within its discretion in denying leave to amend. View "In re: MERS" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the dismissal of her action claiming that she was the rightful owner to two works of art my Lucas Cranach, "Adam" and "Eve." Plaintiff claimed that she is the rightful owner of the works, which the Nazis forcibly purchased from her deceased husband's family during World War II. The court reversed and concluded that plaintiff's claims for replevin and conversion, as well as the remedies she seeks, do not conflict with federal policy because the Cranachs were never subject to postwar internal restitution proceedings in the Netherlands. Allowing plaintiff's claim to go forward would not disturb the finality of any internal restitution proceedings - appropriate or not - in the Netherlands. Nor is this dispute of the sort found to involve the international problems evident in American Insurance Association v. Garamendi. The court was mindful that the litigation of this case may implicate the act of state doctrine, though the court could not decide that issue definitively on the record. The court remanded for further development of this issue. View "Von Saher v. Norton Simon Museum" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against defendants under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1962. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants conspired to pay inflated rent payments so that the properties sold to plaintiffs would appear far more valuable to third parties. The court held that the complaint did not meet the pleading standards by Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, Ashcroft v. Iqbal, and In re Century Aluminum Co. Securities Litigation. The court concluded that the complaint's factual allegations did not support a plausible inference that defendants had the required specific intent to defraud, nor do they tend to exclude the alternative explanation that the transactions at issue were merely a group of business deals gone bad during a deep recession. The court affirmed the dismissal of plaintiffs' RICO allegations and the dismissal of plaintiffs' allegations of RICO conspiracy. View "Eclectic Props. East v. The Marcus & Millichap Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit alleging that he was entitled to use the Fortymile Trail for access to his state mining claims. Plaintiff sought a declaration that he was entitled to a right-of-way to access his state mining claims on the Fortymile Trail both under a federal statute commonly referred to as R.S. 2477 and because he has an easement by implication or necessity, and that the real property interests claimed by the non-federal defendants were subject to this right-of-way. The district court dismissed plaintiff's claims against all defendants and plaintiff appealed. The court concluded that plaintiff's claims against the federal government were barred by sovereign immunity, but that the district court erred in concluding that his claims against Doyon Limited and Hungwitchin Corporation were barred by principles of prudential standing. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part and reversed in part. View "Mills v. United States" on Justia Law

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This litigation arose from the City's recent efforts to complete its power system expansion plan first conceived in 1972 and re-affirmed in 2007. The City owns and operates Idaho Falls Power. Alliance sought declaratory and injunctive relief, arguing that the City lacked the power to condemn property outside its boundaries for the purpose of building electric transmission lines. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Alliance, finding that Idaho law did not grant the City (or, by extension, IFP) the power to condemn property outside its corporate limits for the purpose of constructing the transmission lines. Because the power to exercise eminent domain extraterritorially for the purpose of constructing electric transmission lines (1) has not been expressly granted to the City by the state, (2) cannot be fairly implied from the powers that the City has been given by the state, and (3) is not essential to accomplishing the City's objects and purposes, the City does not have that power. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Alliance v. City of Idaho Falls" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation seeking to recover a masterpiece French impressionist painting by Camille Pissarro that was allegedly taken from their ancestors by the Nazi regime. On appeal, plaintiffs challenged the district court's grant of the Foundation's motion to dismiss the complaint without leave to amend. Amended California Code of Civil Procedure 338(c)(3) provides for a six-year statute of limitations period for the recovery of fine art against a museum, gallery, auctioneer, or dealer. The court found that the district court erred in concluding that section 338 intruded on foreign affairs and concluded that the district court erred in striking section 338 down as unconstitutional on the basis of field preemption. The court concluded that the district court correctly held that the Foundation's due process challenge could not be resolved on the Foundation's motion to dismiss. The court further concluded that the Foundation failed to demonstrate that section 338(c)(3) burdened its rights to free speech and, therefore, section 338(c)(3) did not violate the Foundation's First Amendment rights. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection" on Justia Law