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

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The Tribes filed suit in Tribal Court against plaintiff and his builders alleging that they violated the Tribes' land use policies by building a residence on Tribal land. Plaintiff filed suit in federal court against the Tribes seeking a declaration that the tribal court lacked jurisdiction and an injunction barring further tribal court proceedings against him. The Tribes moved to dismiss, arguing that plaintiff was required to exhaust tribal remedies before bringing suit in federal court. The district court granted the Tribes' motion to dismiss and denied plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction. Because plaintiff was an owner of non-Indian fee land, the Tribes' efforts to regulate him were "presumptively invalid." The Tribes failed to show that at least one of two limited exceptions described in Montana v. United States applied. Because the Tribes plainly lacked the authority to regulate plaintiff's construction of a single-family house on on-Indian fee land, the district court erred in concluding that exhaustion was required. Therefore, the court reversed the judgment of the district court and remanded for further proceedings. View "Evans v. Shoshone-Bannock LUPC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, the owner of a home warranty plan from First American, filed a class action complaint alleging that First American refused to make timely repairs, used substandard contractors, and wrongfully denied claims. The district court dismissed some of plaintiff's claims under Rule 12(b)(6); First American made an offer of judgment on plaintiff's remaining claims; and, when plaintiff did not accept the offer, the district court dismissed the remaining claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's remaining claims. The court vacated the dismissal of the remaining individual claims, holding that an unaccepted Rule 68 offer that would fully satisfy plaintiff's claim was insufficient to render the claim moot. Therefore, plaintiff's remaining claims were not made moot by her refusal to accept First American's Rule 68 offer, even assuming that the offer would have fully satisfied her claims. View "Diaz v. First American" on Justia Law

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Stake Center petitioned for a writ of mandamus reversing the district court's denial of its motion for forfeiture under The Crime Victims' Rights Act (CVRA), 18 U.S.C. 3771. Stake Center moved the district court to compel the government to institute criminal forfeiture proceedings against Stake Center's former employee, who was charged with crimes stemming from her embezzlement of funds from Stake Center and others, and to obtain property traceable to the employee's crimes. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion or commit legal error in denying Stake Center's motion for forfeiture where the CVRA and Mandatory Victim Restitution Act (MVRA), 18 U.S.C. 3663A(a)(1), gave victims a right to restitution, not a right to criminal forfeiture. The court also concluded that the district court did not err in declining to order the U.S. Attorneys' Office to commence criminal forfeiture proceedings against the IRS and other non-parties alleged to possess assets implicated in the employee's criminal activities. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for writ of mandamus. View "In re: Stake Center Locating, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under the Quiet Title Act (QTA), 28 U.S.C. 2409a; Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 500 et seq.; and Declaratory Judgment Act (DJA), 28 U.S.C. 2201-02, seeking to quiet fee-simple title to the Oro Grande mining claim and its improvements. The court held that the district court did not err in dismissing plaintiff's claims under Rule 12(b)(6); with regard to plaintiff's first QTA claim, the court concluded that the Solicitor's Opinion was entitled to at least Skidmore deference, and, thus, plaintiff did not have a "valid existing right" to a fee-simple patent on its Oro Grande mining claim; with regard to plaintiff's second QTA claim, plaintiff did not plead with particularity the circumstances under which its title to the structures was acquired; and since the QTA was the exclusive means for challenging the United States' title to real property, the court concluded that the district court also properly dismissed plaintiff's APA and DJA claims. View "McMaster v. United States" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, purchasers of condominiums in the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, filed a putative class action suit under the Securities Exchange Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. 78a et seq., and California state law, against the Hotel's developer and others. At issue on appeal was whether plaintiffs have alleged the sale of a security based on their purchase of the condominiums. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court, holding that plaintiffs have not adequately alleged facts showing that they were offered the real-estate and rental-management contracts as a package. Plaintiffs did not allege facts showing that they were induced to buy the condominiums by the rental-management agreement. Accordingly, plaintiffs have not alleged the sale of a security and plaintiffs' claims were properly dismissed. View "Salameh v. Tarsadia Hotel" on Justia Law

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This case concerned the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), a government program created to help distressed homeowners with delinquent mortgages. At issue was whether Wells Fargo was contractually required to offer plaintiffs a permanent mortgage modification after they complied with the requirements of a trial period plan (TPP). Following the Seventh Circuit, the court held that Wells Fargo was required to offer the modification. The district court should not have dismissed plaintiffs' complaints when the record showed that Wells Fargo had accepted and retained the payments demanded by the TPP, but neither offered a permanent modification, nor notified plaintiffs they were not entitled to one, as required by the terms of the TPP. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Corvello v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A." on Justia Law

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The Tribe and CTGW brought suit against the County for imposing property taxes on the Great Wolf Lodge located on the Grand Mound Property, which was tribal land held in trust by the government. At issue was whether state and local governments have the power to tax permanent improvements built on non-reservation land owned by the United States and held in trust for an Indian tribe. The court concluded that Mescalero Apache Tribe v. Jones made it clear that where the United States owns land covered by 21 U.S.C. 465, and holds it in trust for the use of a tribe, section 465 exempts permanent improvements on that land from state and local taxation. Accordingly, under Mescalero, the County was barred from taxing the Great Wolf Lodge during the time in which the Grand Mound Property was owned by the United States and held in trust under section 465. Therefore, the district court erred in granting summary judgment to the County. View "Chehalis Tribes v. Thurston Cnty." on Justia Law

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These five appeals concerned seepage over several decades of a toxic dry cleaning chemical into the ground under a Las Vegas shopping center. The court concluded that the application of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq., to soil and groundwater contamination in Nevada did not offend the Commerce Clause; Maryland Square had not shown that it qualified for an exception to CERCLA liability, and it was clearly responsible for reimbursement under Nevada state law; NDEP was entitled to summary judgment against the operator, SBIC, on the CERCLA and state law claims; the district court did not decide the issue raised by Maryland Square's motion for reconsideration, so remand was required to determine whether Maryland Square had Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq., liability for exposing the contamination to the elements; SBIC was liable to the previous owners under the indemnification provisions of the 1968 and 1982 leases; and the district court erred in holding Melvin Shapiro liable on his personal guaranty because the guaranty operated only prospectively and there was no evidence of spills occurring after he signed the guaranty. View "Voggenthaler v. Maryland Square" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sought injunctive relief and damages against the Bank after it filed an unlawful detainer action against her in state court without giving 90 days notice to vacate the foreclosed property. At issue on appeal was whether the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 (PTFA), Pub. L. No. 111-22, 701-04, 123 Stat. 1632, 1660-62, provided a private right of action. The court concluded that dismissal of the state unlawful detainer proceedings did not moot plaintiff's claim; the court agreed with the Third Circuit that the regulation of eviction proceedings "does not implicate an important state interest" under Younger v. Harris; but plaintiff had no cognizable interest under the PTFA. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint. View "Logan v. U.S. Bank" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs appealed the district court's dismissal of their first amended complaint and the district court's denial of leave to further amend their complaint. Plaintiffs claimed that defendants improperly initiated non-judicial foreclosure proceedings after plaintiffs failed to comply with the mortgage obligations financing their residence. Because the provisions of the deed of trust foreclosed the pleading of a plausible "show me the note" claim by plaintiffs, the district court appropriately dismissed this claim; the district court properly dismissed plaintiffs' claims premised on the unauthorized appointment of a successor trustee and/or the lack of proof of ownership of the note where these claims lacked legal and factual plausibility; because Arizona law countenances the trustee sale as conducted, plaintiffs failed to allege any plausible claims premised on the PEB Report or the UCC; plaintiffs' constitutional challenges of A.R.S. 33-811(b) were rejected by the court; plaintiffs' fraud and misrepresentation claims were barred by A.R.S. 12-543(3); and denial of leave to amend was within the district court's discretion. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Zadrozny, et al. v. Bank of New York Mellon, et al." on Justia Law