Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

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The Republic of the Marshall Islands filed suit seeking a declaration that the United States breached its obligations pursuant to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and ordering the United States to engage in good-faith negotiations. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the suit, holding that the claims were nonjusticiable. Article VI of the Treaty was not directly enforceable in federal court, the Marshall Islands' asserted injuries were not redressable, and the claims raised nonjusticiable political questions. The panel noted that, at bottom, the suit was doomed because diplomatic negotiations among parties to the Treaty fell quintessentially within the realm of the executive, not the judiciary. View "Republic of the Marshall Islands v. United States" on Justia Law

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The zone of special danger doctrine can apply to local nationals working in their home countries under employment contracts covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, as extended by the Defense Base Act (DBA). The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of a decision of the United States Department of Labor's Benefits Review Board (BRB) awarding disability benefits, pursuant to the DBA, to Edwin Jentil. Jentil was employed by a U.S. government contractor when he was injured. The panel held that the ALJ and BRB did not commit legal error by applying the zone of special danger doctrine to Jetnil. In this case, substantial evidence supported the ALJ and BRB's decision that Jetnil was entitled to disability benefits because his injury arose out of the zone of special danger associated with his employment. View "Chugach Management Services v. Jetnil" on Justia Law

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The incorporation of the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) into an arbitration agreement constitutes clear and unmistakable evidence of a delegation of gateway issues to the arbitrator. The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's judgment entering a preliminary injunction prohibiting sureties from pursuing claims against PGE in arbitration and denying a mandatory stay of the judicial proceedings under section 3 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 3. The panel held that the district court erred in enjoining the sureties from participating in the ICC arbitration and denying at least a temporary stay of the litigation under the FAA, preventing the arbitral tribunal from addressing the scope of the arbitration. View "Portland General Electric Co. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Ayco Farm's complaint for breach of an exclusivity agreement under the doctrine of forum non conveniens. The panel held that in performing a forum non conveniens analysis, a district court does not abuse its discretion by comparing the proposed foreign forum with the forum that the plaintiff actually chose, rather than with the United States as a whole. In this case, the district court did not err in affording less deference to Ayco Farm's choice to file a lawsuit in California. Furthermore, the district court properly balanced the private and public interest factors and decided that they strongly favor trial in Mexico. View "Ayco Farms, Inc. v. Rodriguez Ochoa" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the grant of summary judgment, on remand, in favor of TBC in an action under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act concerning a Camille Pissarro painting. The painting was forcibly taken from plaintiffs' great-grandmother by the Nazi government. The panel held that plaintiffs' claims were timely within the statute of limitations recently enacted by Congress to govern claims involving art expropriated during the Holocaust in the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act of 2016 (HEAR). The panel applied the Second Restatement of the Conflict of Laws to determine which state's substantive law applies in deciding the merits of this case, and held that the Second Restatement directed the panel to apply Spain's substantive law. The district court erred in deciding that, as matter of law, TBC had acquired title to the painting through Article 1955 of the Spanish Civil Code because there was a triable issue of fact whether TBC was an encubridor (an "accessory") within the meaning of Civil Code Article 1956. Finally, TBC was not entitled to summary judgment based on its laches defense; the great-grandmother's acceptance of the 1958 Settlement Agreement did not foreclose plaintiffs' claims; Spain's Historical Heritage Law does not prevent TBC from acquiring prescriptive title to the painting; and the district court correctly found that the application of Article 1955 to vest TBC with title to the painting would not violate the European Convention on Human Rights. View "Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation" on Justia Law

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The Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage's (CSC) text, structure, and ratification history dictate that Article XIII’s jurisdiction-stripping provision applies only to claims arising out of nuclear incidents occurring after the CSC’s entry into force. Plaintiffs, members of the United States Navy, filed a putative class action against TEPCO, alleging that they were exposed to radiation when deployed near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP) as part of Operation Tomodachi. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial of TEPCO's motion to dismiss and held that the CSC did not strip it of jurisdiction over plaintiffs' claims; the district court did not err by dismissing plaintiffs' claims on comity grounds and did not abuse its discretion in deciding to maintain jurisdiction; the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to dismiss this case on forum non conveniens grounds; the panel was unable to undertake the "discriminating inquiry" necessary to determine if this case presented a political question; and the panel provided no opinion as to whether the firefighter's rule applies to military servicemembers and, if so, whether it barred plaintiffs' claims. View "Cooper v. Tokyo Electric Power Co." on Justia Law