Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of an action brought by airline pilots, seeking damages under the Railway Labor Act (RLA). Plaintiffs alleged that their employer colluded with a union in the union's breach of its duty of fair representation. The panel held that, under the RLA, employees can hold their union liable for breaching its duty of fair representation during collective bargaining. The panel held, however, that the RLA does not support the imposition of liability on an employer solely for its "collusion" in the union's breach of duty. In this case, plaintiffs did not claim that their employer breached its own obligations under a collective bargaining agreement. Rather, the only identifiable breach in this case was USAPA's breach of its duty of fair representation. View "Beckington v. American Airlines, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of a final order affirming a citation that Bergelectric violated OSHA's fall protection standards in 29 C.F.R. 1926.501(b)(1). The panel held that Bergelectric was not performing roofing work and that substantial evidence supported the finding that it did not comply with the stricter safety standards governing work on unprotected sides and edges. The panel held that substantial evidence supported the ALJ's conclusion that Bergelectric employees were subject to the danger of falling prior to proper use of the personal fall arrest systems, and thus the ALJ did not err in finding Bergelectric liable for violation of section 1926.501(b)(1). View "Bergelectric Corp. v. Secretary of Labor" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit filed an order withdrawing the opinion and concurring opinion filed on February 9, 2018, and issued a new opinion and dissenting opinion. The panel affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants in an action brought by a former probationary police officer alleging claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The panel held that the individual defendants were entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiff's claim of violation of her rights to privacy and intimate association, because it was not clearly established that a probationary officer's constitutional rights to privacy and intimate association are violated if a police department terminates her due to her participation in an ongoing extramarital relationship with a married officer with whom she worked, where an internal affairs investigation found that the probationary officer engaged in inappropriate personal cell phone use in connection with the relationship while she was on duty, resulting in a written reprimand for violating department policy. Circuit precedent also did not clearly establish that there was a legally sufficient temporal nexus between the individual defendants' allegedly stigmatizing statements and plaintiff's termination. Therefore, the individual defendants were entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiff's claim that the lack of a name-clearing hearing violated her due process rights. Finally, plaintiff conceded that her sex discrimination claims were not actually based on her gender. View "Perez v. City of Roseville" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order compelling arbitration in an action brought by plaintiff, alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. 1981. The panel followed the reasoning in its en banc decision EEOC v. Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps, 345 F.3d 742 (9th Cir. 2003) (en banc), and held that Title VII does not bar compulsory arbitration agreements and section 1981 claims are arbitrable. Therefore, the district court correctly determined that plaintiff's section 1981 claims can be subjected to compulsory arbitration. View "Lambert v. Tesla, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of an appeal by Growers against members of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board who promulgated a regulation allowing union organizers access to agricultural employees at employer worksites under specific circumstances. Growers sought declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the access regulation, as applied to them, was unconstitutional. The panel held that the access regulation as applied to the Growers did not amount to a per se physical taking of their property in violation of the Fifth Amendment. In this case, the Growers did not suffer a permanent physical invasion that would constitute a per se taking. The panel also held that the Growers have not plausibly alleged that the access regulation effects a seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. View "Cedar Point Nursery v. Shiroma" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's dismissal of a complaint brought by a putative class of plaintiffs against an international business that had developed a sophisticated three-tier franchising model. The panel held that Dynamex Ops. W. Inc. v. Superior Court, 416 P.3d 1 (Cal. 2018), which adopted the ABC test for determining whether workers are independent contractors or employees under California wage order laws, applies retroactively and that none of Jan-Pro's other efforts to avoid reaching the merits were viable. Therefore, the case was remanded for the district court to consider the case on the merits in light of Dynamex. View "Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc." on Justia Law

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Hearsay does not include statements offered against a party, made by that party's employee on a matter within the scope of the employee's employment, so long as the statement was made while the employee was still employed by that party. The Ninth Circuit held that the district court erred by granting summary judgment to Frontier regarding plaintiff's failure-to-promote claim, because the district court excluded such a statement proffered by plaintiff on hearsay grounds. However, the panel held that the district court properly granted summary judgment to Frontier on plaintiff's termination claim because he failed to produce evidence raising a genuine issue of material fact regarding the claim. Accordingly, the panel affirmed in part and reversed in part. View "Weil v. Citizens Telecom Services Co." on Justia Law

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To be "final" for purposes of 33 U.S.C. 921(d), an order must at a minimum specify the amount of compensation due or provide a means of calculating the correct amount without resort to extra-record facts. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's action against Vortex, seeking enforcement of a Department of Labor order requiring payment of plaintiff's future medical expenses under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. The panel held that the district court correctly found that it lacked jurisdiction over plaintiff's section 921(d) enforcement claim. In this case, the ALJ's order stated that Vortex must pay or reimburse plaintiff, but did not list an amount to be paid or a means of calculating what Vortex owed. The panel also held that the district court correctly rejected plaintiff's Medicare Secondary Payer Act claim as premature. View "Grimm v. Vortex Marine Construction" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the Salvation Army, in an employment discrimination action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The panel held that the religious organization exemption (ROE) applied to the Salvation Army; the ROE reached claims for retaliation and hostile work environment; and the ROE barred plaintiff's claims because the ROE was nonjurisdictional and subject to procedural forfeiture, and may be first raised at summary judgment absent prejudice. Absent prejudice resulting from the failure to timely raise the defense, the panel held that the Salvation Army permissibly invoked the ROE at summary judgment and it foreclosed plaintiff's Title VII claims. The panel also held that plaintiff failed to make out a claim under the ADA because the Salvation Army was under no obligation to engage in an interactive process in the absence of a disability. In this case, after plaintiff's clearance for work, she failed to show that she was disabled. View "Garcia v. Salvation Army" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the Board's decision upholding the ALJ's decision striking, as untimely, a petition for payment of a claimant's attorneys' fees under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. The panel held that the ALJ properly used the excusable neglect standard in evaluating the circumstances for the untimely fee petition, and applied the four-factor test in Pioneer Investment Services Co. v. Brunswick Associates Ltd. Partnership, 507 U.S. 378 (1993), to find that there was no excusable neglect in this case. View "Iopa v. Saltchuk-Young Brothers, Ltd." on Justia Law