Justia Family Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Planned Parenthood Arizona v. Humble
Plaintiffs filed suit seeking to enjoin enforcement of Ariz. Rev. Stat. 36-449.03(E)(6), and its implementing regulation, which restricts the manner in which certain medications may be used to perform abortions. On appeal, plaintiffs challenged the district court's denial of their motion for preliminary injunction. Plaintiffs argued that, under a proper reading of its text, the Arizona law prohibits all medication abortions. The State argued that the law allows medication abortions, but only if they are performed in accordance with the on-label regimen. The court assumed without deciding that the Arizona law passes rational basis review and moved directly to the application of the undue burden test in light of Planned Parenthood of Se. Penn. v. Casey and Gonzales v. Carhart. The court concluded that plaintiffs have introduced uncontroverted evidence that the Arizona law substantially burdens women's access to abortion services, and Arizona has introduced no evidence that the law advances in any way its interest in women's health. Therefore, the court held that the district court abused its discretion when it held that plaintiffs were unlikely to succeed on the merits of their undue burden claim. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded with instructions to issue the requested preliminary injunction. View "Planned Parenthood Arizona v. Humble" on Justia Law
Escriba v. Foster Poultry Farms
Plaintiff filed suit against Foster Farms under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601, and California law. The parties disputed whether plaintiff sought FMLA leave in order to care for her ailing father in another country. The court concluded that an employee can affirmatively decline to use FMLA leave, even if the underlying reasons for seeking the leave would have invoked FMLA protection. The court concluded that the district court did not err in denying plaintiff's motion for judgment as a matter of law where, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict, there was substantial evidence that plaintiff elected not to take FMLA leave. The jury had ample evidence to render a verdict against plaintiff due to her noncompliance with Foster Farms's "three day no-show, no-call rule." Because the district court issued a limiting instruction regarding plaintiff's prior FMLA leave, any error in admitting the evidence was harmless. Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to award costs of suit to Foster Poultry. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Escriba v. Foster Poultry Farms" on Justia Law
Valenzuela v. Michel
Petitioner, the mother of twin girls, filed an application under the Hague Convention on International Aspects of Child Abduction, 19 I.L.M. 1501, after the girls' father, a resident of the United States, did not return them to Mexico. The district court held that the parties abandoned Mexico as the children's habitual state of residence when their parents decided they should, for an indefinite period, spend the majority of their time in the United States. The court concluded that the district court judge did not err in deciding that the parents shared a settled intention to abandon Mexico- they had immediate plans to avail the twins of government assistance in the United States as well as longer-term plans to educate the girls in the United States. The father could prevail by showing that he and the girls' mother shared a settled intention to abandon Mexico as the twins' sole habitual residence, that there was an actual change in geography, and that an appreciable period of time had passed. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Valenzuela v. Michel" on Justia Law
In the Matter of: Marshall
This case stemmed from disputes over the estate of the late Texas oil magnate and billionaire J. Howard Marshall. J. Howard died in 1995, leaving nearly all his assets to his son, Pierce, but excluding his wife, Anna Nicole Smith (Vickie), and his other son, Howard, from receiving any part of his fortune. Howard and his Wife eventually filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and their case was assigned to Judge Bufford, who had previously presided over Vickie's Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. Judge Bufford published three separate opinions: (1) denying Pierce's motion for reassignment or recusal; (2) confirming the Plan and denying Pierce's motion to dismiss with respect to his constitutional arguments; and (3) confirming the Plan and denying Pierce's motion to dismiss with respect to his statutory arguments. Elaine, Pierce's widow, now appeals the district court's decision, contending that the district court erred in affirming the bankruptcy court's orders. The court addressed the various issues on appeal related to the motion for recusal or reassignment, constitutional issues, and non-constitutional issues, and ultimately affirmed the district court's decision. View "In the Matter of: Marshall" on Justia Law
Isaacson v. Horne
Arizona House Bill 2036 (H.B. 2036), enacted in April 2012, forbids, except in a medical emergency, abortion of a fetus determined to be of a gestational age of at least twenty weeks. Arizona law separately prohibited abortions after fetal viability unless necessary to preserve the pregnant woman's life or health. The challenged provision at issue, Section 7 of H.B. 2036, extended the abortion ban earlier in pregnancy, to the period between twenty weeks gestation and fetal viability. Under controlling Supreme Court precedent, the court concluded that Arizona could not deprive a woman of the choice to terminate her pregnancy at any point prior to viability. Section 7 effects such a deprivation, by prohibiting abortion from twenty weeks gestational age through fetal viability. The twenty-week law was therefore unconstitutional under an unbroken stream of Supreme Court authority, beginning with Roe v. Wade and ending with Gonzales v. Carhart. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's denial of declaratory and injunctive relief. View "Isaacson v. Horne" on Justia Law
Friend v. Holder
Plaintiff filed an action under 8 U.S.C. 1503(a) seeking a declaratory judgment that he is a citizen of the United States. Plaintiff was born in the Philippine Islands and his father was a U.S. citizen who had lived his entire life in the Philippines. Plaintiff argued that, as a child born out of wedlock, he was covered by a special provision of the Nationality Act of 1940, Pub. L. No. 76-853, section 201(e), that made section 201(e) applicable retroactively to children born out of wedlock before the Act's effective date. The court concluded that the 1940 Act was not the law in effect at the time of plaintiff's birth in 1931, so he must establish that the Act applied retroactively to individuals before its effective date. The court did not think that the provisions of the Act on which defendant relied reflected a legislative intention that they should apply retroactively. Further, plaintiff conceded that he could not meet the condition precedent to acquiring citizenship, that his paternity have been established by legitimation or adjudication during minority. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's summary judgment dismissal of his action. View "Friend v. Holder" on Justia Law
Amponsah v. Holder, Jr.
Petitioner sought review of the BIA's decision upholding the IJ's pretermission of her adjustment of status application. The BIA pretermitted petitioner's application on the ground that she did not satisfy the definition of "child" under 8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(1)(E) because she was not adopted before her 16th birthday. The court held that the BIA's blanket rule against recognizing state courts' nunc pro tunc adoption decrees constituted an impermissible construction of section 1101(b)(1)(E) under Chevron because it gave little or no weight to the federal policy of keeping families together, failed to afford deference to valid state court judgments in an area of the law that was primarily a matter of state concern, and addressed the possibility of immigration fraud through a sweeping, blanket rule rather than considering the validity of nunc pro tunc adoption decrees on a case-by-case basis. The court also held that the BIA's determination that petitioner engaged in marriage fraud violated her rights to due process of law. Accordingly, the court granted the petition for review. View "Amponsah v. Holder, Jr." on Justia Law
Wilson v. CIR
Petitioner sought innocent spouse relief, claiming that she did not understand the nature of her husband's business and claiming ignorance of his fraudulent actions regarding his tax liabilities. At issue was how the Tax Court should review appeals for equitable innocent spouse relief from joint and several liability for unpaid taxes under 26 U.S.C. 6015(f). The court joined the Eleventh Circuit and held that the Tax Court properly considered new evidence outside the administrative record. The court also concluded that the Tax Court correctly applied a de novo standard of review in determining the taxpayer's eligibility for equitable relief. Accordingly, the court affirmed the Tax Court's judgment. View "Wilson v. CIR" on Justia Law
Mueller, et al v. City of Boise, et al
In this appeal involving parental rights, the court previously published an opinion on a related issue in Mueller v. Auker and that opinion has the facts giving rise to this case. Here, the court held that Detective Rogers, along with Officers Snyder and Green, were entitled to qualified immunity from this lawsuit; the officers were entitled to qualified immunity with regard to the Fourth Amendment claim; the district court did not err or abuse its discretion in admitting the proffered testimony of Dr. Peter Rosen pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 702 or in denying the Muellers' motion on this issue for a new trial; and the district court did not err in dismissing the Muellers' 42 U.S.C. 1983 claims against St. Luke's without leave to amend, because it was clear that amendment would be futile. The court addressed the remaining challenges and subsequently affirmed the judgment. View "Mueller, et al v. City of Boise, et al" on Justia Law
Henry A., et al. v. Willden, et al.
Plaintiffs, a group of foster children, appealed the dismissal of their complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Plaintiffs brought this action under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging violations of their substantive and due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment and violations of their statutory rights under the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act (CWA), 42 U.S.C. 670 et seq.; the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), 42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.; and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1431 et seq. The complaint alleged that the county's foster care system was plagued by systemic failures that resulted in violations of the rights guaranteed to foster children by federal statutes and the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court reversed the dismissal of Counts One, Two, Three, Eight, and Eleven; affirmed the dismissal of Counts Nine and Ten; and remanded for further proceedings. On remand, the district court should allow plaintiffs leave to amend their substantive due process claims, and plaintiffs could seek further leave to amend if they wished to add a claim under the IDEA's express cause of action.