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

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CTTA filed this action seeking to invalidate two ordinances where the City and County of San Francisco required tow truck drivers to obtain permits to operate in San Francisco and towing firms to obtain permits to conduct business within San Francisco. CTTA primarily argued that the entire "permit scheme" (as it called both ordinances) was preempted by federal law. The district court upheld the permit scheme for "non-consensual" towing, but enjoined enforcement against those doing exclusively "consensual" towing and against tow truck drivers simply "passing through" San Francisco. Both parties cross-appealed. The CTTA's challenge to the entire permit scheme necessarily encompassed all of the permit scheme's components - each of which could be preempted. The district court analyzed the permit scheme in a way the parties presented the scheme, as a whole, but without specifically addressing its individual provisions. In doing so, however, the district court ran afoul of American Trucking Associations v. City of Los Angeles, which required "examining the specific provisions" of the permit scheme. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "California Tow Truck Assoc. v. City and County of San Francisco" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs were United States citizens or legal permanent residents who had good reason to believe they were on the Terrorist Screening Center's (TSC) no-fly list (List). They initially submitted grievances through the redress program run by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), but the government refused to confirm or deny their inclusion on the List. Rather than continuing to pursue their administrative grievances with the TSA, Plaintiffs filed this action against the directors of the TSC and FBI and the attorney general, challenging the TSA's grievance procedures. The district court dismissed the case, holding that TSA was a necessary party to the litigation but that TSA could not feasibly be joined in the district court due to 49 U.S.C. 46110, which grants federal courts of appeals exclusive jurisdiction to review TSA's final orders. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) section 46110 does not strip the district court of federal question jurisdiction over substantive challenges to the inclusion of one's name on the List; and (2) the district court's determination that TSA was a necessary party was not an abuse of discretion, but the court erred in holding that joinder of TSA was infeasible in light of section 46110. View "Latif v. Holder" on Justia Law

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This case arose when the Port of Los Angeles prohibited motor carriers from operating drayage trucks on port property unless the motor carriers entered into concession agreements with the port. The concession agreements set forth fourteen specific requirements covering, among other things, truck driver employment, truck maintenance, parking, and port security. The agreements were adopted as part of the port's "Clean Truck Program," adopted in response to community opposition that had successfully stymied port growth. Plaintiff challenged the concession agreements, arguing that they were preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAA Act), 49 U.S.C. 14501 et seq. The court held that the district court meticulously identified and applied the governing law. The court affirmed the district court's holding that the financial capability, maintenance, off-street parking, and placard provisions were not preempted. The court reversed the district court's conclusion that the employee-driver provision was saved from preemption by the market participant doctrine, and remanded for further proceedings. View "American Trucking Ass'n v. The City of Los Angeles, et al." on Justia Law

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Petitioners challenged an order of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) concerning the proposed construction by the Port of Portland of a new runway at Hillsboro Airport (HIO). On appeal, petitioners argued that the decision not to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was unreasonable for several reasons, chief among them the FAA's failure to consider the environmental impacts of any increased demand for HIO resulting from the addition of a runway. Petitioners also argued that the FAA did not afford them a public hearing within the meaning of 49 U.S.C. 47106. As a preliminary matter, the court addressed the Port's and the FAA's arguments that petitioners waived their claims because they failed to raise them during the public comment period. The court held, after finding that certain precedents did not apply here, that remand was necessary for the FAA to consider the environmental impact of increased demand resulting from the HIO expansion project, if any, pursuant to the National Environmental Protection Act of 1969 (NEPA), 40 C.F.R. 1508.8(b). The court also held that an EIS was not warranted based on petitioners' contention that the context and intensity of the project independently required an EIS. The court further held that petitioners' arguments regarding whether the FAA afforded them a public hearing was unpersuasive where the hearing afforded petitioners was a "public hearing" within the meaning of section 47106 and FAA Order 5050.4B. Accordingly, the court granted the petition for review and remanded with instructions to the FAA to consider the environmental impact of increased demand resulting from the HIO expansion project pursuant to section 1508.8(b). View "Barnes, et al. v. US Dept. of Transportation, et al." on Justia Law

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These appeals involved two essentially identical actions filed in two different states by different groups of plaintiffs, each seeking to represent a class. The actions sought damages on the ground that plaintiffs' personal information was obtained by defendants in violation of the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), 18 U.S.C. 2721-2725. Joining other courts which have dealt with similar claims, the court held that defendants' actions were not unlawful under the DPPA and affirmed the dismissal of the actions by the district courts. View "Howard, et al. v. Oregonian Publishing Co., et al.; Rodriquez et al. v. AMPCO Parking Sys., et al." on Justia Law

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Federal Insurance Company (FIC) sued for damage to property destroyed during the inland leg of international intermodal carriage where FIC was the subrogee of the shipper which contracted with an ocean carrier, APL Co. Ptc. Ltd. (APL), to ship goods from Singapore to Alabama. The district court ruled that a covenant not to sue in the through bill of lading required FIC to sue the carrier, APL, rather than the subcontractor. At issue was what legal regime applied to the shipment's inland leg under the through bill of lading and whether the applicable legal regime prohibited the covenant not to sue. The court held that the district court did not err by enforcing the covenant not to sue and granting summary judgment to the subcontractor where the requirements that FIC sue APL directly was valid under the Hague Rules and the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA), 46 U.S.C. 30701. View "Fed. Ins. Co. v. Union Pacific Railroad Co." on Justia Law

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Appellants formerly maintained railroad tracks on a parcel of land in Stockton, California, that was contaminated by petroleum. The petroleum was spilled at a nearby industrial site and migrated onto the property via an underground french drain that appellants had installed in order to remove water from the roadbed. At issue was whether appellants were liable for the contamination of the property under the law of nuisance or under California's Polanco Redevelopment Act (Act), Cal. Health & Safety Code 33459 et seq. The court held that there was no evidence that appellants actively or knowingly caused or permitted the contamination as required for nuisance liability and liability under the Act's Water Code provision, Cal. Health & Safety Code 33459(h). The court also held that appellants were not "owners" of the property under the Act's Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. 9607(a), provision when the contamination occurred. The court further held that, because the record established no genuine issue of material fact as to appellants' liability, appellants were entitled to summary judgment. Therefore, the court need not reach any of the damages issues on appeal or cross-appeal. View "Redevelopment Agency of the City of Stockton v. BNSF Railway Co., et al" on Justia Law

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Intervenor State of Alaska appealed the district court's judgment in favor of Southeast Alaska Conservatory Council and five other groups (collectively, "SEACC") in their suit against the Federal Highway Administration ("FHWA") and other defendants arising from the initiation of the Juneau Access Improvements Project ("Project") to improve surface access between Juneau and the communities of Haines and Skagway in the Lynn Canal corridor of Southeast Alaska. At issue was whether the district court properly ordered the State to consider improving existing ferry service between Juneau and the communities of Haines and Skagway before proceeding with expensive construction of a new ferry terminal and highway through a national forest. The court held that the district court properly concluded that it was arbitrary for the FHWA to refuse to consider reassigning vessels as a project alternative on the basis that it would increase costs and reduce services elswhere when the chosen project alternative could have been rejected for the same reason. By failing to examine a viable and reasonable alternative to the proposed project, and by not providing an adequate justification for its omission, the Environmental Impact Statement issued by the FHWA violated the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA"), 40 C.F.R. 1502.14(a).