Tag Archives: 9th circuit

California Can Make Cuts To Medi-Cal Health Care Program

The Ninth Circuit held that California could make cuts to the Medi-Cal Health Care program and vacated all injunctions against California.  The opinion can be accessed here.  As the three-judge panel stated,

Medicaid, as a voluntary program, does not create property rights.

In 2011, plaintiffs (a Medi-Cal beneficiary, 5 pharmacies, a pharmacy organization, an independent living center, and a CA association of independent living centers) sued California and the U.S. Dep’t of Health and Human Services to block the cuts under the Medicaid Act.  The district court granted injunctions against California, blocking the enactment of the cuts.  The Ninth Circuit, on appeal, vacated these injunctions.

The Ninth Circuit stated that Chevron U.S.A v. Natural Resources Defense Council requires deference to Sebelius’ interpretation of California’s amendment to its Medicaid plan – called a state plan amendment.  The Ninth Circuit stated,

Considering all the evidence of Chevron-esque delegation in these cases, we hold that the balance tips to the side of deference – both to the secretary’s implicit interpretation that states are not required to follow any specific methodology in submitting SPAs [state plan amendment] and to its explicit determination that the SPAs at issue comply with federal law.

The decision notes that Medicaid “is a colossal undertaking,” with joint funding from the U.S. government and the states.

Congress explicitly granted the secretary authority to determine whether a state’s Medicaid plan complies with federal law.

The secretary understands the [Medicaid] Act and is especially cognizant of the all-important yet sometimes competing interests of efficiency, economy, quality of care, and beneficiary access.

The Ninth Circuit also concluded that plaintiffs’ claims that California violated the supremacy clause was unlikely to prevail under Douglas v. Independent Living Center (2012).  The Court explained,

Even assuming that the supremacy clause provides a private right of action – the secretary has reasonably determined that the state’s reimbursement rates comply with § 30(A) [of the Medicaid Act].

via Courthouse News Service.

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“Show Me Your Papers” Challenges Moves on to the Ninth Circuit

A coalition of civil rights groups has appealed a federal court decision that would allow the most-notorious portion of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law to go into effect.

The appeal, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, was filed eight days after U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton denied a request to block the “show-me-your-papers” provision of the Arizona law, S.B. 1070, from going into effect later this month. The coalition today asked the Ninth Circuit to suspend the provision for the duration of its appeal.

The provision requires police to verify the citizenship or immigration status of people arrested, stopped or detained if there is a reasonable suspicion that they are in the country unlawfully. In June, the Supreme Court confirmed that three other key provisions of S.B. 1070 are unconstitutional, but declined to block section 2B, the “show me your papers” provision. Several other parts of SB 1070 are blocked by separate injunctions issued by the district court.

“The racial profiling provision threatens the civil rights of many communities of color in Arizona. For the growing Asian American and Pacific Islander community in Arizona, this law will cause irreparable harm to families and individuals, making communities less safe,” said Jessica Chia, staff attorney at the Asian American Justice Center. “AAJC will continue to fight against this discriminatory law until the court rightfully strikes it down.”

“The plaintiffs in this case have raised substantial claims against section 2B and the courts should not allow the provision to go into effect without even considering those claims, which is what will happen if the court of appeals denies the request we are filing today,” said Omar Jadwat, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “As the history of this litigation shows, we are determined to fight SB 1070 and continue to work to preserve all Arizonans’ rights to be free from harassment and profiling.”

The coalition includes the ACLU, the ACLU of Arizona, NILC, MALDEF, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center and the Asian American Justice Center, both members of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, as well as the NAACP.

via ImmigrationProf Blog: “Show Me Your Papers” Challenges Moves on to the Ninth Circuit.

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Ability to Pay considered for sanctions

As an attorney that has dealt with reducing costs for my clients based on ability to pay, it is interesting to see that other courts (9th Circuit Court of Appeals) have applied this same deference in other situations.  In this case, a lawyer was sanctioned by the court, but was unable to pay.

The ABA Journal writes,

Before imposing a financial penalty that a lawyer might not be able to pay, a federal district court can consider the impact on the attorney, a federal appeals court has ruled, giving a California lawyer—who said he made less than $20,000 annually—another chance to make his case for a reduction in a sanction of over $360,000 for pursuing frivolous litigation.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it is remanding the Gregory Melvin Haynes matter because it appears that the district judge who sanctioned him under 28 U.S.C. § 1927 mistakenly thought the court had no discretion to consider the attorney’s financial situation. However, the district court has discretion to do so—just as it has discretion to hold a lawyer accountable, as it did in Haynes’ case, for the opposing side’s litigation costs, explained the appeals court in a Monday opinion (PDF).

Haynes, who had sued the city and county of San Francisco as well as a number of individuals over a psychotic woman’s involuntary hospitalization, engaged in “a wide variety of incompetent and unprofessional actions,” the 9th Circuit noted.

“We now hold that a district court may reduce Sec. 1927 sanctions award in light of an attorney’s inability to pay. Because the district court appeared to believe that it was without discretion to reduce the sanctions award on this ground, and accordingly failed to consider whether to exercise that discretion, we remand for further proceedings,” the appeals court wrote.

It said this is the first time the issue has been considered in the 9th Circuit, which is following the same approach previously adopted by the New York City-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals takes a different view of the issue, Trial Insider notes.

“We do not suggest by this holding that when the district court decides to reduce an amount on account of a sanctioned attorney’s inability to pay, it must reduce the amount to that which it determines that the attorney is capable of satisfying,” the opinion continues. “Just as it is within the discretion of the district court to decide whether to reduce the amount at all, the amount to which the sanction will be reduced is equally within the court’s discretion.”

via 9th Circuit Says Court Can Consider Ability to Pay, Orders Rehearing re $360K Attorney Sanction – News – ABA Journal.

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9th Cir: tenants and landlords

San Francisco landlords cannot fight a voter initiative that makes it illegal to force out tenants with cash and threats, the 9th Circuit ruled Tuesday.

The Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute (SPOSFI) and others sued the city and county of San Francisco in 2009, seeking an injunction to stop Proposition M, an ordinance approved by voters the previous year prohibiting “residential landlords and their agents from attempting, ‘in bad faith’ to ‘coerce the tenant to vacate with offers of payments to vacate which are accompanied with threats or intimidation,” according to the ruling.

The group, composed of about 1,500 local landlords, argued that the ordinance violated the free-speech and petition clauses of the First Amendment.

U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup dismissed the group’s claims, finding that it had no standing to challenge the statute and that the city had a valid interest in regulating their actions. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit affirmed unanimously. The judges said the landlords had not shown that they would be harmed by the law.

“There is no allegation on which to base an inference that any of SPOSFI’s members intend to engage in conduct even arguably proscribed by Proposition M,” wrote Senior U.S. District Judge Frederic Block, sitting on the three-judge appellate panel by designation from the Eastern District of New York. “As a matter of common sense, an allegation that a plaintiff is ‘subject to’ the challenged ordinance cannot suffice.”

via Courthouse News Service.

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9th Circuit and farm labor workers

A federal appeals court awarded nearly $2 million on Wednesday to more than 600 Latino farm workers who accused a farm labor contractor and two Washington state growers of violating federal labor laws.

The Yakima Valley farm workers claimed that Valley Fruit Orchards and Green Acre Farms illegally and intentionally displaced them by hiring Los Angeles-based Global Horizons to bring in foreign workers in 2004.

U.S. District Judge Robert Whaley in Yakima awarded $237,000 in statutory damages to the workers in 2009, which was to be paid by Global Horizons.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision, ruling that the workers were entitled to damages of nearly $2 million and that Global Horizons and the growers were jointly liable.

“This is a huge victory for local farm workers in the Yakima Valley,” Jose Perez, one of three representative plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit, said in a statement issued by his lawyers. “We’ve waited a long time for this day and we’re glad the court validated these important worker rights.”

via News from The Associated Press.

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