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

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TIRN appealed from the district court's dismissal of its claim on res judicata grounds. TIRN alleged that the State Department failed to satisfy its consultation and environmental assessment obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq., in conducting annual certifications of countries exempted from the general ban on shrimp imports. At issue was whether TIRN's current lawsuit for NEPA and ESA violations was precluded by its earlier lawsuits challenging the State Department's regulations implementing the Section 609(b)(2) of Public Law 101-162 certification process. The court held that because TIRN's current challenge arose from the same transactional nucleus of facts as earlier litigation, res judicata barred its claims. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court. View "Turtle Island Restoration Network, et al. v. U.S. Dept. of State" on Justia Law

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Defendant, a citizen of Macau, engaged in efforts to import protected defense articles from the United States into China, without the licenses required by law. Defendant was convicted after a jury trial on four counts of conspiracy and attempt to export defense articles without a license, money laundering, and conspiracy and attempt to smuggle goods from the United States. Defendant challenged his conviction and sentence. The court concluded that venue was proper in the Southern District of California; disagreed with defendant that the Arms Export Control Act, 22 U.S.C. 2778, violated the nondelegation principle; concluded that defendant's conviction on count three must be vacated as a matter of law because attempting to cause an export of a defense article was not a federal crime; defendant's conviction on count four must also be vacated for lack of jurisdiction; and because the district court should have allowed defendant to present evidence of duress to the jury, the court reversed and remanded for a new trial on counts one and two. The court did not reach defendant's arguments regarding his sentence. View "United States v. Kuok" on Justia Law

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This case arose when plaintiff hired defendant to move some of his household goods from southern California to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). When the UAE officials discovered plaintiff's box of firearms and ammunition, they arrested him, imprisoned him for 11 days, and tricked him into pleading guilty to smuggling firearms. Plaintiff alleged that he was facing deportation from the UAE and sued defendant based on various tort and contract theories. At issue was whether defendant could compel plaintiff to arbitrate pursuant to the contract's foreign arbitration clause in its shipment contract. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court and held that the district court correctly interpreted the Carmack Amendment, 49 U.S.C. 14706, to preclude foreign arbitration clauses and the Carmack Amendment, having been enacted subsequent to the federal arbitration statutes, controlled this case. View "Smallwood v. Allied Van Lines, Inc., 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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Appellant appealed an order of summary judgment in favor of the United States Bureau of Customs and Border Protection ("CBP") in his eight Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. 552, requests for 19 C.F.R. 133.21(c) Notices of Seizures of Infringing Merchandise ("Notices") from certain United States ports. Appellant raised several issues of error on appeal. The court held that the district court's findings that the Notices contained plainly commercial information, which disclosed intimate aspects of an importers business such as supply chains and fluctuations of demand for merchandise, was well supported. The court also held that the district court was not clearly erroneous in its finding that the information at issue was confidential and privileged where the trade secret exemption of FOIA ("Exemption 4") was applicable. The court further held that when an agency freely disclosed to a third party confidential information covered by a FOIA exemption without limiting the third-party's ability to further disseminate the information then the agency waived the ability to claim an exemption to a FOIA request for the disclosed information. Therefore, the district court's ruling was affirmed in regards to FOIA Exemption 4 but the district court's conclusion as to the fees charged to appellant was reversed where CBP must follow the FOIA fee provisions under 19 C.F.R. 103.