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

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Plaintiffs filed a putative class action suit on behalf of current and former students, alleging that Corinthian engaged in a deceptive scheme to entice the enrollment of prospective students in violation of California law. Corinthian moved to compel arbitration pursuant to arbitration clauses in plaintiffs' enrollment agreements. The court concluded that the Broughton-Cruz rule, which exempted claims for "public injunctive relief" from arbitration, was preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 2. In the alternative, the court concluded that plaintiffs' claims were within the scope of their arbitration agreements and plaintiffs were required to arbitrate their public injunction claims. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's order denying Corinthian's motion to compel arbitration and remanded. View "Ferguson, et al. v. Corinthian Colleges, Inc., et al." on Justia Law

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This case arose out of the handcuffing and removal from school of then eleven-year-old C.B. by Sonora Police officers. The district court rendered a verdict ostensibly in favor of defendants, but the district court concluded that the verdict was incomplete and inconsistent and directed them to re-deliberate. On appeal, the court concluded that the unscripted supplemental jury instructions, together with the problematic verdict form, gave the jury the misimpression that its initial answers to Questions 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8 were internally inconsistent and needed to be revised. The court also concluded that Officers McIntosh and Prock were entitled to qualified immunity with regard to plaintiff's claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983 because the law was, and still is, not "clearly established" that handcuffing and driving a juvenile from school to a relative's place of business implicated Fourth Amendment rights. Accordingly, the court vacated the verdict and judgments, remanding for further proceedings. The district court was instructed to enter judgment as a matter of law in favor of individual defendants McIntosh and Prock as to the 1983 claims. The court did not address whether defendants were entitled to an offset of the amount paid in settlement by the school district and one of the school's teachers. View "C. B. v. City of Sonora, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a professor, filed suit alleging that university administrators retaliated against him in violation of the First Amendment for distributing a short pamphlet and drafts from an in-progress book. The court held that there was an exception to Garcetti v. Ceballos for teaching and academic writing. Pickering v. Board of Education governed such teaching and writing by publicly employed teachers. The court affirmed the district court's determination that plaintiff prepared and circulated his pamphlet pursuant to official duties; reversed its determination that the pamphlet did not address matters of public concern; concluded that there was insufficient evidence to show that the in-progress book triggered retaliation; and held that defendants were entitled to qualified immunity given the uncertain state of the law in the wake of Garcetti. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Demers v. Austin" on Justia Law

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Landon Wynar, a sophomore high school student, was suspended from school after he made a string of increasingly violent and threatening instant messages sent from home to his friends. Landon and his father sued the school district and others (collectively, "Douglas County") for violations of Landon's constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. 1983, as well as for negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The court held that, when faced with an identifiable threat of school violence, schools could take disciplinary action in response to off-campus speech that met the requirements of Tinker v. DesMoines. In this instance, the court concluded that it was reasonable for Douglas County to interpret the messages as a real risk and to forecast a substantial disruption. Further, Landon's messages threatening the student body as a whole, and targeted specific students by name, impinged on the rights of the students to be secure and to be let alone. Accordingly, the court held that Douglas County's actions did not violate the First Amendment. The court also held that Landon received adequate due process before both his 10-day suspension and his 90-day expulsion. The court rejected plaintiffs' remaining claims and affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the school district. View "Wynar v. Douglas Cnty. Sch. Dist." on Justia Law

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This case concerned Hawaii's "Act 163," Haw. Rev. Stat. 302A-1134(c), which barred students from attending public school after the last day of the school year in which they turned 20. At issue was whether state-funded high school diploma programs for adults who never graduated from high school were a form of "public education" under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(1)(B)(I). The Community Schools for Adults offers "free public education" to students who did not require IDEA services. The Department offers, at taxpayer expense, the opportunity for nondisabled 20- and 21-year-olds to complete their secondary educations and earn high school diplomas. Providing IDEA services to disabled children of those ages would therefore be consistent with "State law or practice... respecting the provision of public education," so the state must do so. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's judgment for the State on the IDEA claim, holding that Act 163 violated federal law. The court affirmed the district court's judgment on plaintiffs' remaining claims. View "E.R.K. v. State of Hawaii Dep't of Educ." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a severely disabled student, filed suit arguing that he was entitled to remain at a private school he had been attending since the age of seven. The Department issued a formal notice that plaintiff's special education placement at the school would end when he turned 20 years old. Plaintiff argued that he was entitled to remain at the school until he was 22 years old. At issue on appeal was whether the "stay put" provision in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1415j, applied to a student who has exceeded a state-imposed age limit on eligibility for public education. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court, concluding that the district court correctly granted plaintiff's motion for stay put. Plaintiff was entitled to remain at the school as his stay-put placement from the date he filed his administrative complaint and he was entitled to remain there until his case was finally resolved. View "A.D. v. State of Hawaii Dep't of Educ." on Justia Law

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In these consolidated appeals, plaintiffs principally claimed that their school districts have an obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., to provide them with a word-for-word transcription service so that they can fully understand the teacher and fellow students without undue strain and consequent stress. The court held that courts evaluating claims under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400, and Title II must analyze each claim separately under the relevant statutory and regulatory framework. In these cases, the district courts legally erred in granting summary judgment by holding that plaintiff's Title II claim was foreclosed as a matter of law by the failure of her IDEA claim. Accordingly, the court reversed the grants of summary judgment on the ADA claims in both cases and on the Unruh Act, Cal. Civ. Code 51, 52, claim in K.M. v. Tustin, remanding for further proceedings in both cases. View "K. M. v. Tustin Unified Sch. Dist." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, individually and on behalf of his son, filed suit against the Hawaii Department of Education, alleging violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400(d). The district court found that the Department did not deny the son a free appropriate public education (FAPE) by holding an annual individualized education program (IEP) meeting without the participation of the parent. Plaintiff did not attend the meeting even though he actively sought to reschedule it in order to participate. The court concluded, however, that the Department denied the son a FAPE by denying plaintiff the opportunity to participate and plaintiff was entitled to reimbursement if he could establish that the private school placement was proper under the Act. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Doug C., et al. v. State of Hawaii Dep't of Educ." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the district court's denial of his mandamus petition, where he sought to compel the DOE to issue him a Stafford Loan. While plaintiff's immigration status was still pending, he obtained valid employment authorization, graduated from college, and was accepted to law school. Plaintiff then filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and requested a Stafford Loan to pay his tuition. The law school declined to find him eligible for any form of federal student aid and plaintiff was unable to obtain a Stafford Loan. The court held that, in these circumstances, the jurisdictional question merged with the merits question. Plaintiff's mandamus petition fell within the scope of the sue-and-be-sued clause of 20 U.S.C. 1082(a)(2). Notwithstanding that clause, however, section 1082(a)(2)'s ani-injunction clause barred the suit for declaratory relief. The Larson-Dugan exception to sovereign immunity did not bar plaintiff's petition under 28 U.S.C. 1361. When plaintiff's Stafford Loan eligibility was reviewed, he did not provide any evidence from the INS or USCIS that he was in the United States for other than a temporary purpose. Therefore, the district court correctly dismissed plaintiff's petition on the merits. View "Mashiri v. Dept. of Education, et al" on Justia Law

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M.P., a student with disabilities, appealed the district court's ruling that the Anchorage School District (ASD) did not deny him a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) because the failure to develop an updated Individualized Education Program (IEP) was mostly attributable to his "parents' litigious approach." The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that public educational agencies review and revise annually an eligible child's IEP. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed in part, holding (1) the district court relied on an improper basis when it declined to consider whether the ASD complied with the IDEA's substantive requirements; (2) the ASD deprived M.P. of a substantively adequate FAPE by relying on an outdated IEP to measure M.P.'s academic and functional performance and provide educational benefits to M.P.; and (3) M.P.'s parents were entitled to reimbursement for private tutoring expenses incurred in 2008 and review of the propriety of private tutoring expenses incurred in 2009. Remanded. View "Anchorage Sch. Dist. v. M.P." on Justia Law