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Contest Promotions filed suit challenging San Francisco's billboard prohibition, arguing that the distinction between commercial and noncommercial signs violates the First Amendment. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, holding that the distinction drawn between commercial and noncommercial signs in Article 6 of the Planning Code survives intermediate scrutiny under Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. v. Public Service Commission, 447 U.S. 557 (1980). In this case, the distinctions directly advanced San Francisco's substantial interests in safety and aesthetics, and Article 6 was not constitutionally underinclusive. View "Contest Promotions, LLC v. City and County of San Francisco" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Hilton on plaintiff's age discrimination claims. Plaintiff was 60 years old when he was terminated from his position as part of a reduction-in-workforce (RIF) in 2012. Applying the McDonnell Douglass test, the panel held that plaintiff satisfied the elements for establishing a prima facie case of discrimination; Hilton produced evidence showing that it acted for a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason; and plaintiff failed to introduce sufficient evidence to raise a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the reasons Hilton articulated were pretexts for age discrimination. The panel considered the context of this case, including Hilton's lost profits during the economic downturn, a series of layoffs, the overall age of the workforce, the fact that plaintiff survived previous RIFs, and the business reasons for selecting his position for elimination. Consequently, plaintiff's remaining claims also failed. View "Merrick v. Hilton Worldwide, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a petition for writ of federal habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. 2254, holding that the application was untimely. In this case, 18 U.S.C. 2244(d)(1)(D), which provides that a habeas petition is timely if it is filed within one year of the date the Supreme Court recognized a new constitutional right that was later made retroactive to cases on collateral review, did not apply. The court also held that equitable tolling was not justified because petitioner failed to establish extraordinary circumstances that prevented him from raising his legal arguments earlier. View "Keller v. Pringle" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the City and others, including City Attorney Tobias Tempelmeyer, claiming violations of his First and Fourth Amendment rights. Plaintiff claimed that the inspection and condemnation of a motel he was the lessor and operator of were conducted in retaliation for his disputing whether a certain tax was applicable to his business, in violation of the First Amendment. The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's order denying in part Tempelmeyer's motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity, holding that plaintiff's First Amendment right to be free from retaliatory regulatory enforcement that was otherwise supported by probable cause was not clearly established. View "Scott v. Tempelmeyer" on Justia Law

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The "free-choice-of provider" provision of the Medicaid Act, 42 U.S.C. 1396a(a)(23)(A), did not unambiguously create a federal right for individual patients that could be enforced under 42 U.S.C. 1983. Plaintiff, three Arkansas patients identified by the Planned Parenthood affiliate, filed suit against the Director of the Department under section 1983, claiming that the Department violated a federal right of the patients under the Medicaid Act to choose any "qualified" provider that offers services that the patients seek. The Eighth Circuit vacated injunctions forbidding suspending payments for services rendered to the class of Medicaid beneficiaries, holding that plaintiffs did not have a likelihood of success on the merits of their claims. View "Does v. Gillespie" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the district court's dismissal of his defamation and false light claims against the New York Times (NYT) and two of its authors, under Louisiana's anti-SLAPP statute (Article 971). Plaintiff, an economics professor, alleged that the NYT misrepresented his statements in an article that attributed racist views to libertarian scholars. The Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded, holding that plaintiff has created a genuine issue of material fact as to the falsity of the NYT article; dismissal for failure to create a fact issue as to actual malice was premature; and dismissal for failure to create a genuine fact issue as to whether the article had a defamatory meaning was premature. View "Block v. Tanenhaus" on Justia Law

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Farmer was convicted of armed bank robbery, 18 U.S.C. 2113(a) and (d), and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, section 924(c)(1)(A)(ii). Farmer drove the getaway car and was not in the bank during the robbery. Her convictions were premised on an accomplice theory under 18 U.S.C. 2. In 2014 the Supreme Court held (Rosemond) that a section 924(c) conviction under an accomplice theory requires proof that the accomplice had “foreknowledge that his confederate [would] commit the offense with a firearm.” The jury at Farmer’s 2012 trial was not instructed on a foreknowledge requirement. In a motion under 28 U.S.C. 2255, after Rosemond was decided, Farmer argued that her trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to object to the section 924(c) instruction. The district judge denied relief because Farmer failed to establish that she was prejudiced by that failure to object. On appeal, she attempted to raise the Rosemond issue directly rather than through trial counsel’s ineffectiveness. The Seventh Circuit held that Farmer procedurally defaulted that claim and must establish cause and actual prejudice to excuse the default. She did not do so. The government presented plenty of evidence that Farmer had advance knowledge that a gun would be used, so the Rosemond error was not grave enough to cause actual prejudice. View "Farmer v. United States" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, African-Americans, worked for Union Pacific as “Signal Helpers,” an entry‐level job. After a probationary period, both became eligible for promotion. Union Pacific did not respond to their requests to take a required test, then eliminated the Signal Helper position in their zones. Both were terminated. They filed charges with the EEOC. After receiving notification from the EEOC, Union Pacific provided some information but failed to respond to a request for company-wide information, despite issuance of a subpoena. The EEOC issued right‐to‐sue letters, 42 U.S.C. 2000e‐5(f)(1). Plaintiffs sued. The district court granted Union Pacific summary judgment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. While that action was pending, the EEOC issued Union Pacific a second request for information, served a second subpoena, and brought an enforcement action. The district court denied Union Pacific’s motion to dismiss, rejecting its arguments that the EEOC lost its investigatory authority either after the issuance of a right to sue notice or when Union Pacific obtained a judgment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, noting a split in the Circuits. Given the EEOC’s broad role in preventing employment discrimination, including its independent authority to investigate charges of discrimination, especially at a company‐wide level, neither the issuance of a right‐to‐sue letter nor the entry of judgment in a lawsuit brought by individuals bars the EEOC from continuing its own investigation. View "Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Union Pacific Railroad Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court dismissing this action brought by the Board of Commissioners of Union County (Union County) seeking a declaratory judgment and an injunction against the Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Department itself (collectively, INDOT). In the action, Union County alleged that INDOT was negligent in its highway repair efforts, causing damage to the septic systems of three landowners in Union County. The trial court granted INDOT's motion to dismiss, concluding that Union County did not have standing to sue INDOT for injury done to its residents. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err in dismissing the action because Union County failed to plead any viable theory of standing to support its alleged cause of action. View "Board of Commissioners of Union County v. McGuinness" on Justia Law

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Martin pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1); (b)(1)(B)(iii). The parties agreed that Martin’s advisory Guidelines range was 70-87 months’ imprisonment and that a sentence of 87 months was appropriate. According to the Probation Office, Martin’s Guidelines range was 188-235 months’ because Martin was a career offender. At sentencing, the district court stated that Martin was a career offender, noting crimes of aggravated assault, resisting arrest, and fleeing a police officer. After considering the 18 U.S.C. 3553 factors, the Court sentenced Martin to 87 months’ imprisonment. Martin did not appeal. In 2014, the Sentencing Commission promulgated Guidelines Amendment 782, retroactively reducing the base offense for many drug quantities, including the drug quantity associated with Martin’s offense. Martin sought a reduction of sentence under 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(2), citing Amendment 782. The district court found him ineligible for relief because his Guidelines range was based on his status as a career offender rather than the drug quantity. The Third Circuit affirmed. Martin’s status as a career offender meant that he was not eligible for a reduced sentence. View "United States v. Martin" on Justia Law