Split Rail Fence Company, Inc. v United States

Company petitioned for review of the summary decision imposing civil penalties for continuing to employ individuals not authorized to work in the United States. The panel denied the petition. It first held that the standard of review for these types of petitions is an open question, but, because the claims failed under de novo review, the panel declined to adopt a standard. It held the decision on the first count was correct as Company failed to complete a section of the I-9 form to verify employability when the initial eligibility expired. It held the decision on the second count was correct. It adopted the 9thCircuit’s case law approach to the questions of unauthorized workers and held that the government can establish a prima facia case that an employee is unauthorized by showing a search of the relevant databases found the employee’s documentation was false and that occurred here and the government can establish a prima facia case of constructive knowledge by showing an employer failed to respond to a warning about an employee’s status and that was also done here. The panel held that none of the rebutting evidence allowed under the 9th Circuit approach- bad search, documentation demonstrating eligibility to work, inadequate notice form the government or proof that employer responded to the notice by examining documents  in a way that complies with controlling statute-were presented at the summary decision stage by Company which pointed to unpersuasive facts that the employees in question had bank accounts, cars, drivers licenses and other irrelevant facts instead, and thus the administrative law judge correctly granted the government’s motion for summary decision.

Aldaba v Pickens, Atnip and Beebe

On remand from the United States Supreme Court, the panel held that Pickens, Atnip and Beebe were entitled to qualified immunity in Albada’s excessive force claim due to a lack of clearly established law at the time of the incident as no 10th Circuit case had facts similar enough to the situation here (three law enforcement officers going to a hospital to given help to medical providers to control a disruptive, disoriented patient so lifesaving treatment could be provided) and thus there was no notice beyond debate that using a Taser in that situation violated the 4th Amendment.

Hammond v Stamps.com

  1. Stamps.com appealed the district court order remanding this class action case to state court. The panel reversed. It held the district court committed legal error when in ruled stamps.com was required to prove that damages exceeding $5,000,000.00 would likely be awarded by the jury as the correct test developed over centuries of litigation over what amount is “in controversy” asks only whether the jury might legally conclude the damages in a given case exceed the statutory threshold. Applying here, the panel held that whether looking at actual or statutory damages, with a putative class of over 300,000, the legally permissible damages could be as low as $14,000,000 and as high as $93,000,000 both of which exceed the $5,000,000 threshold for class action suits. It noted this conclusion is consistent with those of other circuits to face the issue and serves the purpose of limiting litigation about forum while following the congressionally adopted framework for removal in class action suits.