III.      CIVIL PROCEEDINGS. 1

 

A.     Introduction. 1

1.       Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.. 1

2.       Affirming on Alternative Grounds. 1

 

B.     Pretrial Decisions in Civil Cases. 2

1.       Absolute Immunity. 2

2.       Abstention. 2

3.       Affirmative Defenses. 3

4.       Amended Complaints. 3

5.       Answers. 5

6.       Appointment of Counsel 5

7.       Appointment of Guardian Ad Litem.. 5

8.       Arbitration. 6

9.       Bifurcation. 8

10.    Burden of Proof 9

11.    Case Management 9

12.    Certification to State Court 9

13.    Claim Preclusion. 10

14.    Class Actions. 10

15.    Collateral Estoppel 12

16.    Complaints. 12

17.    Consolidation. 14

18.    Constitutionality of Regulations. 15

19.    Constitutionality of Statutes. 15

20.    Contempt 16

21.    Continuances. 16

22.    Counterclaims. 17

23.    Declaratory Relief 18

24.    Discovery. 19

a.       Discovery Sanctions. 21

b.       Protective Orders. 21

25.    Dismissals. 22

26.    Disqualifying Counsel 27

27.    Disqualifying the Judge (Recusal) 27

28.    Diversity Jurisdiction. 27

29.    Equitable Estoppel and Equitable Tolling. 28

30.    Evidentiary Hearings. 29

31.    Exhaustion. 29

32.    Failure to State a Claim.. 30

33.    Forum Non Conveniens. 32

34.    Forum Selection Clauses. 32

35.    Frivolousness. 33

36.    Immunities. 34

37.    Impleader 36

38.    In Forma Pauperis Status. 37

39.    Inherent Powers. 37

40.    Injunctions. 37

41.    Interlocutory Appeals. 40

42.    Intervention. 41

43.    Involuntary Dismissal 42

44.    Issue Preclusion. 42

45.    Joinder/Indispensable Party. 43

46.    Judgment on the Pleadings. 43

47.    Judicial Estoppel 44

48.    Judicial Notice. 44

49.    Jurisdiction. 45

50.    Jury Demand. 45

51.    Laches. 46

52.    Lack of Prosecution. 46

53.    Law of the Case. 46

54.    Leave to Amend. 47

55.    Local Rules. 49

56.    Magistrate Judges. 49

57.    Mandamus. 50

58.    Mootness. 51

59.    Oral Argument 51

60.    Pendent Jurisdiction. 51

61.    Personal Jurisdiction. 51

62.    Preemption. 52

63.    Preliminary Injunctions. 52

64.    Pretrial Conferences. 52

65.    Pretrial Orders. 53

66.    Primary Jurisdiction. 53

67.    Protective Orders. 54

68.    Qualified Immunity. 54

69.    Recusal 54

70.    Removal 55

71.    Res Judicata. 56

72.    Ripeness. 56

73.    Rooker-Feldman. 57

74.    Sanctions. 57

a.       Local Rules. 58

b.       Supervision of Attorneys. 58

c.        Inherent Powers. 59

d.       Contempt 59

e.        28 U.S.C. § 1927. 59

f.        Discovery Sanctions. 60

75.    Service of Process. 60

76.    Severance. 60

77.    Sovereign Immunity. 60

78.    Special Masters. 62

79.    Standing. 62

80.    Stare Decisis. 63

81.    Statutes of Limitation. 63

82.    Stays. 64

83.    Striking. 64

84.    Subject Matter Jurisdiction. 65

85.    Subpoenas. 65

86.    Substitution of Parties. 66

87.    Summary Judgment 67

a.       Generally. 67

b.       Related Decisions. 68

c.        FOIA Cases. 70

88.    Summons. 70

89.    Supplemental Complaints. 71

90.    Supplemental Jurisdiction. 71

91.    Venue. 71

92.    Vexatious Litigants. 72

93.    Voir Dire. 72

94.    Voluntary Dismissals. 73

 

C.     Trial Decisions in Civil Cases. 73

1.       Alter Ego. 73

2.       Authentication. 74

3.       Bench Trials. 74

4.       Best Evidence Rule. 75

5.       Bifurcation. 75

6.       Choice of Laws. 75

7.       Closing Arguments. 76

8.       Credibility Findings. 77

9.       Cross‑Examination. 77

10.    Directed Verdict 78

11.    Evidentiary Rulings. 78

a.       Generally. 78

b.       Attorney testimony. 79

c.        Extra-record evidence. 79

d.       Fed. R. Evid. 702. 79

e.        Hearsay. 79

f.        Best Evidence Rule. 80

12.    Experts. 80

13.    Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 81

14.    Foreign Law.. 81

15.    Hearsay. 82

16.    Judgment as a Matter of Law.. 83

17.    Juror Partiality, Bias and Misconduct 83

18.    Jury Instructions. 84

19.    Jury Selection. 85

20.    Jury Verdicts. 86

21.    Opening Statements. 88

22.    Parol Evidence. 89

23.    Proximate Cause. 89

24.    Regulations. 89

25.    State Law.. 90

26.    Statutes. 91

27.    Substantive Areas of Law.. 93

a.       Admiralty. 93

b.       Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) 95

c.        Antitrust 97

d.       Bankruptcy. 98

e.        Bivens Actions. 103

f.        Civil Rights. 104

g.       Constitutional Law.. 106

h.       Contracts. 108

i.         Copyright 110

j.         Declaratory Judgment Act 113

k.       Defamation. 113

l.         Employment Discrimination. 113

i.            Jury Instructions. 115

ii.          Choice of Remedies. 115

iii.         Attorneys’ Fees. 116

iv.         Equal Pay Act 116

v.          Age Discrimination in Employment Act 117

m.     Environmental Law.. 117

i.            National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) 117

ii.          Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) 119

iii.         Clean Air Act (“CAA”) 120

iv.         Clean Water Act (“CWA”) 121

v.          Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and
Liability Act (“CERCLA”)
122

vi.         Attorneys’ Fees Generally. 122

n.       ERISA   123

o.       Fair Debt Collection Practices Act 126

p.       Fair Labor Standards Act 127

q.       False Claims Act (“FCA”) 128

r.        Federal Employers Liability Act (“FELA”) 130

s.        Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) 130

t.        Feres Doctrine. 131

u.       Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) 132

v.       Immigration. 133

i.            Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) 134

1.   Generally. 134

2.   De Novo Review.. 135

3.   Substantial Evidence. 136

4.   Abuse of Discretion. 136

5.   Asylum.. 138

6.   Convention Against Torture. 138

7.   Cancellation of Removal 138

ii.         District Court Appeals. 139

w.      Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) 141

x.       Labor Law.. 142

i.           Arbitration. 142

ii.          Collective Bargaining Agreement 143

iii.         Labor Management Relations Act 143

iv.         National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) 144

v.          Federal Labor Relations Authority. 145

vi.         Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
(“LHWCA”)
146

vii.       Jones Act 148

viii.     Railway Labor Act 148

ix.         Miscellaneous. 149

y.       Negligence. 149

z.        Securities. 149

aa.    Social Security. 151

bb.    Tariffs. 151

cc.     Tax    151

dd.    Title VII 154

ee.     Trademark. 155

ff.      Warsaw Convention. 156

28.    Supervising Trials. 157

29.    Supplemental Jury Instructions. 157

30.    Territorial Laws. 158

a.       Guam   158

b.       Northern Mariana Islands. 158

31.    Treaties. 159

32.    Tribal Courts. 160

33.    Verdict Forms. 161

 

D.     Post‑Trial Decisions in Civil Cases. 162

1.       Appeals. 162

2.       Attorneys’ fees. 162

a.       Admiralty. 163

b.       Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) 164

c.        Antitrust 164

d.       Bankruptcy. 164

e.        Civil Rights. 165

f.        Class Actions. 166

g.       Contracts. 166

h.       Copyright 166

i.         Environmental Laws. 167

j.     Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”) 167

k.    ERISA   168

l.     Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) 169

m.   Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) 169

n.    Inherent Powers. 169

o.    Removal 170

p.       Rule 68. 170

q.       Social Security. 171

r.        State Law.. 171

s.        Tax      171

t.        Title VII 171

u.       Trademark. 172

3.       Bonds. 172

4.       Certified Appeals. 173

5.       Choice of Remedies. 174

6.       Consent Decrees. 174

7.       Costs. 175

8.       Damages. 175

a.       Liquidated. 177

b.       Punitive. 177

c.        Remittitur 178

9.       Default 178

10.    Equitable Relief 180

11.    Excusable Neglect 180

12.    Fines. 181

13.    Interest 181

14.    Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict (“JNOV”) 182

15.    Judgments. 182

16.    Mandates. 184

17.    New Trials. 184

18.    Permanent Injunctions. 185

19.    Reconsideration. 186

20.    Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law.. 187

21.    Reopening or Supplementing Record. 188

22.    Sanctions. 188

a.       Generally. 188

b.       Rule 11. 189

c.        Local Rules. 189

d.       Supervision of Attorneys. 189

e.        Inherent Powers. 190

f.        Contempt 190

g.       Discovery Sanctions. 191

h.       28 U.S.C. § 1927. 191

23.    Settlements. 191

24.    Supersedeas Bonds. 193

25.    Surety Bonds. 193

26.    Vacatur 193

27.    Void Judgments. 193



III.   CIVIL PROCEEDINGS

A.      Introduction

1.       Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

 

Findings of fact are reviewed for clear error.  See Husain v. Olympic Airways, 316 F.3d 829, 835 (9th Cir. 2002). This standard also applies to the district court’s application of law to facts where it requires an “essentially factual” review.  See id.  The court reviews adopted findings with close scrutiny, even though review remains to be for clear error.  See Phoenix Eng’g & Supply Inc. v. Universal Elec. Co., 104 F.3d 1137, 1140 (9th Cir. 1997).

 

 Conclusions of law are reviewed de novo.  See Husain, 316 F.3d at 835.  Mixed questions of law and fact are also reviewed de novo.  See Lim v. City of Long Beach, 217 F.3d 1050, 1054 (9th Cir. 2000).  A mixed question of law and fact exists when there is no dispute as to the facts or the rule of law and the only question is whether the facts satisfy the legal rule.  See id. A district court’s interpretation of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is reviewed de novo.  See United States v. 2,164 Watches, 366 F.3d 767, 770 (9th Cir. 2004).

2.       Affirming on Alternative Grounds

 

The district court’s decision may be affirmed on any ground supported by the record, even if not relied upon by the district court.  See Campbell v. Washington Dep’t of Soc. & Health Servs., 671 F.3d 837, 842 n.4 (9th Cir. 2011); Forest Guardians v. U.S. Forest Serv., 329 F.3d 1089, 1097 (9th Cir. 2003).[1]  Accordingly, the decision may be affirmed, “even if the district court relied on the wrong grounds or wrong reasoning.” Cigna Property and Cas. Ins. Co. v. Polaris Pictures Corp., 159 F.3d 412, 418 (9th Cir. 1998) (citation omitted).

 

B.      Pretrial Decisions in Civil Cases

1.       Absolute Immunity

 

Whether a public official is entitled to absolute immunity is a question of law reviewed de novo.  See Brown v. California Dep’t of Corr., 554 F.3d 747, 749-50 (9th Cir. 2009); Miller v. Davis, 521 F.3d 1142, 1145 (9th Cir. 2008) (governor).[2]  A dismissal based on absolute immunity is reviewed de novo.  See Olsen v. Idaho State Bd. of Medicine, 363 F.3d 916, 922 (9th Cir. 2004) (state board member).

2.       Abstention

 

This court reviews de novo whether Younger abstention is required.    See Potrero Hills Landfill, Inc. v. County of Solano, 657 F.3d 876, 881 (9th Cir. 2011);  Green v. City of Tucson, 255 F.3d 1086, 1093 (9th Cir. 2001) (en banc) (overruling prior cases applying abuse of discretion standard to district court’s decision whether to abstain), overruled in part on other grounds by Gilbertson v. Albright, 381 F.3d 965, 976-78 (9th Cir. 2004). 

 

Note that Green may not apply to other abstention doctrines.[3]  See Green, 255 F.3d at 1093 n.10.  For example, the court of appeals reviews Pullman abstention decisions under a “modified abuse of discretion standard.”  Smelt v. County of Orange, 447 F.3d 673, 678 (9th Cir. 2006).  This means the court reviews de novo whether the requirements have been met, but the district court’s ultimate decision to abstain under Pullman for abuse of discretion.  See id.

3.       Affirmative Defenses

         

“[A] district court’s decisions with regard to the treatment of affirmative defenses [are] reviewed for an abuse of discretion.”  389 Orange St. Part. v. Arnold, 179 F.3d 656, 664 (9th Cir. 1999); see also In re Hanford Nuclear Reservation Litig., 534 F.3d 986, 1000 (9th Cir. 2008) (reviewing de novo where defense inapplicable as matter of law).  Whether an affirmative defense is waived, however, is a question of law reviewed de novo.  See Owens v. Kaiser Found. Health Plan, Inc., 244 F.3d 708, 713 (9th Cir. 2001).[4] 

 

The district court’s decision to strike certain affirmative defenses pursuant to Rule 12(f) is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Federal Sav. & Loan Ins. Corp. v. Gemini Mgmt., 921 F.2d 241, 243-44 (9th Cir. 1990).  Likewise, the decision whether to instruct the jury on affirmative defenses is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Costa v. Desert Palace, Inc., 299 F.3d 838, 858-59 (9th Cir. 2002) (en banc) (instructing); McClaran v. Plastic Indus., Inc., 97 F.3d 347, 355-56 (9th Cir. 1996) (refusing to instruct).

4.       Amended Complaints

 

The trial court’s denial of a motion to amend a complaint is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See AE ex rel. Hernandez v. County of Tulare, 666 F.3d 631, 636 (9th Cir. 2012); Ventress v. Japan Airlines, 603 F.3d 676, 680 (9th Cir. 2010); Caswell v. Calderon, 363 F.3d 832, 836 (9th Cir. 2004) (habeas); Chappel v. Laboratory Corp., 232 F.3d 719, 725 (9th Cir. 2000) (finding abuse of discretion).  “A district court acts within its discretion to deny leave to amend when amendment would be futile, when it would cause undue prejudice to the defendant, or when it is sought in bad faith.”  Chappel, 232 F.3d at 725-26.  The discretion is particularly broad where a plaintiff has previously been permitted leave to amend.  See Chodos v. West Publishing Co., 292 F.3d 992, 1003 (9th Cir. 2002).

 

The trial court’s decision to permit amendment is also reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Metrophones Telecomms., Inc, v. Global Crossing Telecomms., Inc., 423 F.3d 1056, 1063 (9th Cir. 2005); United States v. McGee, 993 F.2d 184, 187 (9th Cir. 1993).

 

Dismissal of a complaint without leave to amend is improper unless it is clear, upon de novo review that the complaint could not be saved by any amendment.  See AE ex rel. Hernandez, 666 F.3d at 636; Thinket Ink Info. Res., Inc. v. Sun Microsystems, Inc., 368 F.3d 1053, 1061 (9th Cir. 2004).[5]

 

A district court’s order denying a Rule 15(b) motion to conform the pleadings to the evidence is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Rosenbaum v. City and County of San Francisco, 484 F.3d 1142, 1151 (9th Cir. 2007); Madeja v. Olympic Packers, 310 F.3d 628, 635 (9th Cir. 2002).  The court’s decision to grant a Rule 15(b) motion is also reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Galindo v. Stoody Co., 793 F.2d 1502, 1512-13 (9th Cir. 1986).

 

The district court’s dismissal of the complaint with prejudice for failure to comply with the court’s order to amend the complaint is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Ordonez v. Johnson, 254 F.3d 814, 815-16 (9th Cir. 2001); McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1177 (9th Cir. 1996).  Dismissal of a complaint for failure to serve a timely summons and complaint is also reviewed for abuse of discretion.  See In re Sheehan, 253 F.3d 507, 511 (9th Cir. 2001); West Coast Theater Corp. v. City of Portland, 897 F.2d 1519, 1528 (9th Cir. 1990).

 

A district court’s decision to grant or deny a party’s request to supplement a complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(d) is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  Planned Parenthood of S. Ariz. v. Neely, 130 F.3d 400, 402 (9th Cir. 1997) (per curiam); Keith v. Volpe, 858 F.2d 467, 473 (9th Cir. 1988).

 

See also III. Civil Proceedings, B. Pretrial Decisions in Civil Cases, 54. Leave to Amend.

5.       Answers

 

A district court’s decision to permit a party to amend its answer is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See C.F. ex rel. Farnan v. Capistrano Unified Sch. Dist., 654 F.3d 975, 985 (9th Cir. 2011); Waldrip v. Hall, 548 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2008). 

 

The court’s refusal to permit a defendant to amend pleadings to assert additional counterclaims in an answer is also reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See California Dep’t of Toxic Substances Control v. Neville Chem. Co., 358 F.3d 661, 673 (9th Cir. 2004).

 

The court’s decision to strike an answer and enter default judgment as a discovery sanction is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Fair Housing of Marin v. Combs, 285 F.3d 899, 905 (9th Cir. 2002).

6.       Appointment of Counsel

 

“The decision to appoint counsel is left to the sound discretion of the district court.”  Johnson v. United States Treasury Dep’t, 27 F.3d 415, 416‑17 (9th Cir. 1994) (per curiam) (employment discrimination) (listing factors for court to consider).  The trial court’s refusal to appoint counsel is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Campbell v. Burt, 141 F.3d 927, 931 (9th Cir. 1998) (civil rights).  The trial court’s decision on a motion for appointment of counsel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 is also reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Solis v. County of Los Angeles, 514 F.3d 946, 958 (9th Cir. 2008).

7.       Appointment of Guardian Ad Litem

 

A district court’s appointment of a guardian ad litem is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See United States v. 30.64 Acres of Land, 795 F.2d 796, 798 (9th Cir. 1986); see also Fong Sik Leung v. Dulles, 226 F.2d 74, 82 (9th Cir. 1955) (concurring opinion).  The court’s determination that a guardian ad litem cannot represent a child without retaining a lawyer is a question of law reviewed de novo.  See Johns v. County of San Diego, 114 F.3d 874, 876 (9th Cir. 1997).

8.       Arbitration

 

“The district court’s decision to grant[6] or deny[7] a motion to compel arbitration is reviewed de novo.”  Bushley v. Credit Suisse First Boston, 360 F.3d 1149, 1152 (9th Cir. 2004).  Whether a party defaulted in arbitration is a question of fact reviewed for clear error.  See Sink v. Aden Enter., Inc., 352 F.3d 1197, 1199 (9th Cir. 2003).  Whether a party should be compelled back to arbitration after default is reviewed de novo.  See id. at 1200.

 

The decision of the district court concerning whether a dispute should be referred to arbitration is a question of law reviewed de novo.  See Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc. v. Byrd, 470 U.S. 213, 218 (1985) (Arbitration Act, by its terms, leaves no place for the exercise of discretion by a district court); Simula, Inc. v. Autoliv, Inc., 175 F.3d 716, 719 (9th Cir. 1999) (same). Nevertheless, “questions of arbitrability must be addressed with a healthy regard for the federal policy favoring arbitration.”  Moses H. Cone Mem’l Hosp. v. Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 24 (1983).[8]  Note that underlying factual findings are reviewed for clear error.  See Cape Flattery Ltd. v. Titan Maritime, LLC, 647 F.3d 914, 917 (9th Cir. 2011); Ticknor v. Choice Hotels Int’l, Inc., 265 F.3d 931, 936 (9th Cir. 2001).

 

The validity and scope of an arbitration clause is reviewed de novo.  See Cape Flattery Ltd., 647 F.3d at 917; Comedy Club, Inc. v. Improv West Assoc., 553 F.3d 1277, 1284 (9th Cir. 2009); Moore v. Local 569 of Int’l Bhd. of Elec. Workers, 53 F.3d 1054, 1055 (9th Cir. 1995).  Whether a party has waived its right to sue by agreeing to arbitrate is reviewed de novo.  See Kummetz v. Tech Mold, Inc., 152 F.3d 1153, 1154 (9th Cir. 1998).  The meaning of an agreement to arbitrate is a question of law reviewed de novo.  See Wolsey, Ltd. v. Foodmaker, Inc., 144 F.3d 1205, 1211 (9th Cir. 1998).

 

Confirmation[9] or vacation[10] of an arbitration award is reviewed de novo.  See First Options, Inc. v. Kaplan, 514 U.S. 938, 948 (1995); New Agency Productions, Inc., v. Nippon Herald Films, Inc., 501 F.3d 1101, 1105 (9th Cir. 2007); see also  Poweragent v. Electronic Data Systems Corp., 358 F.3d 1187, 1193 (9th Cir. 2004) (noting review of the award is “both limited and highly deferential”).[11]

 

The Supreme Court has stated that “ordinary, not special standards” should be applied in reviewing the trial court’s decision upholding arbitration awards.  See First Options, 514 U.S. at 948.  Nonetheless, a labor arbitrator’s award is entitled to “nearly unparalleled degree of deference.”  See Teamsters Local Union 58 v. BOC Gases, 249 F.3d 1089, 1093 (9th Cir. 2001) (internal quotation omitted); Grammer v. Artists Agency, 287 F.3d 886, 890 (9th Cir. 2002).  Courts must defer “as long as the arbitrator even arguably construed or applied the contract.”  See Teamsters Local Union 58, 249 F.3d at 1093 (quoting United Paperworkers Int’l Union v. Misco, Inc., 484 U.S. 29, 38 (1987)).[12]

An arbitrator’s factual findings are presumed correct, rebuttable only by a clear preponderance of the evidence.  See Grammer v. Artists Agency, 287 F.3d 886, 891 (9th Cir. 2002).  Factual findings underlying the district court’s decision are reviewed for clear error.  See Sink v. Aden Enter., Inc., 352 F.3d 1197, 1199 (9th Cir. 2003); Woods v. Saturn Distrib. Corp., 78 F.3d 424, 427 (9th Cir. 1996).  The court’s adoption of a standard of impartiality for arbitration is reviewed de novo.  See id. 

 

Review of a foreign arbitration award is circumscribed.  See Ministry of Defense & Support for the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran v. Cubic Def. Sys, Inc., 665 F.3d 1091, 1103 (9th Cir. 2011); China Nat’l Metal Prods. Import/Export Co. v. Apex Digital, Inc., 379 F.3d 796, 799 (9th Cir. 2004) (court reviews whether the party established a defense under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, not the merits of the underlying arbitration); Ministry of Defense v. Gould, Inc., 969 F.2d 764, 770 (9th Cir. 1992) (“The court shall confirm the award unless it finds one of the grounds for refusal or deferral of recognition or enforcement of the award specified in the [New York] Convention.” (internal quotation marks and citation omitted)).

9.       Bifurcation

 

The trial court’s decision to bifurcate a trial is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Hangarter v. Provident Life and Accident Ins. Co., 373 F.3d 998, 1021 (9th Cir. 2004); Danjaq LLC v. Sony Corp., 263 F.3d 942, 961 (9th Cir. 2001) (bifurcating laches from liability at start of trial); Hilao v. Estate of Marcos, 103 F.3d 767, 782 (9th Cir. 1996) (trifurcation).  The court has broad discretion to order separate trials under Fed. R. Civ. P. 42(b).  See M2 Software, Inc. v. Madacy Entm’t, Corp., 421 F.3d 1073, 1088 (9th Cir. 2005); Zivkovic v. Southern California Edison Co., 302 F.3d 1080, 1088 (9th Cir. 2002).  The court will set aside a severance order only for an abuse of discretion.  See Coleman v. Quaker Oats Co., 232 F.3d 1271, 1297 (9th Cir. 2000).

10.     Burden of Proof

 

The district’s court’s allocation of the burden of proof is a conclusion of law reviewed de novo.  See Molski v. Foley Estates Vineyard and Winery, LLC, 531 F.3d 1043, 1046 (9th Cir. 2008); Ferrari, Alvarez, Olsen & Ottoboni v. Home Ins. Co., 940 F.2d 550, 555 (9th Cir. 1991).[13]  Note that a trial court’s error in allocating the burden of proof is subject to harmless error analysis.  See Kennedy v. Southern California Edison Co., 268 F.3d 763, 770 (9th Cir. 2001).

11.     Case Management

         

The trial court’s decisions regarding management of litigation are reviewed only for an abuse of discretion.  See Preminger v. Peake, 552 F.3d 757, 769 n.11 (9th Cir. 2008); FTC v. Enforma Natural Products, 362 F.3d 1204, 1212 (9th Cir. 2004); Jorgensen v. Cassiday, 320 F.3d 906, 913 (9th Cir. 2003) (noting “broad discretion”).  District courts have inherent power to control their dockets as long as exercise of that discretion does not nullify the procedural choices reserved to parties under the federal rules.  See United States v. W.R. Grace, 526 F.3d 499, 509 (9th Cir. 2008) (en banc) (noting judges have substantial discretion over what happens inside the courtroom); Southern California Edison v. Lynch, 307 F.3d 794, 807 (9th Cir. 2002) (noting due process limitations).  A trial court’s decision regarding time limits on a trial is also reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Navellier v. Sletten, 262 F.3d 923, 941-42 (9th Cir. 2001).[14]  A dismissal for failure to comply with an order requiring submission of pleadings within a designated time is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Pagtalunan v. Galaza, 291 F.3d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 2002) (habeas).

12.     Certification to State Court

 

Certification of a legal issue to a state court lies within the discretion of the federal court.  See Micomonaco v. Washington, 45 F.3d 316, 322 (9th Cir. 1995).[15]  Review of the district court’s decision whether to certify is for an abuse of discretion.  See Riordan v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 589 F.3d 999, 1009 (9th Cir. 2009); Louie v. United States, 776 F.2d 819, 824 (9th Cir. 1985).  Note that the court of appeals has discretion to certify questions to state courts.  See Commonwealth Utils. Corp. v. Goltens Trading & Eng’g, 313 F.3d 541, 548-49 (9th Cir. 2002) (declining to certify); Ashmus v. Woodford, 202 F.3d 1160, 1164 n.6 (9th Cir. 2000) (same). 

13.     Claim Preclusion

 

See III. Civil Proceedings, B. Pretrial Decisions in Civil Cases, 71. Res Judicata.

14.     Class Actions

 

A district court’s decision regarding class certification is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. [16]  See Parra v. Bashas’, Inc., 536 F.3d 975, 977 (9th Cir. 2008).  A court abuses its discretion if it applies an impermissible legal criterion.  See Hawkins v. Comparet-Cassani, 251 F.3d 1230, 1237 (9th Cir. 2001).  The district court’s decision must be supported by sufficient findings to be entitled to the traditional deference given to such a determination.  See Narouz v. Charter Communications, LLC, 591 F.3d 1261, 1266 (9th Cir. 2010); Local Joint Executive Trust Fund v. Las Vegas Sands, Inc., 244 F.3d 1152, 1161 (9th Cir. 2001). 

 

Whether an ERISA claim may be brought as a class action is a question of law reviewed de novo.  See Kayes v. Pacific Lumber Co., 51 F.3d 1449, 1462 (9th Cir. 1995).

 

Review of the district court’s rulings regarding notice is de novo.  See Silber v. Mabon, 18 F.3d 1449, 1453 (9th Cir. 1994).  Whether notice of a proposed settlement in a class action satisfies due process is a question of law reviewed de novo.  See Torrisi v. Tucson Elec. Power Co., 8 F.3d 1370, 1374 (9th Cir. 1993). 

 

The denial of a motion to opt out of a class action is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Silber, 18 F.3d at 1455.

 

The district court’s decision to approve or reject a proposed settlement in a class action is reviewed for an abuse of discretion, and such review is extremely limited.  See In re Mego Financial Corp. Sec. Lit. (Dunleavy v. Nadler), 213 F.3d 454, 458 (9th Cir. 2000).[17]

 

The district court’s approval of an allocation plan for a settlement in a class action is also reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See In re Veritas Software Corp. Secs. Litig., 496 F.3d 962, 968 (9th Cir. 2007); In re Exxon Valdez, 229 F.3d 790, 795 (9th Cir. 2000); In re Mego Financial Corp., 213 F.3d at 460.  Whether the court has jurisdiction to enforce a class settlement is a question of law reviewed de novo.  Arata v. Nu Skin Int’l, Inc., 96 F.3d 1265, 1268 (9th Cir. 1996).

 

An award of attorneys’ fees in a class action and the choice of method for determining fees are reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See In re Mercury Interactive Corp. Sec. Litig., 618 F.3d 988, 992 (9th Cir. 2010); Powers v. Eichen, 229 F.3d 1249, 1256 (9th Cir. 2000) (explaining the district court has broad authority over awards of attorneys’ fees in class actions). 

 

See also III. Civil Proceedings, D. Post-Trial Decisions in Civil Cases, 2. Attorneys’ Fees, f. Class Action.

15.     Collateral Estoppel

 

Issues regarding collateral estoppel (issue preclusion) are reviewed de novo.  See Littlejohn v. United States, 321 F.3d 915, 919 (9th Cir. 2003) (noting mixed questions of law and fact).[18]  The preclusive effect of a prior judgment is a question of law reviewed de novo.  See Far Out Prod., Inc. v. Oskar, 247 F.3d 986, 993 (9th Cir. 2001).[19] 

16.     Complaints

 

The trial court’s decision to permit[20] or deny[21] amendment to a complaint is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  The discretion is particularly broad where a plaintiff has previously been permitted leave to amend.  See Telesaurus VPC, LLC v. Power, 623 F.3d 998, 1003 (9th Cir. 2010); Metzler Inv. GMBH v. Corinthian Colleges, Inc., 540 F.3d 1049, 1072 (9th Cir. 2008).[22]  Dismissal of a complaint without leave to amend is improper unless it is clear upon de novo review that the complaint could not be saved by any amendment.  See Thinket Ink Information Res., Inc. v. Sun Microsystems, Inc., 368 F.3d 1053, 1061 (9th Cir. 2004).[23]

 

A district court’s order denying or granting a Rule 15(b) motion to conform the pleadings in a complaint to the evidence presented at trial is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Rosenbaum v. City and County of San Francisco, 484 F.3d 1142, 1151 (9th Cir. 2007) (reviewing denial of Rule 15(b) motion); Madeja v. Olympic Packers, 310 F.3d 628, 635 (9th Cir. 2002) (same); Galindo v. Stoody Co., 793 F.2d 1502, 1512-13 (9th Cir. 1986) (reviewing whether district court properly amended pleadings).

 

Dismissals of a complaint reviewed de novo include:

 

·        Dismissal for lack of subject matter under Rule 12(b)(1).  See Viewtech, Inc., v. United States, 653 F.3d 1102, 1103-04 (9th Cir. 2011); Carson Harbor Village, Ltd. v. City of Carson, 353 F.3d 824, 826 (9th Cir. 2004); Warren v. Fox Family Worldwide , Inc., 328 F.3d 1136, 1139 (9th Cir. 2003).   

·           Dismissal for failure to state claim under Rule 12(b)(6).  See Doughtery v. City of Covina, 654 F.3d 892, 897 (9th Cir. 2011); Miller v. Yokohama Tire Corp., 358 F.3d 616, 619 (9th Cir. 2004); Thompson v. Davis, 295 F.3d 890, 895 (9th Cir. 2002).

·           Dismissals under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.  See Hamilton v. Brown, 630 F.3d 889, 892 (9th Cir. 2011); Ramirez v. Galaza, 334 F.3d 850, 853-54 (9th Cir. 2003).

 

Dismissals of a complaint reviewed for abuse of discretion include:

 

·           Dismissal with prejudice for failure to comply with the court’s order to amend the complaint.  See Ordonez v. Johnson, 254 F.3d 814, 815 (9th Cir. 2001) (per curiam); McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1177 (9th Cir. 1996). 

·           Dismissal for failure to serve a timely summons and complaint.  See In re Sheehan, 253 F.3d 507, 511 (9th Cir. 2001).

·           Dismissal for failure to comply with an order requiring submission of pleadings within a designated time is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Pagtalunan v. Galaza, 291 F.3d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 2002) (habeas). 

·           A district court’s decision to grant or deny a party’s request to supplement a complaint pursuant to Rule 15(d) is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Planned Parenthood of S. Ariz. v. Neely, 130 F.3d 400, 402 (9th Cir. 1997); Keith v. Volpe, 858 F.2d 467, 473 (9th Cir. 1988).

          17.     Consolidation

 

A district court has broad discretion to consolidate cases pending within the same district.  See Investors Research Co. v. United States Dist. Court, 877 F.2d 777, 777 (9th Cir. 1989) (order); see also Pierce v. County of Orange, 526 F.3d 1190, 1203 (9th Cir. 2008).  The court’s decision to deny a motion for consolidation is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Washington v. Daley, 173 F.3d 1158, 1169 n.13 (9th Cir. 1999).

 

A district court’s discretion to consolidate the hearing on a request for a preliminary injunction with the trial on the merits is “very broad and will not be overturned on appeal absent a showing of substantial prejudice in the sense that a party was not allowed to present material evidence.”  Michenfelder v. Sumner, 860 F.2d 328, 337 (9th Cir. 1988) (internal quotation omitted).  Ordinarily, when the district court does so, its findings of fact are reviewed for clear error and its legal conclusions are reviewed de novo.  See Gentala v. City of Tucson, 244 F.3d 1065, 1071 (9th Cir.) (en banc), vacated on other grounds, 534 U.S. 946 (2001).  When the facts are undisputed, however, review is de novo.  See id.

 

The district court’s consolidation of bankruptcy proceedings is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See In re Bonham, 229 F.3d 750, 769 (9th Cir. 2000); In re Corey, 892 F.2d 829, 836 (9th Cir. 1989).  The NLRB’s refusal to consolidate separate proceedings is also reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See NLRB v. Kolkka, 170 F.3d 937, 942-43 (9th Cir. 1999).

 

On habeas review of a state conviction, “the propriety of a consolidation rests within the sound discretion of the state trial judge.”  Fields v. Woodford, 309 F.3d 1095, 1110 (9th Cir.), amended by 315 F.3d 1062 (9th Cir. 2002) (citation omitted); Featherstone v. Estelle, 948 F.2d 1497, 1503 (9th Cir. 1991). 

18.     Constitutionality of Regulations

 

The constitutionality of a regulation is a question of law reviewed de novo.  See Preminger v. Peake, 552 F.3d 757, 765 n.7 (9th Cir. 2008); Doe v. Rumsfeld, 435 F.3d 980, 984 (9th Cir. 2006); Gonzalez v. Metropolitan Transp. Auth., 174 F.3d 1016, 1018 (9th Cir. 1999); Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters v. Dep’t of Transp., 932 F.2d 1292, 1298 (9th Cir. 1991).

19.     Constitutionality of Statutes

 

A challenge to the constitutionality of a federal statute is reviewed de novo.  See Doe v. Rumsfeld, 435 F.3d 980, 984 (9th Cir. 2006).[24]  When the district court upholds a restriction on speech, this court conducts an independent, de novo examination of the facts.  See Free Speech Coalition v. Reno, 198 F.3d 1083, 1090 (9th Cir. 1999).[25]

 

A district court’s ruling on the constitutionality of a state statute is reviewed de novo.  See American Academy of Pain Mgmt. v. Joseph, 353 F.3d 1099, 1103 (9th Cir. 2004) (reviewing California statute).[26]  The severability of an unconstitutional provision of a state statute presents a question of law reviewed de novo.  See Arizona Libertarian Party, Inc. v. Bayless, 351 F.3d 1277, 1283 (9th Cir. 2003).  Whether a state law is subject to a facial constitutional challenge is an issue of law reviewed de novo.  Southern Oregon Barter Fair v. Jackson County, Oregon, 372 F.3d 1128, 1134 (9th Cir. 2004).

20.     Contempt

 

A court’s civil contempt order is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. Irwin v. Mascott, 370 F.3d 924, 931 (9th Cir. 2004).[27]  Underlying findings made in connection with the order of civil contempt are reviewed for clear error.  See id.  The trial court’s decision to impose sanctions or punishment for contempt is also reviewed for abuse of discretion.  See Hook v. Arizona Dep’t of Corr., 107 F.3d 1397, 1403 (9th Cir. 1997).  An award of attorney’s fees for civil contempt is within the discretion of the district court.  Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Legal & Professional Publications, Inc. v. Multistate Legal Studies, Inc., 26 F.3d 948, 953 (9th Cir. 1994).  Whether the district court provided the alleged contemnor due process, however, is a legal question subject to de novo review.  See Thomas, Head & Greisen Employees Trust v. Buster, 95 F.3d 1449, 1458 (9th Cir. 1996); see also Lasar v. Ford Motor Co., 399 F.3d 1101, 1109 (9th Cir. 2005). 

 

The district court’s “finding” of contempt under 28 U.S.C. § 1826 is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  In re Grand Jury Proceedings, 40 F.3d 959, 961 (9th Cir. 1994) (per curiam).

 

See also III. Civil Proceedings, B. Pretrial Decisions in Civil Cases, 74. Sanctions.

21.     Continuances

 

The decision to grant or deny a continuance is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Danjaq LLC v. Sony Corp., 263 F.3d 942, 961 (9th Cir. 2001).  Whether a denial of a continuance constitutes an abuse of discretion depends on a consideration of the facts of each case.  See Hawaiian Rock Prods. Corp. v. A.E. Lopez Enters., Ltd., 74 F.3d 972, 976 (9th Cir. 1996).

 

The denial of a motion for a continuance of summary judgment pending further discovery is also reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Tatum v. City and County of San Francisco, 441 F.3d 1090, 1100 (9th Cir. 2006); United States v. Kitsap Physicians Serv., 314 F.3d 995, 1000 (9th Cir. 2002).[28]  A district court abuses its discretion only if the movant diligently pursued its previous discovery opportunities, and if the movant can show how allowing additional discovery would have precluded summary judgment.  See Chance v. Pac-Tel Teletrac Inc., 242 F.3d 1151, 1161 n.6 (9th Cir. 2001).[29]  Note that when a trial judge fails to address a Rule 56(f) motion before granting summary judgment, the omission is reviewed de novo.  See Bias v. Moynihan, 508 F.3d 1212, 1223 (9th Cir. 2007); Margolis v. Ryan, 140 F.3d 850, 853 (9th Cir. 1998).

 

A district court’s decision to stay a civil trial is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 706 (1997).[30]

22.     Counterclaims

 

Summary judgment on a counterclaim is reviewed de novo.  See Cigna Property & Casualty Ins. Co. v. Polaris Pictures Corp., 159 F.3d 412, 418 (9th Cir. 1998).  The dismissal of a counterclaim is reviewed de novo.  See City of Auburn v. Qwest Corp., 260 F.3d 1160, 1171 (9th Cir. 2001) (ripeness), overruled on other grounds by Sprint Telephone PCS, L.P. v. County of San Diego, 543 F.3d 571 (9th Cir. 2008).  The court’s refusal to strike counterclaims is reviewed de novo.  See United States ex rel. Newsham v. Lockheed Missiles & Space Co., 190 F.3d 963, 968 (9th Cir. 1999). 

The court’s decision to dismiss a counterclaim after voluntary dismissal of plaintiff’s claims is reviewed for an abuse to discretion.  See Smith v. Lenches, 263 F.3d 972, 977 (9th Cir. 2001).  The district court’s denial of leave to amend a counterclaim is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See California Dep’t of Toxic Substances Control v. Neville Chem. Co., 358 F.3d 661, 673 (9th Cir. 2004); Unigard Sec. Ins. Co. v. Lakewood Eng’g & Mfg. Corp., 982 F.2d 363, 371 (9th Cir. 1992) (reviewing district court’s order granting leave to amend).  Likewise, the court’s refusal to allow a party to add a counterclaim is reviewed for abuse of discretion.  See Brother Records, Inc. v. Jardine, 318 F.3d 900, 910-11 (9th Cir. 2003), implied overruling on other grounds as recognized by Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. v. Tabari, 610 F.3d 1171, 1183 (9th Cir. 2010).

23.     Declaratory Relief

 

The trial court’s decision whether to exercise jurisdiction over a declaratory judgment action is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Wilton v. Seven Falls Co., 515 U.S. 277, 289‑90 (1995); R.R. Street & Co. Inc. v. Transport Ins. Co., 656 F.3d 966, 973 (9th Cir. 2011);  Rhoades v. Avon Prods., Inc., 504 F.3d 1151, 1156-57 (9th Cir. 2007).[31]  A trial court may abuse its discretion by failing to provide a party an adequate opportunity to be heard when the court contemplates granting an unrequested declaratory judgment ruling.  See Fordyce v. City of Seattle, 55 F.3d 436, 442 (9th Cir. 1995).

 

Review of the court’s decision granting or denying declaratory relief is de novo.  See Wagner v. Professional Engineers in California Government, 354 F.3d 1036, 1040 (9th Cir. 2004); Ablang v. Reno, 52 F.3d 801, 803 (9th Cir. 1995).

24.     Discovery

 

The court of appeals reviews the district court’s rulings concerning discovery for an abuse of discretion.  See Preminger v. Peake, 552 F.3d 757, 768 n.10 (9th Cir. 2008); Childress v. Darby Lumber, Inc., 357 F.3d 1000, 1009 (9th Cir. 2004).  A district court is vested with broad discretion to permit or deny discovery, and a decision to deny discovery will not be disturbed except upon the clearest showing that the denial of discovery results in actual and substantial prejudice to the complaining litigant.”  Laub v. United States Dep’t of Interior, 342 F.3d 1080, 1084, 1093 (9th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).[32]

 

Following are specific examples of decisions related to discovery that are reviewed for abuse of discretion:

 

·        Denial of discovery.  See California Dep’t of Social Servs. v. Leavitt, 523 F.3d 1025, 1031 (9th Cir. 2008); Hall v. Norton, 266 F.3d 969, 977 (9th Cir. 2001). 

·        Ruling limiting the scope of discovery.  See Legal Aid Servs. of Oregon v. Legal Servs. Corp., 608 F.3d 1084, 1093 (9th Cir. 2010); Blackburn v. United States, 100 F.3d 1426, 1436 (9th Cir. 1996). 

·        Decision to stay discovery.  See Alaska Cargo Transp., Inc. v. Alaska R.R., 5 F.3d 378, 383 (9th Cir. 1993). 

·        Decision to cut off discovery.  See Villegas‑Valenzuela v. INS, 103 F.3d 805, 813 (9th Cir. 1996). 

·        Permission of a party to withdraw a prior admission is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. See Sonoda v. Cabrera, 255 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2001) (citing Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 36(b)).

·        Order compelling a party to comply with discovery requests is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Epstein v. MCA, Inc., 54 F.3d 1422, 1423 (9th Cir. 1995) (per curiam). 

The district court’s decision not to permit additional discovery pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(f) is also reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Morton v. Hall, 599 F.3d 942, 945 (9th Cir. 2010); Burlington Northern Santa Fe RR Co. v. Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, 323 F.3d 767, 773-74 (9th Cir. 2003).[33]  “We will only find that the district court abused its discretion if the movant diligently pursued its previous discovery opportunities, and if the movant can show how allowing additional discovery would have precluded summary judgment.”  Qualls v. Blue Cross, Inc., 22 F.3d 839, 844 (9th Cir. 1994).[34]  If a trial judge fails to address a Rule 56(f) motion before granting summary judgment, the omission is reviewed de novo.  See Margolis v. Ryan, 140 F.3d 850, 853 (9th Cir. 1998).[35]

 

Whether information sought by discovery is relevant may involve an interpretation of law that is reviewed de novo.  See Cacique, Inc. v. Robert Reiser & Co., 169 F.3d 619, 622 (9th Cir. 1998) (state law); but see Surfvivor Media, Inc. v. Survivor Productions, 406 F.3d 625, 630 n.2 (9th Cir. 2005).  “Enforcing a discovery request for irrelevant information is a per se abuse of discretion.”  Cacique, Inc., 169 F.3d at 622.

 

Issues regarding limitations imposed on discovery by application of the attorney‑client privilege are governed by federal common law.  See Clarke v. American Commerce Nat’l Bank, 974 F.2d 127, 129 (9th Cir. 1992).  The district court’s rulings on the scope of the attorney‑client privilege are reviewed de novo.  See id. at 130.

 

A district court interpretation of 28 U.S.C. § 1782, permitting domestic discovery of use in foreign proceedings, is reviewed de novo but its application of that statute to the facts of the case is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. v. Intel Corp., 292 F.3d 664, 666 (9th Cir. 2002).

a.       Discovery Sanctions

 

The imposition of or refusal to impose discovery sanctions is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Goodman v. Staples The Office Superstore, LLC, 644 F.3d 817, 822 (9th Cir. 2011); Childress v. Darby Lumber, Inc., 357 F.3d 1000, 1010 (9th Cir. 2004); Paladin Assocs., Inc. v. Montana Power Co., 328 F.3d 1145, 1164-65 (9th Cir. 2003).[36]  Findings of fact underlying discovery sanctions are reviewed for clear error.  Payne v. Exxon Corp., 121 F.3d 503, 507 (9th Cir. 1997).  If the district court fails to make factual findings, the decision on a motion for sanctions is reviewed de novo.  See Adriana Int’l Corp. v. Thoeren, 913 F.2d 1406, 1408 (9th Cir. 1990). 

 

Note that when the imposition of discovery sanctions turn on the resolution of a legal issue, review is de novo.  See Goodman, 644 F.3d at 822; Palmer v. Pioneer Inn Assoc., Ltd., 338 F.3d 981, 985 (9th Cir. 2003).  The court’s refusal to hold an evidentiary hearing prior to imposing discovery sanctions is also reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Paladin, 328 F.3d at 1164.  Whether discovery sanctions against the government are barred by sovereign immunity is a question of law reviewed de novo.  See United States v. Woodley, 9 F.3d 774, 781 (9th Cir. 1993).

b.      Protective Orders

 

This court reviews the grant or denial of a protective order for an abuse of discretion.  See Flatow v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 308 F.3d 1065, 1069 (9th Cir. 2002).[37]  The decision whether to lift or modify a protective order is also reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  Phillips ex rel. Estates of Byrd v. General Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1210 (9th Cir. 2002); Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2003) (refusal to modify).  Whether the lower court used the correct legal standard in granting a protective order is reviewed de novo.  See Phillips ex. Rel. Estates of Byrd, 307 F.3d at 1210.  When the order itself is not directly appealed, but is challenged only by the denial of a motion for reconsideration, review is for an abuse of discretion.  See McDowell v. Calderon, 197 F.3d 1253, 1255-56 (9th Cir. 1999) (en banc). 

 

When reviewing a district court’s decision whether to overturn a magistrate judge’s protective order, this court reviews under a “clearly erroneous or contrary to law” standard.  Rivera v. NIBCO, Inc., 364 F.3d 1057, 1063 (9th Cir. 2004).

25.     Dismissals

 

A dismissal with leave to amend is reviewed de novo.  See Kennedy v. Southern California Edison, Co., 268 F.3d 763, 767 (9th Cir. 2001); Sameena Inc. v. United States Air Force, 147 F.3d 1148, 1151 (9th Cir. 1998).  Note there may be a question whether a dismissal with leave to amend is a final, appealable order.  See Disabled Rights Action Committee v. Las Vegas Events, Inc., 375 F.3d 861, 870 (9th Cir. 2004); Does I thru XXIII v. Advances Textile Corp., 214 F.3d 1058, 1066-67 (9th Cir. 2000).

 

Note that the district court’s decision to grant leave to amend is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Nat’l Audubon Soc’y v. Davis, 307 F.3d 835, 853 (9th Cir.), amended by 312 F.3d 416 (9th Cir. 2002); see also Metrophones Telecomms., Inc., v. Global Crossing Telecomms., Inc., 423 F.3d 1056, 1063 (9th Cir. 2005).

 

A dismissal without leave to amend is reviewed de novo.  See Smith v. Pacific Props. & Dev. Corp., 358 F.3d 1097, 1100 (9th Cir. 2004) (noting underlying legal determinations require de novo review); Oki Semiconductor Co. v. Wells Fargo Bank, 298 F.3d 768, 772 (9th Cir. 2002). 

 

Dismissal without leave to amend is improper unless it is clear, upon de novo review that the complaint could not be saved by any amendment.  See AE ex rel. Hernandez v. County of Tulare, 666 F.3d 631, 636 (9th Cir. 2012); Jewel v. Nat’l Sec. Agency, 673 F.3d 902, 903 n.3 (9th Cir. 2011); Thinket Ink Info Res., Inc. v. Sun Microsystems, Inc., 368 F.3d 1053, 1061 (9th Cir. 2004).[38]  Dismissal of a pro se complaint without leave to amend is proper only if it is clear that the deficiencies of the complaint could not be cured by amendment.  Lucas v. Dep’t of Corr., 66 F.3d 245, 248 (9th Cir. 1995); see also Flowers v. First Hawaiian Bank, 295 F.3d 966, 976 (9th Cir. 2002) (noting that court is cautious in approving a district court’s decision to deny pro se litigant leave to amend).

 

The court reviews de novo dismissals based on the following:

 

·        Failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). See Kahle v. Gonzales, 487 F.3d 697, 699 (9th Cir. 2007); Knievel v. ESPN, 393 F.3d 1068, 1072 (9th Cir. 2005).[39]  For more information, see III. Civil Proceedings, B. Pretrial Decisions in Civil Cases, 32. Failure to State a Claim.

·        Venue.  See Meyers v. Bennett Law Offices, 238 F.3d 1068, 1071 (9th Cir. 2001).

·        Immunity.  See Olsen v. Idaho State Bd. of Medicine, 363 F.3d 916, 922 (9th Cir. 2004) (absolute immunity)[40]; Blaxland v. Commonwealth Dir. of Public Prosecutions, 323 F.3d 1198, 1203 (9th Cir. 2003) (foreign sovereign immunity)[41]; Steel v. United States, 813 F.2d 1545, 1548 (9th Cir. 1987) (sovereign immunity); Manistee Town Ctr. v. City of Glendale, 227 F.3d 1090, 1092 n.2 (9th Cir. 2000) (Noerr-Pennington immunity).  For more information, see III. Civil Proceedings, B. Pretrial Decisions in Civil Cases, 36. Immunities. 

·