Table of Contents

III. CIVIL PROCEEDINGS. 1

A.. Introduction. 1

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

2.   Affirming on Alternative Grounds. 2

B.. Pretrial Decisions in Civil Cases. 2

1.   Absolute Immunity. 2

2.   Abstention. 3

3.   Affirmative Defenses. 3

4.   Amended Complaints 4

5.   Answers 5

6.   Appointment of Counsel 6

7.   Appointment of Guardian Ad Litem.. 6

8.   Arbitration. 7

9.   Bifurcation. 10

10. Burden of Proof 10

12. Certification to State Court 11

13. Claim Preclusion. 11

14. Class Actions 12

15. Collateral Estoppel 13

16. Complaints 14

17. Consolidation. 16

18. Constitutionality of Regulations. 17

19. Constitutionality of Statutes. 17

20. Contempt 18

21. Continuances. 19

22. Counterclaims 20

23. Declaratory Relief 20

24. Discovery. 21

a.  Discovery Sanctions 24

b.  Protective Orders 24

25. Dismissals. 25

26. Disqualifying Counsel 31

27. Disqualifying the Judge (Recusal) 31

28. Diversity Jurisdiction. 31

29. Equitable Estoppel and Equitable Tolling. 32

30. Evidentiary Hearings. 33

31. Exhaustion. 34

32. Failure to State a Claim.. 34

33. Forum Non Conveniens 37

34. Forum Selection Clauses. 37

35. Frivolousness. 38

36. Immunities. 39

37. Impleader 42

38. In Forma Pauperis Status 42

39. Inherent Powers. 43

40. Injunctions 43

41. Interlocutory Appeals 46

42. Intervention. 48

43. Involuntary Dismissal 49

44. Issue Preclusion. 49

45. Joinder/Indispensable Party. 49

46. Judgment on the Pleadings. 51

47. Judicial Estoppel 51

48. Judicial Notice. 52

49. Jurisdiction. 52

50. Jury Demand. 52

51. Laches. 53

53. Law of the Case. 53

54. Leave to Amend. 54

55. Local Rules. 56

56. Magistrate Judges. 57

57. Mandamus 57

58. Mootness. 58

59. Motions In Limine. 58

60. Oral Argument 59

61. Pendent Jurisdiction. 59

62. Personal Jurisdiction. 59

63. Preemption. 60

64. Preliminary Injunctions 60

65. Pretrial Conferences. 60

66. Pretrial Orders 61

67. Primary Jurisdiction. 61

68. Protective Orders 62

69. Qualified Immunity. 62

70. Recusal 63

71. Removal 63

72. Res Judicata. 64

73. Ripeness 65

74. Rooker-Feldman. 66

75. Sanctions. 66

a.  Local Rules. 67

b.  Supervision of Attorneys. 67

c.  Inherent Powers. 67

d.  Contempt 68

e.  28 U.S.C. § 1927. 68

f.   Discovery Sanctions 69

76. Service of Process. 69

77. Severance. 70

78. Sovereign Immunity. 70

79. Special Masters. 71

80. Standing. 71

81. Stare Decisis. 72

82. Statutes of Limitation. 72

83. Stays 73

84. Striking. 74

85. Subject Matter Jurisdiction. 75

86. Subpoenas 75

87. Substitution of Parties. 76

88. Summary Judgment 77

a.  Generally. 77

b.  Related Decisions. 79

c.  Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) Cases. 80

89. Summons. 80

90. Supplemental Complaints 81

91. Supplemental Jurisdiction. 81

92. Venue. 82

93. Vexatious Litigants. 83

94. Voir Dire. 83

95. Voluntary Dismissals 83

C.. Trial Decisions in Civil Cases. 84

1.   Alter Ego. 84

2.   Authentication. 84

3.   Bench Trials. 84

4.   Best Evidence Rule. 85

5.   Bifurcation. 85

6.   Choice of Laws. 86

7.   Closing Arguments. 87

8.   Credibility Findings. 87

9.   Cross-Examination. 88

10. Directed Verdict 88

11. Evidentiary Rulings. 88

a.  Generally. 88

b.  Attorney Testimony. 89

c.  Extra-Record Evidence. 89

d.  Fed. R. Evid. 702. 89

e.  Hearsay. 90

f.   Best Evidence Rule. 90

12. Experts 91

13. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 92

14. Foreign Law.. 92

15. Hearsay. 93

16. Judgment as a Matter of Law.. 94

17. Juror Partiality, Bias and Misconduct 94

18. Jury Instructions 95

19. Jury Selection. 97

20. Jury Verdicts 97

21. Opening Statements 99

22. Parol Evidence. 99

23. Proximate Cause. 100

24. Regulations 100

25. State Law.. 101

26. Statutes 103

27. Substantive Areas of Law.. 104

a.  Admiralty. 104

b.  Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) 106

c.  Antitrust 108

d.  Bankruptcy. 109

e.  Bivens Actions. 115

f.   Civil Rights. 116

g.  Constitutional Law.. 119

h.  Contracts. 120

i.   Copyright 123

j.   Declaratory Judgment Act 126

k.  Defamation. 126

l. Employment Discrimination. 127

i.   Jury Instructions 129

ii.  Choice of Remedies. 129

iii. Attorneys’ Fees. 129

iv. Equal Pay Act 130

v.  Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) 130

m. Environmental Law.. 131

i.   National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) 131

ii.  Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) 133

iii. Clean Air Act (“CAA”) 134

iv. Clean Water Act (“CWA”) 134

v.  Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) 135

vi. Attorneys’ Fees Generally. 136

n.  ERISA.. 137

q.  False Claims Act (“FCA”) 140

r.  Federal Employers Liability Act (“FELA”) 141

s.  Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) 142

t.   Feres Doctrine. 143

u.  Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) 144

v.  Immigration. 145

i.   Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) 145

1. Generally. 145

2. De Novo Review.. 147

3. Substantial Evidence. 148

4. Abuse of Discretion. 149

5. Asylum.. 151

6. Convention Against Torture. 152

7. Cancellation of Removal 152

ii.  District Court Appeals 152

w. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) 154

x.  Labor Law.. 156

i.      Arbitration. 156

ii.     Collective Bargaining Agreement 157

iii.    Labor Management Relations Act 157

iv.    National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) 158

v.     Federal Labor Relations Authority (“FLRA”) 160

vi.    Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act 161

vii.   Jones Act 162

viii.  Railway Labor Act (“RLA”) 163

ix.    Black Lung Benefits Act 163

x.     Miscellaneous. 164

y.  Negligence. 164

z.  Securities. 164

aa. Social Security. 166

bb. Tariffs. 166

cc. Tax  167

dd. Title VII 170

ee. Trademark. 170

ff. Warsaw Convention. 173

28. Supervising Trials 173

29. Supplemental Jury Instructions 174

30. Territorial Laws. 174

a.  Guam.. 174

b.  Northern Mariana Islands. 175

31. Treaties. 175

32. Tribal Courts 176

33. Verdict Forms 178

D.. Post-Trial Decisions in Civil Cases. 179

1.   Appeals 179

2.   Attorneys’ Fees. 179

a.  Admiralty. 180

b.  Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) 180

c.  Antitrust 181

d.  Bankruptcy. 181

e.  Civil Rights. 181

f.   Class Actions 183

g.  Contracts. 183

h.  Copyright 183

i.   Environmental Laws. 184

j.   Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”) 185

k.  ERISA.. 185

l.   Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) 186

m. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) 187

n.  Inherent Powers. 187

o.  Removal 187

p.  Rule 68. 188

q.  Social Security. 188

r.  State Law.. 189

s.  Tax  189

t.   Title VII 189

u.  Trademark. 190

3.   Bonds. 190

4.   Certified Appeals 191

5.   Choice of Remedies. 192

6.   Consent Decrees. 192

7.   Costs. 193

8.   Damages. 194

a.  Liquidated. 195

b.  Punitive. 195

c.  Remittitur 196

9.   Default 197

10. Equitable Relief 198

11. Excusable Neglect 199

12. Fines. 199

13. Interest 199

14. Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict (“JNOV”) 200

15. Judgments 200

16. Mandates. 202

17. New Trials. 202

18. Permanent Injunctions 204

19. Reconsideration. 205

20. Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law.. 206

21. Reopening or Supplementing Record. 207

22. Sanctions. 207

a.  Generally. 207

b.  Rule 11. 208

c.  Local Rules. 208

d.  Supervision of Attorneys. 209

e.  Inherent Powers. 209

f.   Contempt 209

g.  Discovery Sanctions 210

h.  28 U.S.C. § 1927. 210

23. Settlements 211

24. Supersedeas Bonds. 212

25. Surety Bonds 212

26. Vacatur 213

27. Void Judgments 213

 

 


III.    Civil Proceedings

A.      Introduction

1.       Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

Findings of fact are reviewed for clear error.  See Yu v. Idaho State Univ., 15 F.4th 1236, 1241 (9th Cir. 2021); Landis v. Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Pub. Facilities Dist., 11 F.4th 1101, 1105 (9th Cir. 2021); Bello-Reyes v. Gaynor, 985 F.3d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 2021); Fed. Trade Comm’n v. Qualcomm Inc., 969 F.3d 974, 993 (9th Cir. 2020); Mull for Mull v. Motion Picture Indus. Health Plan, 865 F.3d 1207, 1209 (9th Cir. 2017); L.J. by & through Hudson v. Pittsburg Unified Sch. Dist., 850 F.3d 996, 1002 (9th Cir. 2017) (noting standard applies even when findings are based on the administrative record); Stetson v. Grissom, 821 F.3d 1157, 1163 (9th Cir. 2016); 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 Husain, 316 F.3d at 835.  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 Fed. Trade Comm’n, 969 F.3d at 993; Landis, 11 F.4th at 1105; Mull for Mull, 865 F.3d at 1209; Stetson, 821 F.3d at 1163; Husain, 316 F.3d at 835.

A mixed question of law and fact arises when the historical facts are established, the rule of law is undisputed, and the issue is whether the facts satisfy the legal rule.  See Pullman-Standard v. Swint, 456 U.S. 273, 289 n.19 (1982); see also U.S. Bank N.A. ex rel. CWCapital Asset Mgmt. LLC v. Vill. at Lakeridge, LLC, 138 S. Ct. 960, 967 (2018); In re Cherrett, 873 F.3d 1060, 1066 (9th Cir. 2017); Khan v. Holder, 584 F.3d 773, 780 (9th Cir. 2009); Suzy’s Zoo v. Comm’r, 273 F.3d 875, 878 (9th Cir. 2001) (stating that a mixed question “exists when primary facts are undisputed and ultimate inferences and legal consequences are in dispute”).  Mixed questions of law and fact generally require the consideration of legal concepts and the exercise of judgment about the values that animate legal principles.  See Smith v. Comm’r, 300 F.3d 1023, 1028 (9th Cir. 2002).

The Supreme Court has explained that

 

a reviewing court should try to break [a mixed question of law and fact] into its separate factual and legal parts, reviewing each according to the appropriate legal standard.  But when a question can be reduced no further, … “the standard of review for a mixed question all depends—on whether answering it entails primarily legal or factual work.”

Google LLC v. Oracle Am., Inc., 141 S. Ct. 1183, 1199 (2021).  For further discussion of mixed questions of law and fact, see I. Definitions, B. De Novo, 2. Mixed Questions of Law and Fact.

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 M & T Bank v. SFR Invs. Pool 1, LLC, 963 F.3d 854, 857 (9th Cir. 2020), cert. denied, 141 S. Ct. 2566 (2021); Fowler v. Guerin, 899 F.3d 1112, 1118 (9th Cir. 2018); Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Found., 862 F.3d 951, 974 (9th Cir. 2017); Kwan v. SanMedica Int’l, 854 F.3d 1088, 1093 (9th Cir. 2017); Kohler v. Bed Bath & Beyond of California, LLC, 780 F.3d 1260, 1263 (9th Cir. 2015); Forest Guardians v. U.S. Forest Serv., 329 F.3d 1089, 1097 (9th Cir. 2003).  “ ‘If the decision below is correct, it must be affirmed, even if the district court relied on the wrong grounds or wrong reasoning.’ ”  Godecke v. Kinetic Concepts, Inc., 937 F.3d 1201, 1213 (9th Cir. 2019) (quoting Cigna Property and Cas. Ins. Co. v. Polaris Pictures Corp., 159 F.3d 412, 418 (9th Cir. 1998)); see also Muniz v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 738 F.3d 214, 219 (9th Cir. 2013).

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).  See also Miller v. Gammie, 335 F.3d 889, 892 (9th Cir. 2003) (en banc) (reviewing appeal of district court’s order deferring a ruling on defendant’s motion for absolute immunity pending limited discovery as a writ of mandamus).  A dismissal based on absolute immunity is reviewed de novo.  See Garmon v. Cty. of Los Angeles, 828 F.3d 837, 842 (9th Cir. 2016); Olsen v. Idaho State Bd. of Medicine, 363 F.3d 916, 922 (9th Cir. 2004) (state board member).

2.       Abstention

A district court’s Younger abstention determination is reviewed de novo.  See Bean v. Matteucci, 986 F.3d 1128, 1132 (9th Cir. 2021); Rynearson v. Ferguson, 903 F.3d 920, 924 (9th Cir. 2018); Nationwide Biweekly Admin., Inc. v. Owen, 873 F.3d 716, 727 (9th Cir. 2017); 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).

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); see also Courthouse News Serv. v. Planet, 750 F.3d 776, 782 (9th Cir. 2014).  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 Courthouse News Serv., 750 F.3d at 782; Smelt, 447 F.3d at 678.

“The proper standard of review for the district court’s decision to abstain under O’Shea is unsettled.” Courthouse News Serv. v. Planet, 750 F.3d 776, 782 (9th Cir. 2014) (declining to decide which standard of review applies).  See also Miles v. Wesley, 801 F.3d 1060, 1063 (9th Cir. 2015) (same).

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).  However, if reviewing a legal issue, review is de novo.  See KST Data, Inc. v. DXC Tech. Co., 980 F.3d 709, 713 (9th Cir. 2020) (reviewing de novo question of whether filing of an amended complaint required defendant to file a new answer specifying affirmative defenses, because it was a legal issue involving the interpretation of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure); In re Hanford Nuclear Reservation Litig., 534 F.3d 986, 1000 (9th Cir. 2008) (reviewing de novo district court’s decision that affirmative defense was defense inapplicable as matter of law).  Whether an affirmative defense is waived is a question of law reviewed de novo.  See Owens v. Kaiser Found. Health Plan, Inc., 244 F.3d 708, 713 (9th Cir. 2001); see also Sheet Metal Workers’ Int’l Ass’n, Local Union 150 v. Air Sys. Eng’g, Inc., 831 F.2d 1509, 1510 (9th Cir. 1987) (reviewing de novo whether a defense to an arbitration award is waived by the failure to timely file an action to vacate).

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).

A district court’s determination to grant summary judgment on the affirmative defense of unclean hands is reviewed for abuse of discretion.  See Metal Jeans, Inc. v. Metal Sport, Inc., 987 F.3d 1242, 1245 (9th Cir. 2021).  However, the court still reviews “certain aspects of the district court’s decision, such as whether the district court inappropriately resolved any disputed material facts in reaching its decision, under the de novo standard that traditionally governs summary judgment review.”  Id. (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

4.       Amended Complaints

The trial court’s denial of a motion to amend a complaint is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Perez v. Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys., Inc., 959 F.3d 334, 340 (9th Cir. 2020); V.V.V. & Sons Edible Oils Ltd. v. Meenakshi Overseas, LLC, 946 F.3d 542, 545 (9th Cir. 2019); Branch Banking & Tr. Co. v. D.M.S.I., LLC, 871 F.3d 751, 760 (9th Cir. 2017); 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); 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; see also V.V.V. & Sons Edible Oils Ltd., 946 F.3d at 545; Ventress, 603 F.3d at 680.  The discretion is particularly broad where a plaintiff has previously been permitted leave to amend.  See Nguyen v. Endologix, Inc., 962 F.3d 405, 420 (9th Cir. 2020); Zucco Partners, LLC v. Digimarc Corp., 552 F.3d 981, 1007 (9th Cir. 2009) (as amended); 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).

While the denial of leave to amend is reviewed for an abuse of discretion, the court reviews the question of futility of amendment de novo.  See Cohen v. ConAgra Brands, Inc., 16 F.4th 1283, 1287 (9th Cir. 2021); Wochos v. Tesla, Inc., 985 F.3d 1180, 1197 (9th Cir. 2021).

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 Parents for Priv. v. Barr, 949 F.3d 1210, 1221 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 141 S. Ct. 894 (2020); 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).

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 United States v. Gila Valley Irrigation Dist., 859 F.3d 789, 804 (9th Cir. 2017); 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) (per curiam); McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1177 (9th Cir. 1996).

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 Howard v. City of Coos Bay, 871 F.3d 1032, 1040 (9th Cir. 2017) (“[O]nly at the district court’s discretion are parties permitted to file a supplemental complaint.”).

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).  See also Branch Banking & Tr. Co. v. D.M.S.I., LLC, 871 F.3d 751, 764–65 (9th Cir. 2017) (no abuse of discretion in denying motion to amend answer to add four new defenses and a counterclaim).

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); see also Cano v. Taylor, 739 F.3d 1214, 1218 (9th Cir. 2014); Harrington v. Scribner, 785 F.3d 1299, 1309 (9th Cir. 2015).  The trial court’s refusal to appoint counsel is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Harrington, 785 F.3d at 1309; Campbell v. Burt, 141 F.3d 927, 931 (9th Cir. 1998) (civil rights); see also Manley v. Rowley, 847 F.3d 705, 712 n.3 (9th Cir. 2017) (magistrate judge did not abuse his discretion by denying motion to appoint counsel).  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 Harris v. Mangum, 863 F.3d 1133, 1138 (9th Cir. 2017); Davis v. Walker, 745 F.3d 1303, 1310 (9th Cir. 2014).  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[[1]] or deny[[2]] a motion to compel arbitration is reviewed de novo.’ ” Stover v. Experian Holdings, Inc., 978 F.3d 1082, 1085 (9th Cir. 2020) (quoting Bushley v. Credit Suisse First Boston, 360 F.3d 1149, 1152 (9th Cir. 2004)).

“The district court’s factual findings are reviewed for clear error, unless no facts are in dispute, in which case our entire review is de novo.”  Zoller v. GCA Advisors, LLC, 993 F.3d 1198, 1200 (9th Cir. 2021).

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); Zoller, 993 F.3d at 1200 (“Determinations of arbitrability are also reviewed de novo.”); Tompkins v. 23andMe, Inc., 840 F.3d 1016, 1021 (9th Cir. 2016) (district court’s decision about arbitrability of claims is reviewed de novo); Simula, Inc. v. Autoliv, Inc., 175 F.3d 716, 719 (9th Cir. 1999).  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).[3]

Whether a bankruptcy court, as a matter of law, has discretion to deny a motion to compel arbitration is reviewed de novo.  See In re EPD Inv. Co., LLC, 821 F.3d 1146, 1150 (9th Cir. 2016).

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).  However, whether a party should be compelled back to arbitration after default is reviewed de novo.  See id. at 1200.

The validity and scope of an arbitration clause is reviewed de novo.  See Brice, 13 F.4th at 826; Stover, 978 F.3d at 1085; Rittman, 971 F.3d at 909; Knutson v. Sirius XM Radio Inc., 771 F.3d 559, 564 (9th Cir. 2014); Comedy Club, Inc. v. Improv West Assoc., 553 F.3d 1277, 1284 (9th Cir. 2009).  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 or vacation of an arbitration award is reviewed de novo.  See First Options, Inc. v. Kaplan, 514 U.S. 938, 948 (1995); Aspic Eng’g & Constr. Co. v. ECC Centcom Constructors LLC, 913 F.3d 1162, 1166 (9th Cir. 2019) (reviewing vacation of award); Loc. Joint Exec. Bd. v. Mirage Casino-Hotel, Inc., 911 F.3d 588, 595 (9th Cir. 2018) (reviewing confirmation of award); New Regency Productions, Inc., v. Nippon Herald Films, Inc., 501 F.3d 1101, 1105 (9th Cir. 2007).  “Review of an arbitration award is both limited and highly deferential.” Aspic Eng’g & Constr. Co., 913 F.3d at 1166 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); see also Poweragent v. Electronic Data Systems Corp., 358 F.3d 1187, 1193 (9th Cir. 2004).

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); see also ASARCO LLC v. United Steel, Paper & Forestry, Rubber, Mfg., Energy, Allied Indus. & Serv. Workers Int’l Union, AFL-CIO, CLC, 910 F.3d 485, 489 (9th Cir. 2018); 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)).

Although judicial review of arbitration awards is extremely limited, the Supreme Court and this Circuit have articulated three exceptions to the general rule of deference to an arbitrator’s decision: “(1) when the arbitrator’s award does not draw its essence from the collective bargaining agreement and the arbitrator is dispensing his own brand of industrial justice; (2) when the arbitrator exceeds the boundaries of the issues submitted to him; and (3) when the award is contrary to public policy.”

ASARCO LLC, 910 F.3d at 490.

The court’s adoption of a standard of impartiality for arbitration is reviewed de novo.  See Lagstein v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, 607 F.3d 634, 645 n.9 (9th Cir. 2010)

Although the court usually reviews a district court’s decision about the arbitrability of claims de novo, “[w]hen the arbitrability decision concerns equitable estoppel, … caselaw has been inconsistent on whether [the court reviews] the district court’s decision de novo or for abuse of discretion.”  Franklin v. Cmty. Reg’l Med. Ctr., 998 F.3d 867, 870 (9th Cir. 2021).  Compare Setty v. Shrinivas Sugandhalaya LLP, 3 F.4th 1166, 1167–68 (9th Cir. 2021) (reviewing the district court’s decision regarding equitable estoppel for abuse of discretion); and Nguyen v. Barnes & Noble Inc., 763 F.3d 1171, 1179 (9th Cir. 2014) (same), with Namisnak v. Uber Techs., Inc., 971 F.3d 1088, 1094 (9th Cir. 2020) (reviewing de novo), and Kramer v. Toyota Motor Corp., 705 F.3d 1122, 1126 (9th Cir. 2013) (same).  The court in Franklin, declined to resolve the inconsistency.  Franklin, 998 F.3d at 870.  (“Because we reach the same result here under both de novo and abuse of discretion review, we need not resolve that inconsistency today and analyze this issue de novo.”).

Factual findings underlying the district court’s decision are reviewed for clear error.  See Stover, 978 F.3d at 1085; 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).

An arbitrator’s factual findings are presumed correct, rebuttable only by a clear preponderance of the evidence.  See Grammer, 287 F.3d at 891.

The denial of a motion to stay pending arbitration is reviewed for abuse of discretion.  See Setty v. Shrinivas Sugandhalaya LLP, 3 F.4th 1166, 1167–68 (9th Cir. 2021)

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 Estate of Diaz v. City of Anaheim, 840 F.3d 592, 601 (9th Cir. 2016); 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 Estate of Diaz, 840 F.3d at 601; 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 court’s allocation of the burden of proof is a conclusion of law reviewed de novo.  See Lopez v. Catalina Channel Express, Inc., 974 F.3d 1030, 1033 (9th Cir. 2020); Tourgeman v. Nelson & Kennard, 900 F.3d 1105, 1108 (9th Cir. 2018); Estate of Barton v. ADT Sec. Servs. Pension Plan, 820 F.3d 1060, 1065 (9th Cir. 2016); Molski v. Foley Estates Vineyard and Winery, LLC, 531 F.3d 1043, 1046 (9th Cir. 2008).  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).

12.     Certification to State Court

Certification of a legal issue to a state court lies within the discretion of the federal court.  See Childress v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 978 F.3d 664, 665 (9th Cir.) (order) (“[W]e may exercise our discretion to certify a question to the state’s highest court.”), certified question accepted, 402 Mont. 426 (2020), and certified question answered, 405 Mont. 113 (2021); Micomonaco v. Washington, 45 F.3d 316, 322 (9th Cir. 1995).  Review of the district court’s decision whether to certify is for an abuse of discretion.  See Syngenta Seeds, Inc. v. Cty. of Kauai, 842 F.3d 669, 674 (9th Cir. 2016); Riordan v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 589 F.3d 999, 1009 (9th Cir. 2009); 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).  The court of appeals may elect to certify a question sua sponte.  Childress, 978 F.3d at 666.

13.     Claim Preclusion

Under the doctrine of claim preclusion, “a final judgment on the merits” in a case precludes a successive action between “identical parties or privies” concerning “the same ‘claim’ or cause of action.”  Wojciechowski v. Kohlberg Ventures, LLC, 923 F.3d 685, 689 (9th Cir. 2019).

Claim preclusion precludes relitigation of claims that were raised or should have been raised in earlier litigation.  [Migra v. Warren City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ., 465 U.S. 75, 77 n. 1 (1984)].  Issue preclusion, on the other hand, forecloses relitigation of factual or legal issues that have been actually and necessarily decided in earlier litigation.  Id.

San Remo Hotel, L.P. v. San Francisco City & Cty., 364 F.3d 1088, 1094 (9th Cir. 2004).  Whether claim preclusion bars a claim is reviewed de novo.  Wojciechowski, 923 F.3d at 689; Media Rts. Techs., Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., 922 F.3d 1014, 1020 (9th Cir. 2019); NTCH-WA, Inc. v. ZTE Corp., 921 F.3d 1175, 1180 (9th Cir. 2019).

See III. Civil Proceedings, B. Pretrial Decisions in Civil Cases, 72. Res Judicata.

14.     Class Actions

A district court’s decision regarding class certification is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Castillo v. Bank of Am., NA, 980 F.3d 723, 728 (9th Cir. 2020); Pulaski & Middleman, LLC v. Google, Inc., 802 F.3d 979, 984 (9th Cir. 2015); Parra v. Bashas’, Inc., 536 F.3d 975, 977 (9th Cir. 2008).  “A district court’s decision certifying a class or denying class certification will be upheld unless it ‘identified [or] applied the [in]correct legal rule’ or its ‘resolution of the motion resulted from a factual finding that was illogical, implausible, or without support in inferences that may be drawn from the facts in the record.’”  Castillo, 980 F.3d at 728 (quoting United States v. Hinkson, 585 F.3d 1247, 1263 (9th Cir. 2009) (en banc)); see also Hawkins v. Comparet-Cassani, 251 F.3d 1230, 1237 (9th Cir. 2001) (the court abuses its discretion if it applies an impermissible legal criterion).  “[A] district court’s class certification decision may be affirmed on any ground supported by the record.”  Castillo, 980 F.3d at 728; see also Davidson v. O’Reilly Auto Enterprises, LLC, 968 F.3d 955, 967 (9th Cir. 2020).

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 Roes, 1-2 v. SFBSC Mgmt., LLC, 944 F.3d 1035, 1043 (9th Cir. 2019); 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 In re Online DVD-Rental Antitrust Litig., 779 F.3d 934, 946 (9th Cir. 2015); 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 In re Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Mktg., Sales Practices, & Prod. Liab. Litig., 895 F.3d 597, 606 (9th Cir. 2018); 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 Hyundai & Kia Fuel Econ. Litig., 926 F.3d 539, 556 (9th Cir. 2019) (en banc); In re Mego Fin. Corp. Sec. Litig., 213 F.3d 454, 458 (9th Cir. 2000) (as amended).  See also Roes, 1-2 v. SFBSC Mgmt., LLC, 944 F.3d 1035, 1043 (9th Cir. 2019) (“We review a district court’s decision to approve a class action settlement for clear abuse of discretion.” (internal quotation marks and citation omitted)).

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 Fin. 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).

The court reviews for abuse of discretion the district court’s award of attorneys’ fees in a class action, as well as its method of calculating the fees.  See In re Hyundai & Kia Fuel Econ. Litig., 926 F.3d 539, 556 (9th Cir. 2019) (en banc); 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).  “The factual findings underlying these decisions are reviewed for clear error. … In order for [the court] to conduct a meaningful review of the fee award’s reasonableness, ... the district court must provide a concise but clear explanation of its reasons for the fee award.”  In re Optical Disk Drive Prod. Antitrust Litig., 959 F.3d 922, 929 (9th Cir. 2020) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

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

15.     Collateral Estoppel

“Whether collateral estoppel, which is more accurately designated ‘issue preclusion,’ is available to a litigant is a question of law that [the court] review[s] de novo.  Resol. Tr. Corp. v. Keating, 186 F.3d 1110, 1114 (9th Cir. 1999).  See also Janjua v. Neufeld, 933 F.3d 1061, 1065 (9th Cir. 2019); Beauchamp v. Anaheim Union High Sch. Dist., 816 F.3d 1216, 1220 (9th Cir. 2016).  If collateral estoppel is available, the district court’s decision to apply the doctrine is reviewed for abuse of discretion.  Wabakken v. California Dep’t of Corr. & Rehab., 801 F.3d 1143, 1148 (9th Cir. 2015) (reviewing the availability of issue preclusion de novo, and the decision to apply issue preclusion for abuse of discretion).

See III. Civil Proceedings, B. Pretrial Decisions in Civil Cases, 44. Issue Preclusion.

16.     Complaints

The trial court’s decision to permit[4] or deny[5] amendment to a complaint is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Sonner v. Premier Nutrition Corp., 971 F.3d 834, 839 (9th Cir. 2020) (as amended) (reviewing denial of leave to amend complaint); MHC Fin. Ltd. P’ship v. City of San Rafael, 714 F.3d 1118, 1126 (9th Cir. 2013) (reviewing trial court’s decision to grant leave to amend complaint).  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).  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 Parents for Priv. v. Barr, 949 F.3d 1210, 1221 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 141 S. Ct. 894 (2020); Thinket Ink Information Res., Inc. v. Sun Microsystems, Inc., 368 F.3d 1053, 1061 (9th Cir. 2004).

“[I]f a district court denies leave to amend based on the futility of the amendment or inability to allege a valid cause of action, [the court] review[s] the decision de novo.”  Kroessler v. CVS Health Corp., 977 F.3d 803, 807 (9th Cir. 2020); see also Wochos v. Tesla, Inc., 985 F.3d 1180, 1197 (9th Cir. 2021).

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 United States v. Gila Valley Irrigation Dist., 859 F.3d 789, 804 (9th Cir. 2017); 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 jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1).  See Doğan v. Barak, 932 F.3d 888, 892 (9th Cir. 2019); U.S. ex rel. Hartpence v. Kinetic Concepts, Inc., 792 F.3d 1121, 1126 (9th Cir. 2015); Viewtech, Inc., v. United States, 653 F.3d 1102, 1103–04 (9th Cir. 2011); 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 Prodanova v. H.C. Wainwright & Co., LLC, 993 F.3d 1097, 1105 (9th Cir. 2021); Puri v. Khalsa, 844 F.3d 1152, 1157 (9th Cir. 2017); 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).

·        Dismissals under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.  See Mangiaracina v. Penzone, 849 F.3d 1191, 1195 (9th Cir. 2017); Hayes v. Idaho Corr. Ctr., 849 F.3d 1204, 1208 (9th Cir. 2017); Hamilton v. Brown, 630 F.3d 889, 892 (9th Cir. 2011).

Dismissals of a complaint reviewed for abuse of discretion include:

·        Dismissal with prejudice.  See Benavidez v. Cty. of San Diego, 993 F.3d 1134, 1141–42 (9th Cir. 2021) (dismissal with prejudice and without leave to amend); OSU Student All. v. Ray, 699 F.3d 1053, 1079 (9th Cir. 2012) (holding district court’s dismissal with prejudice was an abuse of discretion); Ordonez v. Johnson, 254 F.3d 814, 815 (9th Cir. 2001) (per curiam) (dismissal with prejudice for failure to comply with the court’s order to timely file an amended complaint).

·        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).  See also Howard v. City of Coos Bay, 871 F.3d 1032, 1040 (9th Cir. 2017) (“[O]nly at the district court’s discretion are parties permitted to file a supplemental complaint.”).

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 Garity v. APWU Nat’l Labor Org., 828 F.3d 848, 855 (9th Cir. 2016); Pierce v. County of Orange, 526 F.3d 1190, 1203 (9th Cir. 2008) (as amended).  The district court’s decision on consolidation is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Pierce, 526 F.3d at 1203; 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 Gentala, 244 F.3d at 1071.

“When a district court consolidates its ruling on a preliminary injunction with its decision on the merits under Rule 65(a)(2), [the court] review[s] the district court’s factual findings for clear error and its conclusions of law de novo.”  Indep. Training & Apprenticeship Program v. California Dep’t of Indus. Rels., 730 F.3d 1024, 1031 (9th Cir. 2013); Associated Builders & Contractors of S. California, Inc. v. Nunn, 356 F.3d 979, 984 (9th Cir. 2004) (as amended).

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 Robles v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, 913 F.3d 898, 904 (9th Cir. 2019); 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).

19.     Constitutionality of Statutes

A challenge to the constitutionality of a federal statute is reviewed de novo.  See Robles v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, 913 F.3d 898, 904 (9th Cir. 2019) (ADA); Arizona Libertarian Party v. Reagan, 798 F.3d 723, 728 (9th Cir. 2015); Doe v. Rumsfeld, 435 F.3d 980, 984 (9th Cir. 2006).[6]

A district court’s ruling on the constitutionality of a state statute is reviewed de novo.  See Suever v. Connell, 579 F.3d 1047, 1055 (9th Cir. 2009); American Academy of Pain Mgmt. v. Joseph, 353 F.3d 1099, 1103 (9th Cir. 2004) (reviewing California statute).[7]  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.  See Kelly v. Wengler, 822 F.3d 1085, 1094 (9th Cir. 2016); World Wide Rush, LLC v. City of Los Angeles, 606 F.3d 676, 684 (9th Cir. 2010); Irwin v. Mascott, 370 F.3d 924, 931 (9th Cir. 2004).[8]  See also In re Taggart, 980 F.3d 1340, 1347 (9th Cir. 2020) (reviewing Bankruptcy Court’s civil contempt ruling for abuse of discretion).  Underlying factual findings made in connection with the order of civil contempt are reviewed for clear error.  See Kelly, 822 F.3d at 1094; Irwin, 370 F.3d at 931.  “[M]ixed questions of law and fact contained within the analysis of a civil contempt proceeding” are reviewed de novo.”  In re Grand Jury Subpoena, No. 16-03-217, 875 F.3d 1179, 1183 (9th Cir. 2017) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

The trial court’s decision to impose sanctions or punishment for contempt is reviewed for abuse of discretion.  See In re Grand Jury Subpoena, No. 16-03-217, 875 F.3d at 1183; 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.  See Kelly, 822 F.3d at 1094; 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 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, 75. Sanctions.

21.     Continuances

A district court’s decision to grant or deny a continuance is reviewed for a clear abuse of discretion.  See Bearchild v. Cobban, 947 F.3d 1130, 1138 (9th Cir. 2020); Big Lagoon Rancheria v. California, 789 F.3d 947, 952 n.4 (9th Cir. 2015) (as amended on denial of reh’g); Swoger v. Rare Coin Wholesalers, 803 F.3d 1045, 1047 (9th Cir. 2015) (district court refused to continue a hearing on summary judgment pending further discovery); 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 court of appeals asks whether, “in view of all the surrounding circumstances, a district court’s decision not to grant a requested continuance was ‘arbitrary or unreasonable.’”  Bearchild, 947 F.3d at 1138.

The denial of a motion for a continuance of summary judgment pending further discovery is also reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Singh v. Am. Honda Fin. Corp., 925 F.3d 1053, 1062–63, 1076 (9th Cir. 2019); Michelman v. Lincoln Nat. Life Ins. Co., 685 F.3d 887, 892 (9th Cir. 2012); Tatum v. City and County of San Francisco, 441 F.3d 1090, 1100 (9th Cir. 2006).  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 Singh, 925 F.3d at 1076; Michelman, 685 F.3d at 892; Chance v. Pac-Tel Teletrac Inc., 242 F.3d 1151, 1161 n.6 (9th Cir. 2001).[9]  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).

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 also reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Quinault Indian Nation v. Pearson for Est. of Comenout, 868 F.3d 1093, 1100 (9th Cir. 2017); 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).[10]  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 a district court’s decision granting or denying declaratory relief is de novo.  See Oregon Coast Scenic R.R., LLC v. Oregon Dep’t of State Lands, 841 F.3d 1069, 1072 (9th Cir. 2016); 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 IMDb.com Inc. v. Becerra, 962 F.3d 1111, 1119 (9th Cir. 2020); Facebook, Inc. v. Power Ventures, Inc., 844 F.3d 1058, 1070 (9th Cir. 2016); 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).[11]

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 AMA Multimedia, LLC v. Wanat, 970 F.3d 1201, 1207 (9th Cir. 2020) (district court limited scope of jurisdictional discovery); 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 Lazar v. Kroncke, 862 F.3d 1186, 1193 (9th Cir. 2017); Alaska Cargo Transp., Inc. v. Alaska R.R., 5 F.3d 378, 383 (9th Cir. 1993).

·        Decision to conclude discovery.  See Af-Cap, Inc. v. Chevron Overseas (Congo) Ltd., 475 F.3d 1080, 1086 (9th Cir. 2007); 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 Conlon v. United States, 474 F.3d 616, 621 (9th Cir. 2007) (reviewing for abuse of discretion the denial of a motion to withdraw or amend a Rule 36 admission for an abuse of discretion); 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).

·        Denial of a Rule 56(d) request to defer a summary judgment ruling to complete discovery is reviewed for abuse of discretion.  InteliClear, LLC v. ETC Glob. Holdings, Inc., 978 F.3d 653, 661 (9th Cir. 2020).

·        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 Maloney v. T3Media, Inc., 853 F.3d 1004, 1009 (9th Cir. 2017); 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).

“[The court] 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); see also IMDb.com Inc. v. Becerra, 962 F.3d 1111, 1127 (9th Cir. 2020).[12]  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).[13]

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’s 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).  See also Khrapunov v. Prosyankin, 931 F.3d 922, 924 (9th Cir. 2019).

Although discovery rulings are typically reviewed for abuse of discretion, “where the question is not whether the district court properly exercised its discretion under a federal rule, but rather turns on the legal issue of whether the [district] court properly interpreted the rule’s requirements, [the court of appeals] review[s] that question de novo.”  Republic of Ecuador v. Mackay, 742 F.3d 860, 864 (9th Cir. 2014).

a.       Discovery Sanctions

The imposition of or refusal to impose discovery sanctions is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Sali v. Corona Reg’l Med. Ctr., 884 F.3d 1218, 1221 (9th Cir. 2018); Facebook, Inc. v. Power Ventures, Inc., 844 F.3d 1058, 1070 (9th Cir. 2016); 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).  The court’s refusal to hold an evidentiary hearing prior to imposing discovery sanctions is also reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Paladin Assocs., Inc. v. Montana Power Co., 328 F.3d 1145, 1164 (9th Cir. 2003).  “A district court abuses its discretion if it bases its decision on an erroneous view of the law or on a clearly erroneous assessment of the evidence.”  Ingenco Holdings, LLC v. Ace Am. Ins. Co., 921 F.3d 803, 808 (9th Cir. 2019) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

Findings of fact underlying discovery sanctions are reviewed for clear error.  See Merch. v. Corizon Health, Inc., 993 F.3d 733, 739 (9th Cir. 2021); Sali, 884 F.3d at 1221; 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 Fonseca v. Sysco Food Servs. of Arizona, Inc., 374 F.3d 840, 846 (9th Cir. 2004); Adriana Int’l Corp. v. Thoeren, 913 F.2d 1406, 1408 (9th Cir. 1990).

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; Fonseca, 374 F.3d at 846; Palmer v. Pioneer Inn Assoc., Ltd., 338 F.3d 981, 985 (9th Cir. 2003).  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 Garris v. Fed. Bureau of Investigation, 937 F.3d 1284, 1291 (9th Cir. 2019) (reviewing decision to grant protective order); Reza v. Pearce, 806 F.3d 497, 508 (9th Cir. 2015); Flatow v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 308 F.3d 1065, 1069 (9th Cir. 2002).[14]  The decision whether to lift or modify a protective order is also reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  See Blum v. Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Inc., 712 F.3d 1349, 1352 (9th Cir. 2013); 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.  See Rivera v. NIBCO, Inc., 364 F.3d 1057, 1063 (9th Cir. 2004).

25.     Dismissals