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National Association for Advancement of Multijurisdiction Practice v. Berch

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

December 8, 2014

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF MULTIJURISDICTION PRACTICE, ALLISON GIRVIN, MARK ANDERSON, MARK KOLMAN, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Hon. REBECCA WHITE BERCH, Chief Justice, Arizona Supreme Court, Hon. W. SCOTT BALES, Vice Chief Justice; Hon. JOHN PELANDER; Hon. ROBERT M. BRUTINEL, Defendants-Appellees

Argued and Submitted October 6, 2014, Phoenix, Arizona

Page 1038

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Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. D.C. No. 2:12-cv-01724-BSB. Bridget S. Bade, Magistrate Judge, Presiding.

AFFIRMED.

SUMMARY[*]

Civil Rights

The panel affirmed the district court's summary judgment in favor of justices of the Arizona Supreme Court in an action challenging Arizona Supreme Court Rule 34(f), which describes how experienced attorneys can be admitted on motion to the State Bar of Arizona.

Rule 34(f) permits admission on motion to the Arizona Bar for attorneys who are admitted to practice law in states that permit Arizona attorneys to be admitted to the bars of those states on a basis equivalent to Arizona's, but requires attorneys admitted to practice law in states that do not have such reciprocal admission rules to take the uniform bar exam in order to gain admission to the Arizona Bar.

The panel held that plaintiffs established Article III standing based on injuries suffered by plaintiff Alison Girvin, a member of the State Bar of California, who took and failed Arizona's uniform bar exam and was unable to practice as an Arizona attorney.

The panel held that plaintiffs failed to establish that the Arizona Rule is unconstitutional on Fourteenth Amendment, First Amendment, or Privileges and Immunities Clause grounds. The panel therefore rejected plaintiffs' claims that the Arizona Rule discriminates against attorneys admitted to the bar in states that do not have reciprocity with Arizona. The panel further held that the Arizona Rule (1) does not favor Arizona's in-state citizens over out-of-state citizens; and (2) is a reasonable time, place, and manner restriction that serves a substantial government interest. The panel held that any negative impact on interstate commerce stemming from the Arizona Rule was mitigated by the existence of alternative means of admission to the Arizona Bar. Finally, the panel affirmed the district court's order denying plaintiffs' motion to amend their complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a) to join a John Doe plaintiff.

Joseph R. Giannini (argued), Los Angeles, California, for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Eryn M. McCarthy (argued), Assistant Attorney General, Phoenix, Arizona, for Defendants-Appellees.

Alan B. Morrison (argued), Public Citizen Litigation Group, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Curiae Public Citizen, Inc.

Before: Dorothy W. Nelson, Barry G. Silverman, and Milan D. Smith, Jr., Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1042

Milan D. Smith, Jr., Circuit Judges

Plaintiffs-Appellants (Plaintiffs) National Association for the Advancement of Multijurisdictional Practice (NAAMJP), Allison S. Girvin, and Mark Anderson filed suit against justices of the Arizona Supreme Court challenging Arizona Supreme Court Rule 34(f) (the AOM Rule), which describes how experienced attorneys can be admitted on motion to the State Bar of Arizona (Arizona Bar). The AOM Rule permits admission on motion to the Arizona Bar for attorneys who are admitted to practice law in states that permit Arizona attorneys to be admitted to the bars of those states on a basis equivalent to Arizona's AOM Rule, but requires attorneys admitted to practice law in states that do not have such reciprocal admission rules to take the uniform bar exam (UBE) in order to gain admission to the Arizona Bar. Anderson, Girvin, and NAAMJP allege that the AOM Rule is unconstitutional under the First Amendment, the Dormant Commerce Clause, and the Privileges and Immunities Clauses of Article IV and the Fourteenth Amendment.

We hold that the AOM Rule is constitutional, and that the district court did not err in dismissing Plaintiffs' claims on summary judgment, or in denying leave to amend Plaintiffs' complaint to permit the joinder of John Doe.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

NAAMJP is a non-profit corporation whose stated mission is to improve the legal profession by promoting the adoption of the American Bar Association's (ABA) recommendation for reciprocal bar admission. The ABA encourages states to permit experienced attorneys to be admitted to their bars on motion, provided those attorneys are admitted to the bar in another state.

Allison Girvin is a member of the State Bar of California, who ...


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