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Mendia v. Garcia

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

November 3, 2017

Bernardo Mendia, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
John M. Garcia; Ching Chang, Defendants-Appellants, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Defendant.

          Argued and Submitted September 11, 2017 San Francisco, California

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California D.C. No. 3:10-cv-03910-MEJ, Maria-Elena James, Magistrate Judge, Presiding

          Daniel Aguilar (argued) and H. Thomas Byron III, Appellate Staff; Brian Stretch, United States Attorney; Civil Division, United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.; for Defendants-Appellants.

          David R. Williams (argued), Ann M. Koppuzha, and Michael J. Shepard, Hogan Lovells U.S. LLP, San Francisco, California, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

          Before: Mary M. Schroeder and Richard C. Tallman, Circuit Judges, and Robert H. Whaley, [*] District Judge.

          OPINION

         SUMMARY [**]

         Civil Procedure

         The panel remanded the case to the district court pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 12.1(b) for the limited purpose of allowing the district court to make a final ruling on whether to dismiss plaintiff's claims brought pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).

         Plaintiff, a United States citizen, sued Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and the Department of Homeland Security under Bivens and the Federal Torts Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b), after agents erroneously lodged an immigration detainer against him while he was detained in county jail. The district court found that the individual defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiff's Bivens claims, and this interlocutory appeal followed. After the notice of appeal on the Bivens ruling was filed, however, the district court sanctioned plaintiff for egregious misconduct during discovery and ultimately dismissed his claims brought pursuant to the FTCA. Defendants then moved in this court for a limited remand pursuant to FRAP 12.1(b) to allow the district court to consider applying the sanction to plaintiff's remaining claims.

         The panel held that a limited remand was permissible pursuant to FRAP 12.1 even though defendants had never asked the district court for a targeted indicative ruling under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62.1. The panel held that a FRCP 62.1 motion was not a prerequisite for a limited remand under FRAP 12.1(b) where the district court has already indicated it would grant a motion for the requested relief. The panel stated that it was satisfied that the district court made its intentions sufficiently clear in its order dismissing plaintiff's FTCA claim and the panel treated that order as an indicative ruling for the purposes of applying FRAP 12.1.

          OPINION

          TALLMAN, Circuit Judge

         Bernardo Mendia, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was detained in county jail when Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") agents John Garcia and Ching Chang lodged an immigration detainer placing a federal hold to pick him up when state authorities were ready to release him. Mendia sued Garcia, Chang, and the Department of Homeland Security under Bivens[1] and the Federal Torts Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b), asserting violations of his constitutional rights as a U.S. citizen. The district court found that the individual defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity on Mendia's Bivens claims, and this interlocutory appeal followed. Discovery proceeded on the remaining claims in district court. After the notice of appeal on the Bivens ruling was filed, however, the district court sanctioned Mendia for egregious misconduct during that discovery and ultimately dismissed his FTCA claims. Defendants then immediately moved in our court for a limited remand to allow the district court to consider applying the sanction to Mendia's remaining claims. See Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure ("FRAP") 12.1(b).

         Under FRAP 12.1(b), a court of appeals may remand a case to the district court, while still retaining jurisdiction, for the limited purpose of allowing that court to make a final ruling on the matter based on an earlier indicative ruling. This procedure is employed in conjunction with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("FRCP") 62.1, which permits a party to request an "indicative ruling" from the district court when that court lacks jurisdiction in the matter based on a pending appeal. Unlike our sister circuits, we have never addressed whether a limited remand is permissible without first moving in the district court under FRCP 62.1 for a targeted "indicative ...


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