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Weekly Appellate Report #18

By Brian Cardile | Aug. 26, 2016

Appellate Practice

Aug. 26, 2016

Weekly Appellate Report #18

Aaron Lachant (Nelson Hardiman) discusses federal medical marijuana prosecutions post-McIntosh, and Glenn Danas and Ryan Wu (Capstone Law APC) chat class action plaintiff compensation, as clarified by Laffitte v. Robert Half Int'l.


This week's guests weigh the impacts of two momentous appellate rulings from recent weeks, one on the ability of federal prosecutors to target medical marijuana purveyors in states where such activity is sanctioned; the other regards the acceptable methods of attorney compensation in common fund class actions.

First, Aaron Lachant, of Nelson Hardiman LLC, will discuss the recent Ninth Circuit decision in U.S. v. McIntosh, a consolidated appeal of several prosecutions of medical marijuana purveyors in California and Washington. There, based on a Congressional appropriations rider, the panel unanimously determined that federal funds may not be used to prosecute those who cultivate and sell marijuana in accordance with state programs. As Mr. Lachant notes, though, the victory for cannabis cultivators isn't complete, as the appellate panel green-lit federal prosecutions of those not strictly in compliance with state marijuana laws, and also because the appropriations rider upon which the ruling rests is set to expire in September, with its chances of renewal uncertain.

Then Glenn Danas and Ryan Wu will join to chat about the recent Cal Supreme Court ruling in 'Laffitte v. Robert Half International,' which clarified whether class action plaintiffs could recover attorney fees as a set proportion of a common fund settlement. In that case, plaintiff attorneys settled an employment matter for $19 million, and sought court approval of fees in the amount of $6.33 million, or one-third of the total recovery. The court approved the fee award but a class member objected, arguing that 1977 Cal. Supreme Court ruling precluded such percentage-based recoveries. Danas and Wu, who helped write an amicus brief opposing that objector, discuss why the high court decided that percentage-based compensation is not precluded by that prior ruling, and what that means for plaintiff class action attorneys going forward.

Don't forget CLE credit is available for your listening to the program; see the link below for a short true/false test, and for information on how to receive your one hour of credit.


Brian Cardile

Rulings Editor, Podcast Host, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reporter

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