Unpublished Disposition, 911 F.2d 739 (9th Cir. 1989)

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U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 911 F.2d 739 (9th Cir. 1989)

Clayton TARTER, et al., Plaintiffs,andJeffrey A. Dickstein, Appellant,v.UNITED STATES of America, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 89-16112.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Submitted Aug. 3, 1990.Decided Aug. 7, 1990.

Before WALLACE, CANBY and RYMER, Circuit Judges.


Jeffrey A. Dickstein, attorney for the plaintiffs, appeals pro se the district court's order which required Dickstein to appear with a resident attorney admitted to the United States District Court for the District of Nevada as a condition of his admission pro hac vice. We dismiss this appeal as moot.

This court lacks jurisdiction to hear moot cases. Koppers Indus., Inc. V. United States EPA, 902 F.2d 756, 758 (9th Cir. 1990). A case is moot if "the issues presented are no longer live or the parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome." Headwaters, Inc. v. BLM, 893 F.2d 1012, 1015 (9th Cir. 1989) (quotations omitted).

Here, the plaintiffs, taxpayers, filed a complaint with the district court entitled "Complaint to Quiet Title, for Writ of Injunction, for Return of Seized Property, Damages for Disclosure of Returns and Return Information, Failure to Release Liens, Unauthorized Collection Activities, and Demand for Jury Trial." Appellant Dickstein filed an application to appear on behalf of the plaintiffs pro hac vice. After reviewing several cases in which Dickstein had appeared or had requested to appear pro hac vice, the district court granted Dickstein's application but required Dickstein to appear with local co-counsel, pursuant to Local Rule 120-5(d).1 

At the preliminary injunction hearing, the plaintiffs, unable secure local co-counsel and unwilling to accept the district court's offer of additional time to find counsel without an extension of the temporary restraining order, proceeded pro se. At the hearing, the district court determined that, pursuant to the Anti-Injunction Act, it was without jurisdiction to entertain the plaintiffs' request for an injunction. See 26 U.S.C. § 7421. The plaintiffs then filed a separate appeal with this court challenging the district court's determination that it lacked jurisdiction. See Tarter, et al. v. United States, No. 89-16104. Subsequently, the plaintiffs' requested voluntary dismissal of their appeal which we granted. See id. (order entered Dec. 8, 1989).

Because the plaintiffs' proceeding has been concluded, this court could not grant any effective relief even if it were to decide the matter in Dickstein's favor.

Dickstein contends, however, that the appeal is not moot because the district court's allegedly erroneous ruling will interfere with his future ability to practice law and will damage his reputation and good name. This contention is without merit. The district court's refusal to waive its local rule, that attorneys' appearing pro hac vice before the court appear with a resident attorney as co-counsel, does not carry with it the stigma which disqualification, revocation of pro hac vice status, or other disciplinary action might. Cf. Kirkland v. National Mortgage Network, Inc., 884 F.2d 1367, 1370 (11th Cir. 1989) (appeal challenging revocation of pro hac vice status was not moot).

Finally, Dickstein argues that the case involves an exception to the mootness doctrine where the "allegedly illegal practice is 'capable of repetition, yet evading review.' " Headwaters Inc., 893 F.2d at 1016 (quoting Southern Pac. Terminal Co. v. ICC, 219 U.S. 498 (1911)). This exception "is a narrow one, and applies only in exceptional circumstances." Id. (quotations omitted). This case, however, does not present the exceptional situation sufficient to avoid mootness. While it may be capable of repetition, there is no reason to expect that it would escape review, if appropriate.



This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by 9th Cir.R. 36-3


The panel unanimously finds this case suitable for disposition without oral argument. Fed. R. App. P. 34(a); 9th Cir.R. 34-4


Local Rules of Practice for the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Rule 120-5(d), which allows for the admission of pro hac vice attorneys, provides in part:

Unless otherwise ordered by the court, any such attorney who is granted permission to practice pursuant to this Rule shall be required to associate a resident attorney admitted to the bar of this court as co-counsel in the case.