9th Circuit Amends US v. SDI Opinion, Remedies ACC 4th Amendment Concerns

ACC filed an amicus brief on February 27, 2009, raising concerns about deterioration of Fourth Amendment rights as applied to corporate officers in a panel opinion in U.S. v. SDI Future Health, Inc., et al. (No. 07-10261). The 9th circuit decision filed on January 27 held that corporate executives could challenge workplace searches outside their offices only if they have a personal connection to the place searched or material seized. On June 1, the 9th Circuit denied the petition for en banc review. However, it is clear that consideration was given to ACC’s brief, as the panel amended its opinion and basically eliminated reliance on a “family run” business exception. ACC argued the original panel decision would have seriously impacted the ability of in-house counsel to advise corporate owner-operators and officers on their rights in challenging government searches of corporate offices, and to assert those rights.

The amended opinion makes it clear that, because the magistrate’s findings do not show the defendant-appellees personally managed operations at SDI on a day to day basis, the facts fall outside 9th Circuit precedent in US v. Gonzales on Fourth Amendment standing.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined ACC in the amicus brief.

ACC Amicus Brief, US v. SDI filed 2/27/09
Amended 9th Circuit Opinion, filed 6/1/09
9th Circuit Panel Opinion, US v. SDI filed 1/27/09