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Although the First Circuit identified in this case an unsettled question about the scope of a waiver-of-appeal provision, the court assumed, without deciding, that the waiver was inapplicable in this instance. After reaching the merits of the appeal, the First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court resentencing Appellant to concurrent sentences of 120 months’ imprisonment and 151 months’ imprisonment. Pursuant to a written plea agreement, Appellant pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of two firearms, distribution of cocaine base, and distribution of heroin. The agreement included a provision waiving Appellant’s right to appeal as long as the court sentenced him within the applicable guideline sentencing range. On appeal, the government argued that this appeal was barred by the waiver-of-appeal provision contained in the agreement. The First Circuit held that even if the appeal waiver did not extend to resentencing and Appellant had not forfeited his right to contest the waiver, the record disclosed no grounds upon which to vacate Appellant’s new sentence. View "United States v. Angiolillo" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Plaintiffs filed this diversity action against Fundacion Damas, Inc. and Banco Popular de Puerto Rico alleging (1) Fundacion was the owner and operator of Hospital Damas, (2) Fundacion committed medical malpractice under Articles 1892 and 1803 of the Puerto Rico Civil Code, and (3) Fundacion and Banco Popular committed negligence by mismanaging funds of a trust. The district court granted Banco Popular’s motion to dismiss count three and Fundacion’s motion for summary judgment on counts one and three. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs failed to present the court with a developed argument that was convincing enough to disturb the judgment of the district court. View "Vargas-Colon v. Fundacion Damas, Inc." on Justia Law

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Appellant was convicted of first-degree murder in a Massachusetts court. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Appellant’s conviction and sentence and declined to grant collateral relief. Appellant later pursued a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. 2254. The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts denied Appellant’s petition. On appeal, Appellant argued that his trial was unconstitutionally unfair because the Commonwealth failed to turn over evidence that the Commonwealth’s chief witness was given inducements in exchange for favorable testimony and because the Commonwealth suborned the witness’s perjurious testimony to the contrary. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that no inducements were given and that the prosecution did not suborn perjury. View "Jackson v. Marshall" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The arbitrator did not manifestly disregard the law and did not exceed his powers in concluding that the dispute in this case could not be arbitrated as a matter of law. Plaintiff Mountain Valley Property, Inc. (MVP) purchased a comprehensive insurance package (the program) from Applied Underwriters, Inc. (AU). As part of the program, MVP entered into a reinsurance participation agreement with Applied Underwriters Captive Risk Assurance Co., Inc. (AUCRA) that contained a mandatory arbitration clause and a Nebraska choice-of-law clause. MVP later filed a complaint against AU, AUCRA, and Applied Risk Services, Inc. (collectively, Applied) alleging breach of contract and various tort claims arising from its participation in the program. The district court referred the claims against AUCRA to arbitration. The arbitrator concluded that the dispute could not be arbitrated as a matter of law due to the McCarran-Ferguson Act and the Nebraska Uniform Arbitration Act. AUCRA unsuccessfully moved to vacate the arbitration award under the FAA and to transfer the case to the District of Nebraska. Applied appealed from the denial of the motion to vacate. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the arbitrator did not manifestly disregard the law and did not exceed his powers. View "Mountain Valley Property, Inc. v. Applied Risk Services, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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In this business dispute, Plaintiff K’s Merchandise Mart, Inc. challenged orders by the district judge granting summary judgment for Defendants William Weinstein and Frank Morton and requiring Plaintiff to pay Defendants $35,000 in sanctions. The First Circuit affirmed the summary judgment rulings but vacated the sanctions order and remanded for reconsideration of the sanctions matter, holding (1) summary judgment was properly granted on Plaintiff’s claims for fraudulent inducement, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and breach of contract; and (2) the judge erred when he ordered sanctions against Plaintiff rather than against its attorneys. View "Eldridge v. Gordon Brothers Group, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Contracts

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In this complaint by a former employee alleging violations of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) there was no error in the district court’s jury instructions. Plaintiff filed a complaint against his former employer alleging that his termination violated the ADA. Plaintiff was fired from his job in the Town of Brookline’s Department of Public Works for unjustified absences from work and failing to provide adequate documentation for his use of sick leave. In his complaint, Plaintiff alleged that he had been suffering from sleep apnea and that the Town violated the ADA by discriminating against him on the basis of his sleep apnea disability, denying him a reasonable accommodation, and failing to engage in an interactive dialogue as required under the ADA. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that, contrary to Plaintiff’s contentions, the district court did not err in its instructions to the jury. View "McDonald v. Town of Brookline, Massachusetts" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a pedestrian who was injured in a car accident, sued the vehicle’s driver and the driver’s insurance company, alleging negligence. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Defendants, finding that Plaintiff failed to prove that the driver was negligent in his driving and that his negligence proximately caused damage to Plaintiff. The district court denied Plaintiff’s motion for a new trial. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the verdict was not against the weight of the evidence; (2) Plaintiff’s challenges to certain statements by defense counsel were without merit; and (3) the district court’s refusal to give a particular jury instruction was not reversible error. View "Mejias-Aguayo v. Doreste-Rodriguez" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Disappointed by the limited fruits of its multimillion-dollar investment with Abbott Laboratories (Abbott), John Hancock Life Insurance Company (Hancock) sued, seeking to recover damages under its contract with Abbott or, alternatively, to rescind the contract. At issue in this appeal was a contract provision that the parties viewed disparately either as a liquidated damages provision - and thus enforceable - or a penalty - and thus unenforceable. The district court concluded that the provision at issue was unenforceable. The First Circuit reversed this holding and affirmed the district court’s judgment in other respects, holding (1) Abbott failed to carry its burden of proving that the key provision was a penalty rather than a valid and enforceable liquidated damages provision; and (2) the district court did not err in striking Hancock’s prayer for rescission where Hancock recovered damages under the contract for Abbott’s breach of the contract. View "John Hancock Life Insurance Co. v. Abbott Laboratories" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The First Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiffs' claims challenging the development of an offshore wind farm near Block Island, Rhode Island. The court held that Rhode Island's three-year personal injury statute of limitations applied to plaintiffs' claims, and plaintiffs' claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations because they accrued after the three-year period. View "Riggs v. Curran" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The First Circuit held that, regardless of whether or to what extent USSG 2L1.1(b)(7)(D) incorporates a causation requirement, the district court did not err in applying the enhancement in this case. Defendant was convicted and sentenced for crimes related to his involvement in a scheme to smuggle migrants from the Dominican Republic into the United States by a small fishing boat. The district court did not err, let alone clearly err, in finding a causal connection between defendant's actions and the death of one of the migrants. The district court also did not err when it found it reasonable that defendant's actions could create the sort of dangerous circumstances likely to result in death. View "United States v. Ortiz-Carrasco" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law