Justia U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Civil Procedure
by
The First Circuit affirmed on a limited basis the district court's ruling that Plaintiffs suit must be dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction, holding that dismissal was required.Plaintiff, a New York resident, brought this suit over a for-profit Israeli corporation that ranked the performance of United States investment analysts, claiming that that company defamed her in Massachusetts by posting a low rating of her professional performance. The district court dismissed the suit for lack of personal jurisdiction. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiff failed to meet her burden to adduce evidence of specific facts sufficient to satisfy the requirements of constitutional due process for the exercise of personal jurisdiction. View "Lin v. TipRanks, Ltd." on Justia Law

by
The Retirement System administers a pension plan for more than 12,000 retired Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority (PREPA) employees. Under the System's Bylaws, three trustees are selected by PREPA employees, three trustees are selected by PREPA's Board of Directors, one trustee is elected by retired PREPA employees, and one serves dually as a trustee and as PREPA’s Executive Director.The Fiscal Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) was created by the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), 48 U.S.C. 2161, and designated PREPA as a covered entity. A 2018 Executive Order treated the Retirement System as a covered entity subject to FOMB’s oversight. The Order asserted that the System’s Trustees had "not complied with the annual obligation imposed by [PREPA's] Bylaws," and appointed PREPA's Board of Directors as trustee for the Retirement System for two purposes: finalizing the System's 2017 actuarial reports and financial statements and delivering information to the Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority related to PREPA's 2019 budget. The Order would no longer be effective upon the System's issuance of the actuarial reports, FOMB's certification of a revised PREPA fiscal plan, and FOMB's certification of PREPA's 2019 budget.After a suit was filed, challenging that Order, a 2019 Executive Order formally withdrew the 2018 Order. The First Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the suit. The request for declaratory relief did not present a controversy of sufficient reality or immediacy to establish subject matter jurisdiction under the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. 2201. View "Rivera-Rivera v. Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority" on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit affirmed the rulings of the district court denying the Commission of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services' motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' complaints against her, holding that Plaintiffs' allegations of error were without merit.Plaintiffs were (1) a class of individuals who claimed to have been held against their will without due process on the basis of a certification of their need for emergency mental health treatment, and (2) a group of hospitals who claimed to have been forced to retain persons certified to be in need of such treatment. The Commissioner moved to dismiss the claims based on Eleventh Amendment immunity and Plaintiffs' asserted lack of standing. The district court denied the motion to dismiss. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that there was no merit to the Commissioner's challenges to the district court's standing and Eleventh Amendment immunity rulings. View "Doe v. Shibinette" on Justia Law

by
In this civil forfeiture action against a 2008 33' Contender Model Tournament Vessel, the First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district judge striking Appellants' answer and claims and granted the government's motion for default judgment, holding that the district court did not err.The district court entered default judgment in favor of the government due to Appellants continually missing their discovery deadlines. After Appellants once again missed a discovery deadline, the district court denied their motion for an extension. The court then granted the government's motion to strike Appellants' answer and claims and the motion for default judgment. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district judge was well within her discretion in striking Appellants' answer and claims and granting the government's motion for default judgment. View "United States v. De Jesus-Gomez" on Justia Law

by
In this case involving litigation over milk price regulation in Puerto Rico the First Circuit vacated the judgment of the district court granting ORIL's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and remanded to the district court with instructions to return the case to the Puerto Rico Court of First Instance, holding that the district court lacked federal subject matter jurisdiction over this dispute.Industria Lechera de Puerto Rico, Inc. (Indulac) filed a challenge to the 2017 price order issued by the Milk Industry Regulation Administration for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the Puerto Rico Court of First Instance, arguing that ORIL had failed to comply with certain procedural administrative requirements before issuing the order. ORIL filed a notice of removal, asserting federal jurisdiction based on 28 U.S.C. 1331 and 1441(a) and (c). The district court found that it had jurisdiction and then granted ORIL's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment, holding that federal courts lacked jurisdiction over this matter. View "Industria Lechera de Puerto Rico, Inc. v. Flores" on Justia Law

by
In this appeal concerning the scope and reach of 28 U.S.C. 1963 - a statute permitting the registration of certain judgment in a federal district court - the First Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment concluding that the New York state court judgment proffered by Plaintiff did not come within the statutory sweep and that no other cognizable basis for federal subject-matter jurisdiction had been shown, holding that the district court did not err.Plaintiff sought recognition of a Korean judgment in New York. A New York court recognized the Korean judgment and entered a judgment in Plaintiff's favor for more than $13 million. When the New York judgment went unpaid, Plaintiff filed the judgment in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Defendants moved to quash, arguing that the district court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction because 28 U.S.C. 1963 only authorized district courts to register judgments of other federal courts and not state court judgments. The district court agreed and dismissed the matter for want of subject-matter jurisdiction. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) section 1963 does not authorize federal courts to register state-court judgments; and (2) there were no independent grounds for federal jurisdiction here. View "Woo v. Spackman" on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that Defendant had committed fraud in connection with a contract for dredging work to be performed in Massachusetts and in awarding Plaintiff $148,626 in damages, holding that the district court did not err.The jury's finding of fraud in this case was based on Massachusetts law. On appeal, Defendant argued that the court erred in determining at summary judgment that Massachusetts law applied to the fraud claim. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the district court was plainly correct that Massachusetts law applied; (2) there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction; and (2) the arbitration clause in the contract between the parties' businesses did not bar this lawsuit. View "Hisert v. Haschen" on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit dismissed Appellant's appeal from the ruling of the district court granting in part and denying in part Avon Products, Inc.'s motion for the district court to tax costs, holding that the appeal was moot.In a previous appeal, the First Circuit affirmed judgment for Avon on three claims brought by Appellant. After the Court's mandate issued, Avon sought to recover some of its expenses by moving the district court to tax costs. After the district court granted the request in part, Appellant appealed. Thereafter, the parties settled the case for the purpose of avoiding litigation costs. The First Circuit dismissed the appeal and denied, without prejudice, the parties' request that the Court vacate the district court's costs order, holding that the appeal was moot, with the parties to be a their own appellate costs and fees, but that this decision was without prejudice to pursuit of vacatur relief in the district court. View "Villeneuve v. Avon Products, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
by
The First Circuit dismissed for lack of appellate jurisdiction Defendant's appeal from the order of the district court granting Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on its diversity action seeking a declaratory judgment specifying its property rights in a commercial complex in San Juan, Puerto Rico, holding that the district court never issued a final decision.After granting Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and denying Defendant's motion for summary judgment, the district court directed Plaintiff to submit a proposed declaration for the Court's consideration and instructed the Clerk of Court to enter judgment as to Defendants. After Defendant filed a notice of appeal Plaintiff submitted its proposed declaration. The district court, however, stayed the proceedings pending the outcome of this appeal. The First Circuit dismissed Defendant's appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction, holding that, without a final declaratory judgment, this Court lacked appellate jurisdiction. View "WM Capital Partners 53, LLC v. Barreras, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit dismissed Appellant's appeal from a grant of summary judgment to Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC in her suit in the District of Massachusetts against Ocwen and the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA) for lack of appellate jurisdiction, holding that this court lacked jurisdiction under the circumstances of this case.In her notice of appeal, Appellant sought review of only the grant of summary judgment to Ocwen on Count III of her complaint. The First Circuit issued an order to show cause stating that the orders appealed from did not appear to be final or appealable on an interlocutory basis and that the Court did not appear to have jurisdiction absent certification pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b). Thereafter, Appellant filed a notice of voluntary dismissal of her claims against GNMA, but the district court did not enter any further orders or judgments, and Appellant did not file a new notice of appeal. Appellant then filed a response to the show cause order. The First Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, holding that Appellant filed the notice of appeal before the decision below was final and did not correct her mistake. View "Donahue v. Federal National Mortgage Ass'n" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure