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

Articles Posted in Civil Procedure
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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court granting Defendant's motion to dismiss this case brought against him by Plaintiff, his previous employer, for lack of personal jurisdiction, holding that the district court did not err.Plaintiff brought this lawsuit against Defendant in the District of New Hampshire, alleging that he breached his employment contract and violated a non-solicitation of employees clause by encouraging three of Defendant's employees to quit their employment and join him at his new company. The district court dismissed the case for lack of personal jurisdiction. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the requirements for personal jurisdiction were not met in this case. View "Vapotherm, Inc. v. Santiago" on Justia Law

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In this climate-change case, the First Circuit once more affirmed the order of the federal district court allowing Rhode Island's motion to return to state court its state court complaint against oil and gas companies for damages caused by fossil fuels, holding that Rhode Island's complaint did not give rise to federal removal jurisdiction.Rhode Island originally brought this complaint in state court, alleging state-law causes of action for, inter alia, public nuisance. After the energy companies removed the case to federal district court Rhode Island moved for the case to be remanded to state court. The district court granted the motion and ordered the case remanded to state court. The First Circuit affirmed the remand order. On certiorari, the Supreme Court instructed that the First Circuit give further consideration in light of recent caselaw. The First Circuit received supplemental briefs and then affirmed once more the judge's remand order, holding that removal based on federal-question jurisdiction and on other jurisdictional and removal statutes was not proper. View "State of Rhode Island v. Shell Oil Products Co., LLC" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico dismissing without prejudice this collection and foreclosure action that VS PR, a limited liability corporation, brought against several defendants, holding that the district court did not err in denying Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.In a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, Defendants argued that VS PR had not established that complete diversity between the parties existed as required by 28 U.S.C. 1332(a)(1). The district court denied the motion to dismiss without prejudice. VS PR later filed a motion to dismiss the complaint voluntarily pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(2). The district court granted the motion for voluntary dismissal and dismissed the action without prejudice. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Rule 41(a) requires that an action must be dismissed with prejudice following a voluntary dismissal pursuant to a court order only when the court order so provides. View "VS PR, LLC v. ORC Miramar Corp." on Justia Law

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The First Circuit reversed the judgment of the district court finding that Electric Boat Corp. had failed to satisfy the requirements of 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1) for federal officer removal, holding that Electric Boat established the statutory requirements for removal.During the late-1960s, Michael Moore was allegedly exposed to asbestos during construction of a submarine, the USS Francis Scott Key, where he worked as an electronics officer. Moore and his wife (collectively, Moore), brought suit against Electric Board and others, alleging several state claims. Electric Boat removed the case to federal court under the federal officer removal statute, 28 U.S.C. 1442. Moore filed a motion to remand to state court, which the district court granted after finding that Electric Boat had failed to satisfy the requirements for federal officer removal under section 1442(a)(1). The First Circuit reversed, holding (1) the district court interpreted section 1442(a)(1) in a manner inconsistent with the 2011 congressional amendment to the statute; and (2) Electric Boat satisfied the standard for federal officer removal under section 1442(a)(1). View "Moore v. Electric Boat Corp." on Justia Law

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Motus and CarData both provide tools for managing businesses' reimbursement of employee expenses. Motus is a Delaware limited liability company with its principal place of business in Boston.. CarData is a Toronto-based Canadian corporation. Motus sued CarData for trademark infringement and related wrongs for its use of a particular phrase in the meta title of its website, Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1051-1129. Motus argued CarData had "purposefully availed itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the U.S. and Massachusetts" by maintaining numerous offices in the U.S. and marketing itself to and interacting with U.S. and Massachusetts customers through its website.The First Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Motus's suit without prejudice, for lack of personal jurisdiction, and denial of its request for jurisdictional discovery. The purposeful availment requirement was not met because there was not “something more” connecting CarData to the forum state beyond its website which is available to anyone with internet access, in any state. Motus did not act diligently to present facts to the court to show why jurisdiction would be found if discovery were permitted. Motus left the court to guess whether CarData has any Massachusetts customers, receives any revenue from Massachusetts, or has any other business connection with Massachusetts. Jurisdiction cannot be premised on guesswork; the record does not support a finding that the operation of CarData's website and/or its commercial contacts elsewhere in the country constitute purposeful availment with respect to Massachusetts. View "Motus, LLC v. CarData Consultants, Inc." on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the order of the district court dismissing Plaintiff's federal claims seeking to hold private parties liable as state actors under 42 U.S.C. 1983, holding that the district court did not err in granting Defendants' Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.In this case arising from eviction proceedings, Plaintiff brought this suit against Management Administration Services Corporation and its administrator, alleging violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments related to a search of her apartment, violations of due process related to rent-adjustment negotiations and eviction proceedings, and pendant claims for emotional distress. In response to Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff argued that Defendants were performing a function traditionally and exclusively reserved to the state. The district court dismissed the complaint. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the complaint failed to allege sufficient facts to ground a plausible conclusion that the function Defendants performed was, by tradition, an exclusive prerogative of the state. View "Cruz-Arce v. Management Administration Services Corp." on Justia Law

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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

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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

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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

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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