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

Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law
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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing the claims brought by two unions, which represented public employees in Puerto Rico, and one of their members against the United States, the Financial Oversight and Management Board, and the Commonwealth, holding that Plaintiffs lacked standing.In their complaint, Plaintiffs raised a range of claims under federal constitutional and international law concerning the legal status of Puerto Rico. The district court dismissed Plaintiffs' claims for declaratory relief for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, concluding that Plaintiffs failed to allege concrete and particularized injuries that their requested relief could redress. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs did not meet their burden to satisfy the federal constitutional requirements for standing. View "UECFSE v. United States" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the ruling of the district court denying Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction in this case, holding that record lacked necessary findings and that remand was required.This case arose from a decision by the Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives to enforce a House rule precluding any representative from participating in proceedings involving the full House, including House matters, other than in person. Plaintiffs, including seven members of the House who claimed to suffer from medical conditions making them vulnerable to COVID-19, brought this action arguing that the Speaker was required to allow them to participate remotely under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12132, and section 504 of the Rehabiliation Act, 29 U.S. 794. The district court denied Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. The First Circuit vacated the district court's decision, holding that the court erred in finding that the doctrine of legislative immunity shielded the Speaker from having to comply with the ADA and/or Section 504. View "Cushing v. Packard" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied the petition filed by Petitioner, a Salvadoran national, seeking judicial review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) upholding an adverse decision by an immigration judge (IJ) denying Petitioner's application for withholding of removal, holding that Petitioner was not entitled to relief.Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) substantial evidence in the record supported the agency's determination that Petitioner failed to show an entitlement to withholding of removal based on a clear probability of either past or future religious persecution; (2) Petitioner waived his argument that the BIA erred in rejecting his "social group" claim; and (3) the BIA did not abuse its discretion by not remanding the case to the IJ for further proceedings. View "Sanchez-Vasquez v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner's motion to reopen the BIA's decision denying Petitioner's application for cancellation of his removal, holding that any error was harmless.After Petitioner, a citizen of Guatemala, was issued a notice to appear Petitioner applied for cancellation of his removal under 8 U.S.C. 1229b(b)(1). The immigration judge denied the application, and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed. Petitioner later filed a motion to reopen the BIA decision, arguing that his prior counsel provided ineffective assistance. The BIA denied the motion. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that equitable tolling did not apply to toll the statutory deadline for filing the motion. View "Quiroa-Motta v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for relief from removal on the grounds of asylum, withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act, and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) did not err in affirming the immigration judge's (IJ) decision to deny Petitioner's application.Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) the record did not indicate that Petitioner either faced or would face persecution on the basis of his nationality, his religion, or his political beliefs; and (2) therefore, Petitioner was not able to meet the higher threshold for his claim of withholding of removal and his CAT claim. View "Thile v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the judgment of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the denial of Petitioner's application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that substantial evidence did not support the BIA's decision.The immigration judge (IJ) determined that Petitioner was not a credible witness and therefore found that he had failed to establish his burden of proof with respect to his application. The BIA dismissed Petitioner's appeal, thus declining to remand the case in light of new evidence submitted for the first time on appeal. The First Circuit vacated the BIA's decision, holding that the IJ's adverse credibility finding was not supportable. View "Cuesta-Rojas v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit reversed the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner's request to reopen removal proceedings based on changed country circumstances, holding that the BIA's failure to assess whether certain changes were sufficient was arbitrary and capricious.Petitioner, a native and citizen of Albania, applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture, arguing that he and his family had been persecuted due to Petitioner's support of the Democratic Party in Albania and that the family had a well-founded fear of future persecution. An immigration judge denied relief, and the BIA affirmed. Petitioner later asked the BIA to reopen his case on the ground that government corruption had deteriorated in Albania. The BIA denied the request. The First Circuit reversed, holding that the BIA "exercised its judgment in an arbitrary, capricious, or irrational manner." View "Lucaj v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law

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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

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The First Circuit vacated the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the order of the immigration judge (IJ) denying Petitioner's application for withholding of removal, holding that the IJ and BIA made legal errors.Petitioner, a native and citizen of Honduras, twice entered the United States without authorization. After the government ordered Petitioner removed to Honduras, Petitioner filed an application for withholding of removal. The IJ denied the motion. The BIA affirmed and denied Petitioner's motion to reopen and remand. The First Circuit vacated the removal order and remanded the case to the BIA for further proceedings, holding (1) the BIA erred in dismissing Petitioner's appeal based on her failure to corroborate; and (2) the BIA erred in finding that Petitioner did not adequately apply for relief under the Convention Against Torture. View "Molina-Diaz v. Rosen" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the determination of an immigration judge (IJ) that Petitioners, a husband and wife who were natives and citizens of Brazil, were not eligible for an adjustment of status pursuant to the "grandfathering" provisions of section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), holding that the BIA and IJ did not appropriately focus their inquiry.On appeal, Petitioners argued that the BIA applied incorrect standards in determining that a labor certification application (LCA) filed on behalf of the petitioner husband was not "approvable when filed" and erred in denying their motion to remand. The First Circuit held (1) determining whether an LCA is approvable when filed requires a holistic inquiry that is not a license to deny grandfathering based on any perceived shortcoming in an LCA; and (2) the IJ and BIA did not keep their focus on that inquiry in the course of their evaluation of the petitioner's LCA. View "Oliveira v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law