Justia U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Health Law
United States v. Anonymous Appellant
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court determining that Anonymous Appellant (AA) should be civilly committed upon the expiation of his prison sentence, holding that AA was not entitled to relief on his allegations of error.Seventy-three-year-old AA had a history of incarceration spanning more than five decades. During his incarceration AA began to exhibit psychotic symptoms and was diagnosed with having schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type, and antisocial personality disorder. Based on the concerns of a risk-assessment panel the government filed a petition for the civil commitment of AA pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 4246. The district court granted the petition. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below. View "United States v. Anonymous Appellant" on Justia Law
Ablordeppey v. Walsh
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing the complaint brought by Appellant, a certified nursing assistant at Soldiers' Home, a state-funded healthcare facility housing veterans, alleging violations of his constitutional substantive due process rights to a safe work environment, to be free from a state-created danger, and to bodily integrity, holding that there was no error.Appellant brought this action pursuant to 24 U.S.C. 1983 alleging that Appellees violated his substantive due process rights during the COVID-19 pandemic by failing to protect him from harm, to provide safe working environment, and to provide adequate medical and nursing equipment. Appellees filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, claiming qualified immunity. The district court dismissed the suit. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that where Appellant pointed to no precedent establishing that Appellees' COVID-19 response violated clearly established law, Appellees were entitled to qualified immunity. View "Ablordeppey v. Walsh" on Justia Law
Burt v. Bd. of Trustees of University of R.I.
In this action arising out of the curtailment of classes and services at the University of Rhode Island (URI) during the COVID-19 pandemic, the First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing some of Plaintiffs' claims early in the litigation and granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant on the remaining claims, holding that the district court did not err.Plaintiffs, students who remained enrolled at URI during the pandemic, filed separate putative class actions against URI alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Specifically, Plaintiffs argued that URI had breached its contract when it stopped providing in-person, on-campus instruction. The district court dismissed certain claims and then, following the completion of discovery, granted summary judgment on the remaining claims. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs failed to make out a genuine issue of material fact as to whether URI had either an express or implied contract to provide in-person services and activities. View "Burt v. Bd. of Trustees of University of R.I." on Justia Law
Brox v. Woods Hole
The First Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the district court denying Appellants' request for preliminary injunctive relief from the COVID-19 vaccine policy of Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority, holding that remand was required.At issue was Executive Order No. 595, which the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the order, the Authority issued its own vaccine policy requiring all Authority employees to be fully vaccinated. Appellants, Authority employees, submitted timely requests for religious exemptions from the policy, but the requests were denied. Appellants brought this action under 42 U.S.C. 1983 claiming Appellees denied their rights under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and also pleading state-law claims. The district court denied relief. The First Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part, holding that the district court's "likelihood of success" ruling was erroneous. View "Brox v. Woods Hole" on Justia Law
Roe v. Healey
The First Circuit affirmed the order of the district court dismissing Plaintiffs' claims that the closure of in-person education due to the COVID-19 pandemic deprived children of the free appropriate public education to which they were entitled and deprived and parents of their right to participate in their children's education, holding that none of Plaintiffs' claims were cognizable in federal court.Plaintiffs, three children with disabilities and their parents on behalf of a putative class, sued the Governor of Massachusetts, the Commissioner of Schools for Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and several school districts and their superintendents, claiming that the closure of in-person education during the COVID-19 pandemic violated Plaintiffs' rights under the IDEA and that Defendants illegally discriminated against Plaintiffs on the basis of disability in violation the Americans with Disabilities Act and 42 U.S.C. 1983. The district court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs' claims were properly dismissed in full either because Plaintiffs lacked standing to request the relief they sought, because the claims were moot, and/or because Plaintiffs failed to exhaust administrative remedies. View "Roe v. Healey" on Justia Law
U.S., ex rel. Nargol & Langton v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc.
The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court dismissing with prejudice Relators' qui tam suit brought under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729, against DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. and related entities (collectively, DePuy) alleging a fraudulent scheme involving hip replacement devices sold by DePuy, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion.The district court dismissed this case with prejudice under Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b) for failing to comply with multiple protective and court orders that governed Relators' use of confidential information. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err by granting DePuy's motion for reconsideration and to set aside, amend, or later the district court's final judgment; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that Relators had violated protective orders and in imposing the sanction of dismissal with prejudice; and (3) Relators were not entitled to relief on their remaining allegations of error. View "U.S., ex rel. Nargol & Langton v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc." on Justia Law
Posted in: Health Law
Lowe v. Mills
The First Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part in this case brought against three Maine government officials in their official capacities (collectively, the State) and several healthcare providers (the Providers) by Plaintiffs, seven healthcare workers whose employment was vaccinated after they refused to accept COVID-19 vaccination (collectively, the Providers), holding that the court erred in dismissing certain claims.In 2021, under the "Mandate," Maine required certain healthcare facilities to ensure that their non-remote workers were vaccinated against COVID-19. Plaintiffs alleged that their sincerely-held religious beliefs prevented them from receiving any of the available COVID-19 vaccines and requested that their employers, the Providers, exempt them from the vaccination requirement. The Providers refused and terminated Plaintiffs' employment. Plaintiffs brought this suit alleging several claims. The district court dismissed the complaint in its entirety. The First Circuit reversed in part, holding that the district court (1) did not err in dismissing Plaintiffs' claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; but (2) erred in dismissing Plaintiffs' claims for relief under the Free Exercise and Equal Protection Clauses. View "Lowe v. Mills" on Justia Law
Gilbert v. Kent County Memorial Hospital
The First Circuit affirmed the order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Kent County Memorial Hospital and Michael Dacey, M.D., in his individual capacity and as President of Kent Hospital, and dismissing Richard Gilbert, M.D.'s suit challenging the Hospital Board of Trustees' revocation of Dr. Gilbert's privileges at Kent Hospital, holding that dismissal was proper.In granting summary judgment for Defendants, the district court concluded that Dr. Gilbert had not rebutted the presumption that Defendants were immune from liability in damages under the Health Care Quality Improvement Act (HCQIA), 42 U.S.C. 11101-11152, and immune from suit under Rhode Island state law. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the Board was entitled to HCQIA immunity; and (2) the Board was entitled to immunity under R.I. Gen. Laws 23-17-23(b). View "Gilbert v. Kent County Memorial Hospital" on Justia Law
Medicaid & Medicare Advantage Products Ass’n of Puerto Rico, Inc. v. Emanuelli-Hernandez
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court determining that Act 90, passed by the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico in 2019, was preempted by federal law, holding that the district court did not err.Act 90 requires that Medicare Advantage plans compensate Puerto Rico healthcare providers in Puerto Rico at the same rate as providers are compensated under traditional Medicare. Plaintiffs, several entities that managed Medicare Advantage plans, filed suit seeking a declaratory judgment and an injunction barring the "mandated price provision," arguing that the Medicare Advantage Act preempted the challenged provision and that provision was unconstitutional. The district court ruled in favor of Plaintiffs. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Act 90's mandated price provision was preempted by federal law. View "Medicaid & Medicare Advantage Products Ass'n of Puerto Rico, Inc. v. Emanuelli-Hernandez" on Justia Law
United States, ex rel. Lovell v. AthenaHealth, Inc.
In these two different qui tam cases in which the United States executed a settlement agreement with AthenaHealth, Inc. and multiple relators, the First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Relators' denial of their claims for attorneys' fees, holding that the district court did not err.Relators Cheryl Lovell and William McKusick appealed from the district court's denial of their entire claim for attorneys' fees under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729 et seq., and relator Georgie Sandborn appealed from the omission of certain claimed fees from his attorneys' fees award. The First Circuit (1) affirmed as to Lovell and McKusick, holding that these relators did not receive a relator's share and so were not entitled to attorneys' fees; and (2) affirmed as to Sanborn, thus rejecting his argument that he may be allowed fees associated with his claim, in which the government did not intervene. View "United States, ex rel. Lovell v. AthenaHealth, Inc." on Justia Law