Justia U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Injury Law
McCue v. City of Bangor, Maine
Phillip McCue died after an encounter with five police officers with the City of Bangor. During the encounter, the officers sought to take McCue into protective custody due to his erratic behavior allegedly caused by ingestion of bath salts. In an attempt to restrain McCue, the officers placed him in a face-down position on the ground while two officers exerted significant weight on his neck and shoulders. McCue was declared dead after this intervention. Plaintiff, the father of Phillip, sued the City and the five officers in their individual and official capacities, asserting violations of Phillip’s constitutional rights and various state law tort claims. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants, on the basis of qualified immunity, with two exceptions. Specifically, the denied Defendants’ claims of qualified immunity as to the alleged use of excessive force after Phillip ceased resisting and as to the assault and battery claim. Defendants appealed, contending that they were entitled to qualified immunity on these remaining claims. The First Circuit dismissed the appeal, holding that material disputed facts yet to be resolved precluded summary judgment, and therefore, the Court lacked appellate jurisdiction to entertain Defendants’ interlocutory appeal at this stage. View "McCue v. City of Bangor, Maine" on Justia Law
Aponte-Davila v. Municipality of Caguas
Plaintiff filed a negligence suit in the Puerto Rico federal district court, naming as defendants the Municipality of Caguas, Consolidated Waste Service Corporation (ConWaste), and ConWaste’s insurance provider, stating that because he was domiciled in Texas and each of the defendants was domiciled in Puerto Rico, the district court had diversity jurisdiction over his state-law tort claims. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. The district court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss, finding that Plaintiff was domiciled in Puerto Rico on the date his case was filed. The First Circuit reversed, holding that Texas was Plaintiff’s domicile at the date his lawsuit was filed. View "Aponte-Davila v. Municipality of Caguas" on Justia Law
Winkelman v. CVS Caremark Corp.
The False Claims Act (FCA) forbids private parties from bringing qui tam actions on the government’s behalf alleging fraud on government programs if the complaint rests on allegations that were already publicly disclosed through certain enumerated sources. In this case, Relators brought a qui tam action under the FCA challenging certain billing practices of CVS Caremark Corp. and affiliated companies (collectively, CVS). The district court dismissed the action, concluding that previous disclosures and controversies triggered the FCA’s public disclosure bar. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the public disclosure bar forbade Relators’ suit. View "Winkelman v. CVS Caremark Corp." on Justia Law
Paret-Ruiz v. United States
Appellant was convicted of drug conspiracy charges and imprisoned for almost four years. The charges also led to Appellant’s forfeiture of two trucks and a boat. A previous panel of the First Circuit reversed the conviction, concluding that the charges were not supported by the evidence. Thereafter, Appellant filed a civil suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act, alleging, among other claims, malicious prosecution, false arrest and imprisonment, and the unlawful deprivation of his property. The district court denied relief. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Appellant’s challenges to the district court’s rejection of his claims failed. View "Paret-Ruiz v. United States" on Justia Law
Rando v. Leonard
Shelly Rando, a pharmacy technician at a CVS Pharmacy in Massachusetts, was suspected of stealing more than 100 bottles of a pain medication. Michelle Leonard, a loss prevention manager at CVS, interviewed Rando. Durimg the interview, Rando confessed to stealing all of the missing bottles. Rando was subsequently terminated. Rando sued Leonard for intentional interference with contractual relations, alleging that Leonard forced her to confess. The federal district court granted summary judgment in favor of Leonard. The First Circuit affirmed the grant of summary judgment, holding that the evidence did not support a claim for intentional interference with contactual relations. View "Rando v. Leonard" on Justia Law
Posted in: Injury Law
Hochendoner v. Genzyme Corp.
Fabry Disease, a rare genetic disorder, leaves afflicted persons unable to synthesize a key enzyme that helps the body break down fats. Untreated, Fabry patients suffer progressively more severe symptoms, including pain in their extremities, gastrointestinal issues, vision and hearing losses, stroke, and heart and kidney failure, eventually leading to premature death. Researchers at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine developed a method for producing a replacement enzyme, which effectively treats (but does not cure) Fabry. After patenting this method, Mt. Sinai granted an exclusive license to Genzyme, which became the sole producer of the replacement enzyme, "Fabrazyme," the only FDA-approved enzyme replacement therapy for the treatment of Fabry. Genzyme provided the drug to Fabry patients until 2009. After a virus was discovered in improperly cleaned equipment at the company's manufacturing facility, Genzyme reduced production, leading to a Fabrazyme shortage. The company began rationing. Despite setbacks in reestablishing production levels, in 2011 Genzyme diverted some Fabrazyme to the European market, allegedly because of competition Genzyme faced from an alternative enzyme replacement therapy approved only in Europe. Two class action complaints were consolidated and dismissed. The First Circuit affirmed in part, for lack of standing, noting “the utter failure of any plaintiff (other than Mooney) to plausibly allege that he or she suffered an injury in fact as a result of accelerated disease progression or receipt of a contaminated drug.” View "Hochendoner v. Genzyme Corp." on Justia Law
Villoldo v. Castro Ruz
Two brothers were awarded a $2.79 billion judgment against the Republic of Cuba and other Cuban parties. The brothers subsequently sought to satisfy the federal judgment. The district court concluded that certain assets the brothers sought to attach to satisfy the judgment were not the property of the Cuban government and thus were not subject to attachment in satisfaction of their judgment. The brothers appealed. The trustee who controlled the assets at issue cross-appealed, arguing that the district court erred by denying its motion for attorneys’ fees incurred in proceedings addressing whether it had to turn over the assets to the brothers. The First Circuit affirmed in all respects, holding that the district court (1) did not err in dismissing the case, as the assets at issue were not the property of the Cuban government; and (2) did not err in denying the trustee’s motion for attorneys’ fees as untimely. View "Villoldo v. Castro Ruz" on Justia Law
Quilez-Velar v. Ox Bodies, Inc.
Maribel Quilez-Bonelli died from injuries she received in an automobile accident with a truck used by employees of the Municipality of San Juan. The truck had fitted onto its trash body an underride guard designed by Ox Bodies, Inc. Maribel’s family members (collectively, Quilez) brought suit in federal district court against Ox Bodies, seeking damages for negligence and defective design of the under ride guard. A jury found Ox Bodies strictly liable for defective design and awarded Plaintiffs $6 million in damages. The jury assigned twenty percent of responsibility for the damages to Ox Bodies and eighty percent to the Municipality of San Juan, which was not a party in the suit. The magistrate judge ruled that Ox Bodies should be held responsible for only twenty percent of the damages award. Both parties appealed. The First Circuit (1) affirmed the magistrate judge’s decision to admit the testimony of Quilez’s expert regarding an alternative underride guard design; and (2) as to Quilez’s appeal, certified to the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico the question of the extent of Ox Bodies’ liability for the damages award. View "Quilez-Velar v. Ox Bodies, Inc." on Justia Law
Walsh v. Teltech Systems, Inc.
TelTech Systems, Inc.’s SpoofCard service, a prepaid minutes-based calling service, enables customers to disguise the phone number from which they place calls. In 2009, a customer placed several phone calls to Appellant using SpoofCard and, posing as someone else, made a series of sexually harassing comments to Appellant. Appellant sued TelTech under Massachusetts’s consumer protection statute. The district court granted summary judgment for TelTech, concluding that no reasonable jury could find that TelTech’s actions caused Appellant’s injuries. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in ruling that, on this record, TelTech was entitled to summary judgment on Appellant’s state law claim. View "Walsh v. Teltech Systems, Inc." on Justia Law
Yershov v. Gannett Satellite Info. Network, Inc.
Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. is an international media company that produces news and entertainment programming through a proprietary mobile software application (the “App”). Plaintiff downloaded and installed the App on his Android mobile device. Every time Plaintiff watched a video clip on the App, Gannett shared information about Plaintiff with Adobe Systems Incorporated. Plaintiff brought this putative class-action lawsuit against Gannett for allegedly disclosing information about him to a third party in violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA). The district court dismissed the action under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), concluding that that information disclosed by Gannett was “personally identifiable information” (PII) under the VPPA but that Plaintiff was not a “consumer” protected by the VPPA. The First Circuit reversed, holding that the complaint adequately alleged that Plaintiff was a “consumer” under the VPPA. Remanded. View "Yershov v. Gannett Satellite Info. Network, Inc." on Justia Law