Justia U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Personal Injury
Roy v. Canadian Pacific Railway Co.
The First Circuit dismissed Plaintiffs' appeal for want of jurisdiction, holding that the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (the bankruptcy rules), and not the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (the civil rules), govern cases that have come within the federal district court's jurisdiction as cases "related to" a pending bankruptcy proceeding. 28 U.S.C. 1334(b).In this case arising from the derailment and explosion in Lac-Megantic, Canada, Plaintiffs brought thirty-nine separate suits against several defendants. The derailment occurred on the watch of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA). MMA sought the protection of the bankruptcy court. Plaintiffs' suits were removed to federal district court. Plaintiffs subsequently joined Canadian Pacific Railway Company as an additional defendant. The suits were centralized in the District of Maine. The district court later granted Plaintiffs' request to dismiss their claims against all defendants except Canadian Pacific pursuant to a settlement agreement that was part of MMA's plan of liquidation. The district court entered judgment for Canadian Pacific. Plaintiffs moved for reconsideration of their motion to file an amended complaint. The district court denied the motion as untimely. The First Circuit dismissed Plaintiffs' appeal, holding that the Bankruptcy Rules governed the procedural aspects of this case, Plaintiffs' motion to reconsider was untimely, and the attempted appeal was untimely. View "Roy v. Canadian Pacific Railway Co." on Justia Law
Carswell v. E. Pihl & Sons
The First Circuit denied Petitioners' petition for review from the decision of the Benefits Review Board affirming an administrative law judge's denial of Petitioners' claims for compensation under the Defense Base Act, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below.After a United States military aircraft carrying nuclear weapons crashed near Thule, Greenland in 1968 and released radioactive materials into the area, military and civilian personnel assisted in the cleanup efforts. In 2010, Petitioners, some of the civilian personnel, filed claims for compensation, asserting that they were exposed to plutonium radiation at the site, leading to their development of various illnesses. An administrative law judge denied the claims, concluding that Petitioners did not establish a causal connection between their illnesses and any alleged plutonium exposure. The Benefits Review Board affirmed. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Petitioners' arguments were unavailing. View "Carswell v. E. Pihl & Sons" on Justia Law
Davallou v. United States
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiff's suit against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 1346(b), 2671-2680, holding that the district court properly found that the United States was entitled to sovereign immunity pursuant to the FTCA's "discretionary function exception."As part of an annual "Change of Command" ceremony, the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts, a historic military organization with no present-day military functions, arranged for military artillery to be fired within Boston Common by the Massachusetts Army National Guard (MANG). The noise produced from howitzers firing blank rounds cased Plaintiff to suffer permanent hearing damage. The district court dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff did not meet his burden of alleging facts that would support a finding that MANG's exercise of discretion was not susceptible to policy analysis; and (2) the challenged actions taken in this case did not fall outside the realm of possible policy decisions. View "Davallou v. United States" on Justia Law
Roe v. Lynch
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiff's lawsuit brought against Defendant, the local district attorney, after Plaintiff was terminated from his employment with a police department by the Town Manager in a town in Penobscot County, Maine, holding that dismissal was proper.Plaintiff's complaint against Defendant alleged that Defendant violated his due process rights by failing to provide him with meaningful notice and opportunity to dispute allegations about his misconduct that Defendant made and allegedly sent in a letter to the Department's police chief that led the Town to its decision. The district court dismissed on state law grounds. The First Circuit affirmed on different grounds, holding that Plaintiff failed to state a claim for a due process violation under either the United States or Maine Constitution. View "Roe v. Lynch" on Justia Law
Carrozza v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc.
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of CVS Pharmacy, Inc. and dismissing this complaint involving a pharmacist's dispensation of a prescription that triggered the pharmacy's internal warning system, holding that the district court did not err.Plaintiff brought this action alleging that he sustained permanent ocular damages as a result of a medication dispensed by CVS. Plaintiff brought a claim for negligence, a claim under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A, and a claim for product liability. The district court granted summary judgment for CVS. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiff did not provide any adequate basis for reversing the district court's decisions. View "Carrozza v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc." on Justia Law
Carrasquillo-Serrano v. Municipality of Canovanas
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court denying the Municipality of Canovanas's Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b) motion to overturn the default judgment entered for Plaintiffs on Plaintiffs' claims brought under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), 42 U.S.C. 1395dd, and Puerto Rico law, holding that Canovanas's arguments were unavailing.Plaintiffs, Julio Carrasquillo-Serrano (Carrasquillo) and his family, alleged that Canovanas owned, operated, and/or managed CDT of Canovanas, the emergency medical facility that provided medical services to Carrasquillo and that Carrasquillo was permanently disabled as a result of Defendants' negligence. The district court entered judgment for Plaintiffs. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the judgment was not void for lack of jurisdiction; (2) service of process was sufficient; (3) a statutory limitation of liability is an affirmative defense; and (4) the district court had jurisdiction to determine the merits of Plaintiffs' EMTALA claims. View "Carrasquillo-Serrano v. Municipality of Canovanas" on Justia Law
LaChance v. Town of Charlton
The First Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment to Defendants - police officers and their employer - on the basis of qualified immunity in this case alleging, among other things, excessive force pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983, holding that the district court erred in granting Defendants' motion for judgment as a matter of law.Plaintiff sued the officers who pushed him onto a sofa-recliner, which toppled over, and who then kneeled on his back. The district court concluded that the push and the kneel constituted two discrete uses of force, granted summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity to Defendants as to the push, and entered a directed verdict for Defendants on the remaining counts, finding that Plaintiff failed to prove that any injury he suffered was caused by the kneel. The First Circuit vacated the judgment in part, holding (1) the push was not a clearly established violation of Plaintiff's right to be free of unreasonable seizures; but (2) there was enough evidence from which a reasonable jury could have found that it was more likely than not that the kneel caused Defendant some additional injury. View "LaChance v. Town of Charlton" on Justia Law
Justiniano v. Walker
The First Circuit affirmed the judgments of the lower courts dismissing Plaintiff's wrongful death and civil rights claims against the Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police Colonel Timothy Alben for failure to state a claim and granting summary judgment for Massachusetts State Trooper Stephen Walker based on the qualified immunity doctrine, holding that there was no error.Walker shot and killed Wilfredo Justiniano, Jr. on the side of a highway. Plaintiff, Justiniano's sister and the personal representative of his estate, brought this suit alleging that Walker used excessive force against Justiniano in violation of his constitutional rights and that Alben was liable for, among other things, failure to train. The magistrate judge dismissed the claims against Alben and granted summary judgment for Walker. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) there was insufficient evidence to support a conclusion that Alben acted with deliberate indifference when he allegedly neglected to train Walker on how to interact with the mentally ill; and (2) Walker is qualifiedly immune. View "Justiniano v. Walker" on Justia Law
Nandjou v. Marriott International, Inc.
In this appeal arising out of a lawsuit for damages that Plaintiff brought against three defendants in connection with the drowning deaths of her husband and son, the First Circuit reversed the judgment of the district court dismissing the suit based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens, holding that dismissal was not warranted.Plaintiff named as defendants Marriott International, Inc.; Marriott Worldwide Corporation; and Reluxicorp, Inc., the Marriott franchisee in Montreal where the drowning occurred. The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts found personal jurisdiction over Defendants but dismissed it based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens, concluding that an adequate alternative forum was available in Canada. The First Circuit reversed in part, holding (1) the district court correctly denied Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction; but (2) the district court erred in granting Defendant's motion to dismiss on forum non conveniens grounds. View "Nandjou v. Marriott International, Inc." on Justia Law
Fagre v. Parks
The First Circuit affirmed the order of the district court granting summary judgment against Plaintiff, acting as the personal representative of the estate of Ambrosia Fagre (Amber), on claims related to Amber's death, holding that the district court did not err when it granted Trooper Jeffrey Parks's motion for summary judgment on Plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. 1983 claim.Plaintiff's complaint alleged use of excessive force against Amber in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments under section 1983 and use of excessive force against Amber in violation of Me. Const. art. I, 5 under the Maine Civil Rights Act, failure to protect Amber in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, and negligence and wrongful death under Maine state law. The district court granted Trooper Parks's motion for summary judgment. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) summary judgment on Plaintiff's section 1983 claim was warranted, and Trooper Parks was also entitled to qualified immunity; and (2) the district court did not err by granting summary judgment on Plaintiff's state law claims because Trooper Parks was entitled to immunity under the Maine Tort Claims Act, Me. Stat. Tit. 14, 8111(1). View "Fagre v. Parks" on Justia Law