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

Articles Posted in Personal Injury
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The First Circuit affirmed the district court's entry of summary judgment in favor of BB&S Acquisition Corp. in this case brought by the personal representative of the estate of George Forbes, who was killed in an accident allegedly caused by Wiley Hooks, holding that the district court did not err.Before the accident, Hooks, the employee of Gregory Trucking, had delivered lumber to BB&S, which contracted with Gregory Trucking to transport a separate load of its treated lumber. After Hooks completed Gregory Trucking's contractual obligation to BB&S, Gregory Trucking hit a pick-up truck driven by George Forbes. Plaintiff brought this suit alleging that BB&S had negligently selected Gregory Trucking as an independent contractor to transport its lumber and that BB&S was the "statutory employer" of Hooks under 49 C.F.R. 390.5. The district court granted summary judgment for BB&S. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in (1) concluding that BB&S could not be liable under Massachusetts common law for the actions of an independent contractor that occurred after the completion of the job; and (2) concluding that BB&S was not the "statutory employer" of Hooks. View "Forbes v. BB&S Acquisition Corp." on Justia Law

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The First Circuit reversed the judgment of the district court granting Defendant's motion to dismiss this action seeking damages for injuries received in a boating accident, holding that this case was allowed to proceed in Plaintiffs' chosen forum.Plaintiffs were ferrying in a small boat when another boat, owned by Defendant, plowed into Plaintiffs' boat and sunk it. The crash also left one of the Plaintiffs with serious personal injuries. Plaintiffs filed suit against Defendant, a U.S. citizen, in Massachusetts, bringing claims for maritime negligence, loss of consortium, and property damages. Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint for forum non conveniens, arguing that Greece was the most appropriate venue for the case. The district court granted the motion and dismissed the case. The First Circuit reversed, holding that the district court abused its discretion in failing to hold Defendant to his burden of showing that the public and private interest factors displaced the presumption weighing in favor of Plaintiffs' initial forum of choice. View "Curtis v. Galakatos" 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 First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court granting Defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismissing Plaintiff's action against a police officer, police chief, and town alleging a violation of his federal and state civil rights for being arrested without probable cause, holding that the district court erred.During a domestic relations dispute, police officers arrested Plaintiff for domestic abuse assault. The charges were later dropped. Plaintiff then brought this action arguing that he had used justifiable force during the incident under state law to defend himself and his property. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants, concluding that the officer had probable cause to arrest Plaintiff. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that there was probable cause under federal common law supporting Plaintiff's arrest for domestic violence assault. View "Karamanoglu v. Town of Yarmouth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court entering summary judgment for Appellees and dismissing Appellant's complaint invoking 42 U.S.C. 1983 and claiming false arrest, malicious prosecution, civil conspiracy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violation of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, holding that there was no error.Appellant was attempting to enforce his perceived property rights when he unilaterally closed access to the portion of Cedar Street that crossed his property. A ruckus ensued, and Appellant was arrested for disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct. Appellant subsequently brought this action against a number of municipal actors, including the police officers who responded to the scene. The district court entered summary judgment for Appellees. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in granting summary judgment against Appellant. View "Finamore v. Miglionico" on Justia Law

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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

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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

Posted in: Personal Injury
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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

Posted in: Personal Injury
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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

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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