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

Articles Posted in Personal Injury
by
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

by
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

by
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

Posted in: Personal Injury
by
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

Posted in: Personal Injury
by
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

Posted in: Personal Injury
by
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

by
In this case, the First Circuit held that a viable substantive due process state-created danger claim was presented against two Maine State Police officers and that the district court erred in granting the officers' summary judgment motion on qualified immunity grounds.This 42 U.S.C. 1983 action arose out of the attacks, murder, and rapes committed in 2015 by Anthony Lord against Brittany Irish and those close to her (Plaintiffs) after actions and inactions by the defendant officers. Plaintiffs sought relief based on the state-created substantive due process danger doctrine, under which officers may be held liable for failing to protect plaintiffs from danger created or enhanced by their affirmative acts. The district court granted summary judgment to the officers on the grounds of qualified immunity. The First Circuit (1) affirmed the district court's ruling that a jury could find that the officers violated Plaintiffs' substantive due process rights; and (2) reversed the grant of Defendants' summary judgment motion on qualified immunity grounds, holding that a reasonable jury could conclude that the facts of this case could give rise to a constitutional violation under the state-created danger doctrine. View "Irish v. Fowler" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
by
The First Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on Plaintiff's racial discrimination and retaliation claims against the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), holding that both challenges were meritless.Plaintiff brought claims of racial discrimination, unlawful retaliation, and negligent infliction of emotional distress against the MBTA. The district court granted summary judgment to the MBTA on all claims. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff did not produce sufficient evidence to get to a jury on his claim that he was denied a promotion based on his race; and (2) Plaintiff did not establish a prima facie case of retaliation. View "Henderson v. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority" on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit vacated the decision of the district court granting summary judgment for Defendants and dismissing Plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. 1983 action on the grounds that Plaintiff's claims were time barred, holding that there was no basis for summary judgment on the record.Plaintiff filed suit against the City of Biddeford, Captain Norman Gaudette with the Biddeford Police Department (BPD), and Chief of Police Roger Beaupre, alleging that Gaudette sexually abused him as a teenager in the later 1980s and that the City and Baupre were deliberately indifferent to Gaudette's violation of his constitutional rights when Plaintiff reported the abuse. Defendants argued that the suit was barred by the statute of limitations. In response, Plaintiff asserted that his claims did not accrue until 2015, when he learned that the BPD and Baupre allegedly knew of at least one other report of Gaudette sexually abusing a minor that pre-dated Plaintiff's experience. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants. The First Circuit reversed, holding (1) a reasonable jury could find that Plaintiff had no duty to diligently investigate his claims against Defendants before 2015; and (2) therefore, the district court erred in concluding as a matter of law that Plaintiff's claims accrued at the time of his injury in the late 1980s. View "Ouellette v. Beaupre" on Justia Law

by
In this insurance coverage dispute, the First Circuit vacated the decision of the district court holding that United Rentals, Inc. was entitled to defense costs from Scottsdale Insurance Company as an additional insured and that the Scottsdale policy afforded additional insured coverage to United Rentals for its direct and vicarious liability but that this coverage was excess above United Rentals' own coverage under its policies with ACE American Insurance Company, holding that the district court erred in part.Gomes Services, Inc. contracted with United Rentals to rent an electric boom lift. While operated by a Gomes employee, the lift struck and injured Guy Ayotte. Ayotte sued United Rentals and Gomes. At the time of the accident, Gomes was insured by Scottsdale under a policy that extended coverage to any party that Gomes was required by written contract to add as an "additional insured." United Rentals requested that Scottsdale defend and indemnify United Rentals. After the district court made its ruling both parties appealed. The First Circuit held (1) Scottsdale had a duty to indemnify United Rentals in the Ayotte action for both its direct and vicarious liability; and (2) United Rentals' relevant policies did not qualify as "valid and collectible insurance," and therefore, the Scottsdale policy afforded coverage to United Rentals. View "Scottsdale Insurance Co. v. United Rentals, Inc." on Justia Law