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In this design-defect product-liability case, the district court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the case for Plaintiff's failure to prosecute and to comply with scheduling orders. Plaintiff brought this action against Defendants. Plaintiff served no discovery before the discovery deadline, and Plaintiff’s counsel did not at the outset retain an expert. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the absence of any expert testimony was fatal to Plaintiff’s case. The district court subsequently granted Plaintiff’s request to reopen discovery, set a new expert-disclosure deadline and other requests for time extensions without any sanction. After the extended deadline for filing an opposition to the motion for summary judgment came without Plaintiff’s opposing the motion, the district court dismissed the case for failure to prosecute and failure to comply with scheduling orders. The district court denied Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration. The First Circuit affirmed. View "McKeague v. One World Technologies, Inc." on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a Nigerian citizen by birth, pleaded guilty to making a material false statement in a matter within the jurisdiction of the United States government. Because of his conviction, Petitioner was permanently barred from obtaining lawful permanent resident status and was subject to deportation at any moment. Nearly a decade after his probationary sentence ended, Petitioner sought a writ of error coram nobis that vacates or allows him to revise the factual basis of his conviction. As grounds for the writ, Petitioner alleged that the performance of his attorney was constitutionally deficient under Sixth Amendment standards, and therefore, his conviction arose from fundamental error. The district court denied a writ of error coram nobis. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Petitioner’s counsel was not constitutionally ineffective in any way. View "Williams v. United States" on Justia Law

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Defendant was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute more than 1,000 grams of marijuana, among other charges. Defendant moved to suppress evidence taken from a warrantless search of his truck. The district judge denied the motion. Defendant later conditionally pled guilty, reserving his right to challenge the denial of his suppression motion. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the questioning of Defendant was within the permissible scope of a traffic stop, and the questions did not impermissibly extend the duration of the stop; (2) the initial search of the truck was permissible in light of Defendant’s voluntary consent; (3) the continuation of the search after Defendant withdrew his consent was permissible because probable cause existed; and (4) there were no constitutional violations during the traffic stop. View "United States v. Dion" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff defaulted after Defendant loaned Plaintiff money to buy a car. Defendant repossessed the vehicle and sent Plaintiff two notices in connection with its efforts to sell the car and collect any deficiency owed on the loan - a pre-sale notice and a post-sale notice. Plaintiff filed this putative class action claiming that the two notices violated the Uniform Commercial Code and Massachusetts consumer protection laws. Even though the parties did not request it, the First Circuit certified three questions to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court because the outcome of this case hinged entirely on questions of Massachusetts law that Massachusetts courts have not yet addressed. View "Williams v. American Honda Finance Corp." on Justia Law

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The district court properly granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant in this design defect and failure to warn action. Bernardino Santos-Rodriguez was riding in a boat when a corroded rod end that was part of the boat’s steering mechanism failed, resulting in a loss of steering and ejecting Santos from the boat. Santos sustained extensive injuries. Santos and four relatives sued Seastar Solutions, the manufacturer of the boat’s steering mechanism, alleging a design defect and a failure to warn. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Seastar. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) Santos could not prove that any failure to warn or design defect in the steering rod caused his injuries; and (2) because the district court properly granted summary judgment on Santos’s underlying claims, his relatives’ derivative claims cannot succeed. View "Santos-Rodriguez v. Seastar Solutions" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs brought this action under the Administrative Procedure Act seeking review of two biological opinions (BiOps) issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) evaluating requested modifications of existing licenses to operate four hydropower dams on the Kennebec River in Maine. FERC was required to obtain BiOps from the Fisheries Service on whether operating the dams under the proposed license modifications would jeopardize survival of the salmon species. The Fisheries Service issued an “incidental take statement,” finding that the proposed modifications would result in the incidental taking of individual fish among the protected population. Plaintiffs, environmental organizations participating in the licensing proceedings, challenged the statements. While the case was pending, FERC granted the license modifications. The district court dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that circumstances eliminated whatever claims of district court jurisdiction to review the BiOps Plaintiffs might have raised when this action was filed. View "Maine Council of the Atlantic Salmon Federation v. National Marine Fisheries Service" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the convictions of brothers Stanley Gonsalves and Joshua Gonsalves, who were convicted on multiple counts arising from their operation of an oxycodone-trafficking ring. The court held (1) the district court did not err in denying Joshua’s motion to suppress the evidence seized the night of his February 2012 arrest; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Joshua’s and Stanley’s motions for a mistrial; (3) the evidence was sufficient to support Stanley’s convictions; and (4) Stanley’s sentence was procedurally reasonable because any error in calculating his Guidelines sentencing range did not impact his substantial rights. View "United States v. Gonsalves" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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A corrections officer used the name of Joel Diaz-Nieves to shield his identity when participating in a controlled buy of fake cocaine. Joel lived with his parents and brother when FBI agents executed an arrest warrant at his home. After the indictment against Joel was dismissed, Joel and his family filed a complaint alleging that, as a result of Joel’s arrest, they suffered damages and injuries compensable under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The district court granted partial summary judgment in favor of the United States and dismissed Joel’s false arrest, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution claims. The court further dismissed the derivative and independent tort claims of Joel’s relatives under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c). The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in granting partial summary judgment for the government and entering judgment on the pleadings. View "Diaz-Nieves v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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This dispute between two businesses led to Plaintiff filing suit in federal court alleging various claims under Massachusetts law, two of which remained at issue on appeal. Those two claims were for breach of implied contract and violation of the Massachusetts catch-all consumer protection statute, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A. The district court denied Defendant’s motion for judgment as a matter of law on Plaintiff’s implied contract claims and on its chapter 93A claims. The jury found Defendant liable for breach of implied contract and for knowing and willful violation of chapter 93A. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the evidence in the record was sufficient to sustain the jury’s verdict; and (2) Defendant offered no meritorious argument for why the district court erred in submitting Plaintiff’s chapter 93A claim for damages to a jury in federal court. View "Full Spectrum Software, Inc. v. Forte Automation Systems, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law, Contracts

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Debtors filed voluntary petitions under chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code and a motion seeking bankruptcy court approval of an asset purchase agreement (APA), whereby they agreed to seek substantially all of their assets to Buyer. The bankruptcy court approved the APA through a sale order and confirmed Debtors’ proposed plan of reorganization. Appellants, senior executives of Debtor, were then informed that their employment was terminated the day the sale closed. The bankruptcy court found Buyer liable to Appellants under the APA for their severance pay. The district court vacated the judgment against Buyer, finding that Appellants’ claims against Buyer fell outside the bankruptcy court’s statutorily granted jurisdiction. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the bankruptcy court had no jurisdiction over Appellants’ claims for severance pay from Buyer because the claims were not proceedings which “arise in” the chapter 11 bankruptcy such that they fell within the grant of jurisdiction contained in 28 U.S.C. 1334. View "Quincy Medical Center v. Gupta" on Justia Law