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The First Circuit summarily affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ claims that HSBC could not foreclose on their property under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 244, 14 and that the mortgage encumbering their property was obsolete by operation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 260, 33. Plaintiffs borrowed money from a lender to purchase property. Plaintiffs executed a promissory note and mortgage identifying Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) as the mortgagee. MERS later assigned the mortgage to HSBC Bank USA, N.A. After Plaintiffs defaulted on their loan HSBC provided notice of a foreclosure sale. Plaintiffs sued HSBC and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., the mortgage servicer, to enjoin the sale. The district court denied Plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction and granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). The First Circuit agreed that Plaintiffs failed to state a claim, substantially for the reasons articulated by the district court. View "Hayden v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A." on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s determination that, under Puerto Rico law, Caribbean Seaside Heights Properties, Inc.’s suit for breach of contract against Erikon LLC, its former investment partner, was barred by a release that Seaside had executed earlier in Erikon’s favor. In 2006, the parties executed an agreement to sell their real estate project. As part of that agreement, Seaside and Erikon each agreed to execute releases in favor of the buyer and in favor of each other. When Erikon later refused to pay Seaside reimbursement for expenses Seaside had purportedly incurred in connection with the project, Seaside initiated this suit. The district court granted summary judgment for Erikon, finding the release both valid and applicable. The First Circuit summarily affirmed, holding that the release executed by Seaside provided Erikon with a defense against this action, substantially for the reasons articulated by the district court. View "Caribbean Seaside Heights Properties v. Erikon LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence that was seized from Defendant’s apartment pursuant to a warrant. While law enforcement agents were seeking the warrant, other agents entered Defendant’s apartment, detained the individuals present in the apartment, and while securing the premises came upon some of the evidence that was later seized. The district court denied Defendant’s motion on independent-source grounds, concluding that there was no evidence that either the warrant or the decision to seek the warrant was tainted by what the officers saw during the initial entry. The First Circuit agreed, holding (1) the warrant was not based on information gleaned from the warrantless seizure and sweep of Defendant’s apartment; and (2) the officers’ conduct did not rise to a level that might arguably justify a departure from the normal rules governing suppression. View "United States v. Dent" on Justia Law

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After a revocation hearing, Defendant, who violated the conditions of his supervised release, was sentenced to ten months’ imprisonment, to be followed by two years of supervised release. Defendant was originally convicted for acting as an accessory after the fact to an armed credit union robbery and sentenced to a term of imprisonment, to be followed by supervised release subject to standard and special conditions. The sentence imposed upon Defendant after the revocation of his supervised release included the same previously imposed conditions. On appeal, Defendant challenged certain conditions of his supervised release sentence. The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s sentence, holding that the district court committed no error, plain or otherwise, in fashioning Defendant’s sentence. View "United States v. Goodwin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The First Circuit reversed the district court’s conclusion that Plaintiff was likely to succeed on the merits of his contention that a provision of the Maine Civil Rights Act facially violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of the freedom of speech. The challenged provision bars a person from making noise that “can be heard within a building” when such noise is made intentionally, following an order from law enforcement to cease making it, and with the additional intent either to jeopardize the health of persons receiving health services within the building or to interfere with the safe and effective delivery of those services. The district court granted Plaintiff’s request for a preliminary injunction, concluding that the measure, as a content-based speech restriction, did not satisfy strict scrutiny. The First Circuit disagreed, holding that the noise provision was properly treated as a content-neutral time, place, or manner restriction that survived Plaintiff’s facial challenge under intermediate scrutiny. View "March v. Mills" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the sentence imposed by the district court for Defendant’s conviction of distribution of five grams or more of cocaine base. On appeal, Defendant challenged the classification of his prior Massachusetts convictions as crimes of violence under the residual clause of section 4B1.2(a)(2) of the United States Sentencing Guidelines. Defendant’s prior convictions included assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (ABDW, resisting arrest, larceny from the person, and assault and battery on a police officer. The First Circuit held that under the Guidelines’ residual clause, Defendant’s ABDW convictions were for crimes of violence, and therefore, Defendant was correctly sentenced as a career offender. View "United States v. Wurie" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s convictions, following a jury trial, of one count of aiding and abetting the interstate transportation of three victims for purposes of prostitution. The court held (1) the court did not abuse its discretion in admitting certain exhibits into evidence; (2) Defendant was not denied a fair trial because information concerning similar bad acts was presented to the jury via cross-examination when Defendant took the witness stand on his own behalf; (3) the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions; (4) Defendant’s claims of inadequate jury instructions were without merit; and (5) the district court correctly denied Defendant’s motion for a mistrial. View "United States v. Blanchard" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The district court did not err by admitting a letter Defendant wrote under Fed. R. Crim. P. 410, which prohibits the use of certain plea-bargain-related statements against a Defendant in later proceedings. The letter, which Defendant addressed to the judge presiding over his case, requested that the judge remove his counsel and also stated that Defendant accepted his “responsibility as to guilt.” The trial court permitted the government to admit a redacted version of the letter at trial. The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s conviction and sentence, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the letter because the letter was admissible under the version of Rule 410 in effect today; (2) the district court’s end-of-trial judicial-notice jury instruction was not plain or obvious error; and (3) even if Defendant’s sentencing arguments were not waived, he did not show any clear or obvious error that impacted his substantial rights. View "United States v. Bauzo-Santiago" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The First Circuit reversed the judgment of the district court and remanded this case involving the ownership of the Touro Synagogue building and associated land and rimonim used in the worship in the Touro Synagogue. Congregation Jeshuat Isreal (CJI) brought a declaratory judgment against Congregation Shearith Israel (CSI), and CSI counterclaimed. The district court concluded that CJI was owner of the rimonim and that CSI was owner of the building and real estate subject to a trust for CJI as representing the practitioners of Judaism in Newport, Rhode Island. The First Circuit reversed, holding that the only reasonable conclusions to be drawn from the parties’ own agreements determining property rights by instruments customarily considered by civil courts are that CSI owns both the rimonim and the real property free of any trust or other obligations to CJI except as lessor to CJI as holdover lessee. View "Congregation Jeshuat Israel v. Congregation Shearith Israel" on Justia Law

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A jury convicted Defendant of attempted Hobbs Act extortion and attempting to collect an extension of credit by extortionate means. Defendant appealed, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence to support his convictions. The First Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the evidence was sufficient to sustain Defendant’s conviction of the extortion charge because the evidence was sufficient to show that Defendant attempted to extort $0,000; but (2) the evidence was insufficient to sustain Defendant’s conviction on the remaining charge because a rational jury could not conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Defendant manifested his assent to defer payment or used extortionate means to “exact repayment of credit previously extended.” View "United States v. DiDonna" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law