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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to compel arbitration in connection with this case brought by Plaintiff alleging various wage-and-hour claims. Defendant’s motion to compel arbitration was based on an agreement between Defendant and a vendor affiliated with Defendant from whom Plaintiff received his compensation. The district court concluded that Plaintiff should not be compelled to arbitrate because he never signed the agreement containing the arbitration clause and had no idea that the agreement even existed. Defendant appealed, arguing that Plaintiff should be compelled to arbitrate under federal common law principles of contract and agency. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Defendant’s arguments on appeal were without merit. View "Ouadani v. TF Final Mile LLC" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ suit challenging the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) termination of tier disability benefits for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on Plaintiffs’ failure to have exhausted their administrative remedies. After the SSA terminated the disability benefits that Plaintiffs had been receiving, Plaintiffs challenged that decision administratively. Before they had exhausted the administrative review process, however, Plaintiffs filed suit in federal court seeking various kinds of relief based presumably on the same grounds as the claims that had presented to the SSA in seeking to continue to receive their benefits. The district court granted the government’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, concluding that Plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative remedies. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs failed to show that they could not obtain a restoration of their benefits through the administrative review process, despite evidence suggesting that they would have a substantial chance of doing so. View "Justiniano v. Social Security Administration" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment for Defendants in this action filed by Plaintiff claiming that Defendants discriminated against her based on her gender and sexual preference and exposed her to a hostile work environment and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and various provisions of Puerto Rico law. The district court ultimately dismissed all of the claims. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the district court erred in concluding that Plaintiff failed to show a genuine factual dispute as to whether she experienced a hostile work environment based on gender and retaliatory motivation and erred in finding those claims to be untimely. The Supreme Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment for Defendants on Plaintiff’s hostile work environment claims under both federal and Commonwealth law, holding that Plaintiff failed to meet her burden to produce competent evidence showing that any of the work conditions she encountered within the statute of limitations period amounted to harassment on the basis of the improper motivations she alleged. View "Maldonado-Catala v. Municipality of Naranjito" on Justia Law

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The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Appellant’s motion for extension of time to file notice of appeal pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 8002(d)(1)(B) for failing to show excusable neglect. Appellant filed her motion one business day late as a result of her attorney’s preoccupation with his second job as a church’s music director. The district court concluded that counsel’s explanation for the delay amounted to mere inadvertence and did not constitute excusable neglect. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that Appellant’s counsel’s inadvertence did not constitute excusable neglect and that Appellant was bound by counsel's carelessness. View "Sheedy v. Bankowski" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Plaintiffs’ motion for reconsideration of the district court’s grant of summary judgment dismissing all of their claims against various insurance companies and certain of those companies’ employees under 42 U.S.C. 1981 and Puerto Rico law. The complaint alleged that Defendants unlawfully interfered with Plaintiffs’ right to “make or enforce” existing and prospective contracts with Defendants’ insureds or third-party claimants. The district court granted summary judgment on all claims against Defendants. The First Circuit affirmed, largely on waiver grounds, holding (1) Plaintiffs expressly waived certain issues on appeal by failing to raise them in their opening brief; and (2) Plaintiffs’ remaining claims on appeal were unavailing. View "Best Auto Repair Shop, Inc. v. Universal Insurance Group" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed an order of the bankruptcy court denying Appellant Chapter 7 discharge on the grounds that she made material, knowing, and fraudulent false oaths in the course of her bankruptcy proceedings. The bankruptcy judge concluded that the failure of Appellant, an attorney, to disclose two lawsuits to which she was a party indicated that she had not filed her bankruptcy case in good faith. The United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit affirmed. Thereafter, the bankruptcy judge denied Appellant’s discharge, concluding that she had acted with reckless indifference to the truth by failing to disclose the two lawsuits in a timely manner. The district court affirmed. The First Circuit also affirmed, holding that the bankruptcy judge did not clearly err in finding that Appellant had made false statements with reckless indifference to the truth. View "Zizza v. Harrington" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy

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This case was once again before the First Circuit after the court certified to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) some state-law questions arising from this diversity-based declaratory-judgment action governed by Massachusetts substantive law. The case was brought by Mount Vernon Fire Insurance Company, the employment-practices liability insurer of VisionAid, Inc., seeking a declaratory judgment that it had no duty to prosecute VisionAid’s embezzlement counterclaim in litigation brought against VisionAid alleging age discrimination. The federal district court ruled that Mount Vernon did not have to foot the bill for VisionAid’s affirmative counterclaim. On appeal, the First Circuit certified three questions to the SJC, two on the duty-to-defend issue and one on a conflict-of-interest issue, which was the only question left for the court to decide in the instant appeal. At issue was whether a conflict of interest existed between the parties that permitted VisionAid to choose the attorney to defend the suit brought against it by the ex-employee, with Mount Vernon paying for that defense. The First Circuit answered in the negative, holding that the presence of the embezzlement counterclaim did not generate a conflict of interest entitling VisionAid to separate counsel to defend against the ex-employee’s suit at Mount Vernon’s expense. View "Mount Vernon Fire Insurance Co v. VisionAid, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Plaintiff’s motion to amend on the ground that the First Circuit’s earlier decision was law of the case. Plaintiff, acting on behalf of her daughter, brought suit against the Falmouth School Department (Falmouth) alleging that it failed to provide O.M. with a free appropriate public education (FAPE) as guaranteed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq. The district court entered judgment in favor of Plaintiff. The First Circuit reversed in Falmouth I, holding that Falmouth did not violate O.M.’s right to a FAPE. After the First Circuit’s decision in Falmouth I, Plaintiff sought to amend her complaint to include a claim that she had not included in her district court complaint. The district court denied the motion to amend. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court properly denied Plaintiff’s motion to amend under the law of the case doctrine. View "Ms. M. v. Falmouth School Department" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of Defendants’ motion to strike many of the facts set forth in Plaintiff’s statement of facts in support of his summary judgment motion, as well as the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Defendants in this personal injury lawsuit. Plaintiff and the driver of a tractor trailer were involved in a vehicle collision. Plaintiff bought this negligence suit against the driver and the company that owned the vehicle and hired the driver. The district court granted Defendants’ motion to strike Plaintiff’s statement of facts and then granted summary judgment to Defendants. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the district court properly struck the expert reports attached to Plaintiff’s opposition to Defendants’ motion for summary judgment; and (2) summary judgment was properly granted for Defendants. View "Amoah v. McKinney" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment sentencing Defendant to a 120-month statutory maximum term of imprisonment in connection with his guilty plea to a single count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The court held (1) the district court did not commit procedural error by focusing on Defendant’s numerically and graphically expansive record of drug and weapons charges to justify its variant sentence; and (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that the statutory maximum sentence was justified because of Defendant’s pattern of serious crimes, and therefore, Defendant’s sentence was not substantively unreasonable. View "United States v. Concepcion-Montijo" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law