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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s conviction and sentence, holding that the district court did not err in refusing to order a pretrial hearing to test the sufficiency of probable cause allegations supporting an arrest warrant and did not err in classifying Defendant as an armed career criminal and sentencing him under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e). Defendant entered a guilty plea to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Classifying Defendant as an armed career criminal, the court sentenced him to a fifteen-year term of immurement. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the district court appropriately denied Defendant’s motion for a Franks hearing; and (2) there was no sentencing error. View "United States v. Barbosa" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s conclusion that the discretionary function exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 1346(b)(1), barred Appellant’s suit under the circumstances of this case. Appellant was seriously injured while participating in the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program, through which individuals can sign up to join the Marine Corps but delay entry in order to better prepare for basic training. Appellant sued the United States, alleging that his superior’s decision to subject him to an especially arduous workout had caused his physical injuries and disabilities, that those actions were negligent, and that, pursuant to the FTCA, he was entitled to damages. The district court dismissed the case, concluding that Appellant’s claim stemmed from the performance of a discretionary function, and since the United States had not waived sovereign immunity for such claims, the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that this case must be dismissed for want of jurisdiction because Appellant’s claim was based on a discretionary function. View "Hajdusek v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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In this case brought under section 104 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (the LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. 414, the First Circuit affirmed the district court’s holding that a union member’s statutory right to “inspect” collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) did not encompass a right to take notes while doing so. Dimie Poweigha, a member of Local Union 26, UNITE HERE, was dissatisfied with the administration of Local 26 and asked the union to permit her to review thirty-seven CBAs that Local 26 had negotiated with employers other than her own. The union offered Poweigha opportunities for this purpose but stated that she could not take notes on the CBAs during her inspections. Poweigha filed this suit alleging that the limitation on note-taking violated section 104 of the LMRDA. The district court granted judgment for Local 26. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that, in conferring a right on union members to “inspect” CBAs under section 104, Congress did not also invest the members with a right to take notes. View "Acosta v. Local Union 26, UNITE HERE" on Justia Law

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The issues before the First Circuit were (1) the power of a court to impose a prior restraint in the form of a permanent injunction forbidding the publication of words that the court believes have been used to defame the plaintiff in the past and are likely to be repeated; (2) whether the evidence in this case allowed the jury to find Samia El-Moslimany liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress and to find Samia and her mother, Ann El-Moslimany, liable for defamation, tortious interference with contract, and tortious interference with advantageous relations; and (3) whether the damages awarded on those claims were excessive. The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court with respect to the claims of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and tortious interference with contract, reversed the judgment with respect to the claim for tortious interference with advantageous relations, and vacated the post-trial injunction issued by the district court, holding (1) the permanent injunction does not survive strict scrutiny; and (2) the jury’s findings of liability on most of Plaintiff’s tort claims and corresponding money judgments were proper, but the evidence was insufficient to support the claim for tortious interference with advantage relations claim. View "Sindi v. El-Moslimany" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The district court’s decision to grant the jury’s oral request, made during deliberations, for a dictionary was improper, but under the circumstances of this case, the judge did not abuse his discretion in denying Appellant’s motion for a new trial. Appellant was found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and substantive mail fraud, based upon his certification of false injury claims submitted to the American Family Life Insurance Company. On appeal, Appellant argued that the judge erred in denying his motion for a new trial where the jury was exposed to material not properly offered during trial. The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court, holding (1) the judge’s decision to grant the jury’s request, over Defendant’s objection and with no discussion on the record, to use the dictionary was error; but (2) the trial judge took thorough, effective action to investigate the impact of the error and properly concluded that Appellant suffered no prejudice. View "United States v. Pagan-Romero" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit upheld the decision of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to impose a limit - through a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit - on the amount of nitrogen that the Taunton Wastewater Treatment Plant may discharge. After the final permit issued, the City of Taunton, Massachusetts appealed to the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB), challenging both the need for any nitrogen limit and the specific limit that the permit imposed. The EAB denied the City’s administrative appeal on the merits. The City then appealed to the First Circuit, challenging the final agency action on various procedural and substantive grounds. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that none of the City’s procedural or substantive challenges had merit. View "City of Taunton v. United States Environmental Protection Agency" on Justia Law

Posted in: Environmental Law

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The First Circuit addressed questions that were “intricate, entangled, and in some instances novel” in this case implicating Massachusetts law. The questions included (1) whether a non-majority shareholder who also serves as a director can be deemed a controlling shareholder; (2) what effect, if any, shareholder ratification may have with respect to a self-interested transaction; and (3) whether, in the absence of economic loss, equitable disgorgement can be ordered as a remedy for a breach of fiduciary duty. The First Circuit affirmed both the district court’s multi-million-dollar disgorgement order in favor of the plaintiff class and the jury’s take-nothing verdict in favor of Defendant, holding that the district judge committed no reversible error in handling the issues presented in this case. View "MAZ Partners LP v. Shear" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s conviction for social security fraud stemming from his fraudulent use of a social security number not his own, holding that the evidence was sufficient to sustain a conviction. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in denying his motions for a judgment of acquittal, filed at the close of the government’s case-in-chief and again after the jury returned its verdict. Specifically, Defendant argued that 42 U.S.C. 408(a)(7)(B) required his acquittal. The First Circuit disagreed, holding that both the language and purpose of the statute fit perfectly Defendant’s conduct and his intent. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that neither the jury nor the district judge was confused by the statutory language, and Defendant was properly convicted under the statute. View "United States v. Acosta-Joaquin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The district court erred in granting Defendant’s motion to dismiss, based on an arbitration provision, Plaintiff’s claims that Defendant violated various articles of the Puerto Rico Civil Code and federal copyright and trademark laws. This suit stemmed from a songwriting contest held in Puerto Rico in 2014. As a contestant, Plaintiff agreed to the terms of the contest’s rules, which included an arbitration provision. The provision compelled the submission to arbitration of those claims that “aris[e] in connection with, touch upon or relat[e] to” those rules. The district court granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) based on that arbitration provision. The First Circuit reversed, holding that the arbitration provision did not reveal that the parties to it intended for Defendant, a third party, to benefit from it with the requisite clarity. View "Cortes-Ramos v. Martin-Morales" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed in part, reversed in part, and vacated in part the convictions of Angel Gabriel Fernandez-Jorge, Brian Perez-Torres, Jose A. De La Cruz-Vazquez, Edwin Otero-Díaz, Isaias Mendoza-Ortega, Edwin Otero-Marquez, and Rafael Martinez-Trinidad stemming from a shootout that took place in front of a public housing project in Humacao, Puerto Rico. The Court held (1) sufficient evidence supported Defendants’ convictions for possession of a firearm in a school one; (2) there was insufficient evidence to support Fernandez-Jorge’s conviction for possession of a firearm in a school zone; (3) the district court erred in instructing the jury on aiding and abetting liability, which required Defendant’s convictions for possession of a firearm in a school zone to be vacated; and (4) there was insufficient evidence to support the convictions of Mendoza-Ortega and Otero-Marquez for possession of a firearm as convicted felons. View "United States v. Fernandez-Jorge" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law