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

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The First Circuit vacated the judgment of the district court dismissing this complaint after concluding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Appellant's suit under the Anti-Injunction Act of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. 7241, holding that the district court erred in dismissing the complaint.Appellant brought a complaint against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and some of the IRS's agents alleging that Defendants violated the Fourth and Fifth Amendments and 26 U.S.C. 7609(f) by acquiring Appellant's personal financial information through a third-party summons process. The district court dismissed Appellant's claims for declaratory and injunctive relief for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, ruling that the Anti-Injunction Act of the Internal Revenue Code, 262 U.S.C. 7421, constituted an exception to the APA's waiver of sovereign immunity. The First Circuit vacated the judgment, holding that the Anti-Injunction Act did not bar Appellant's suit. View "Harper v. Rettig" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the conclusion of the district court that the Maine Medical Marijuana Act's requirement that officers and directors of medical marijuana dispensaries operating in Maine be Maine residents violates the dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, holding that that Maine residency requirement violates the dormant Commerce Clause.Plaintiffs brought this suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and 28 U.S.C. 2201 alleging that the Act's residence requirement violates the dormant Commerce Clause by permitting only in-staters to serve as officers or directors of dispensaries. The district court granted judgment for Plaintiffs. On appeal, Defendants argued that because the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), 21 U.S.C. 801 et seq., makes marijuana contraband, the residency requirement does not run afoul of the dormant Commerce Clause. The First Circuit disagreed, noting that "a congressional exercise of commerce power can never, merely by being in place, displace the dormant Commerce Clause." The Court then affirmed, holding that "nothing on the face of the CSA purports to bless interstate discrimination in the market for medical marijuana that continues to operate even in the face of the CSA." View "Northeast Patients Group v. United Cannabis Patients & Caregivers of Maine" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant's conviction of one count of false impersonation of an employee of the United States, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on his claims of error.On appeal, Defendant primarily challenged the sufficiency of the evidence offered for the jury to convict him. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant's argument that the "intent to defraud" remains an inherent part of an 18 U.S.C. 9212 violation which the government move prove despite Congress's removal of that language in 1948 was waived for inadequate briefing; and (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting the government's motion to quash a request for testimony of federal officers to corroborate his claims that he was working as an FBI agent at the time of his arrest. View "United States v. Vazquez-Rosario" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The First Circuit dismissed Petitioner's petition for review of an immigration judge's (IJ) denial of his application for withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture and denied Petitioner's petition to review the Board of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) denial of his motion to reopen proceedings, holding that Petitioner was not entitled to relief.On January 16, 2020, the BIA dismissed Petitioner's appeal of the IJ's denial of his application for withholding of removal and protection under CAT. On June 10, 2020, the BIA denied Petitioner's motion to reopen. Petitioner petitioned for review of both decisions. The First Circuit held (1) Petitioner's petition for review was untimely as to the January 16 decision; and (2) the BIA did not err by denying Petitioner's motion to reopen his orders of removal. View "Sarmiento v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Family Medicine Associates (FMA) and one of its members (together, Defendants) and dismissing this lawsuit alleging breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and nonpayment of wages, holding that Plaintiff's claims on appeal were unavailing.Plaintiff, a licensed physician, brought this lawsuit against his former employer nearly three years after his employment relationship was terminated. In his complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Defendants' breached their oral promise of a partnership that was never committed to writing. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants on all counts. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiff failed to put forth sufficient evidence to survive summary judgment. View "Guldseth v. Family Medicine Associates LLC" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit dismissed Appellant's appeal from his mandatory minimum sixty-month sentence, holding that Appellant knowingly and voluntarily agreed to an appeal waiver, barring this appeal.Pursuant to a written agreement, Appellant pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. The sentencing court sentenced Defendant to sixty months' imprisonment and eight years of supervised release. Appellant appealed, stating that enforcing his appeal waive would work a miscarriage of justice. The First Circuit dismissed the appeal, holding that even if Appellant hadn't waived his argument on appeal, there was no miscarriage of justice. View "United States v. Candelario-Ramos" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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In this dispute between Boston Executive Helicopters (BEH) and the Town of Norwood, the First Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the district court denying BEH's motions to enforce the parties' settlement agreement as construed by BEH and to rescind the settlement agreement, holding that Norwood breached one provision of the settlement agreement.The settlement agreement at issue temporarily resolved the parties' dispute, but BEH later moved the district court to enforce the agreement as construed by BEH. On appeal from the district court's denial of the motion, BEH filed a motion to rescind the settlement agreement or, in the alternative, to reconsider its denial of the motion to enforce. The district court denied the requests. The First Circuit largely affirmed, holding (1) remand was required for consideration of BEH's motion for enforce the agreement as it pertained to one issue; and (2) otherwise, the district court's judgment was without error. View "Boston Executive Helicopters, LLC v. Maguire" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts
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The First Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the district court granting Edge Pharma, LLC's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim the allegations brought by Azurity Pharmaceuticals, Inc. under both the Lanham Act and Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A based on statements that Edge made on its website, holding that Azurity's claims cannot survive.Azurity's suit alleged that the statements at issue falsely represented that Edge was not in violation of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and that the statements falsely held out Edge's vancomycin drug as being superior to Azurity's. The district court concluded that the FDCA precluded Azurity's Lanham Act claim, which meant that the Chapter 93A likewise failed "as it is premised on the same allegations" as the Lanham Act claim. The First Circuit held (1) the district court properly dismissed the Lanham Act claim on the alternative ground that Azurity did not plausibly allege that some of the statements made a misleading representation of fact and that other statements at issue were in violation of the Lanham Act; and (2) insofar as no variant of Azurity's Lanham Act claim could survive, for the same reasons this Court vacates and affirms in part the dismissal of Azurity's Chapter 93A claim. View "Azurity Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Edge Pharma, LLC" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of the Town of Brookline and its Selectmen and dismissing Plaintiffs' claims of unconstitutional mistreatment by the Town's "deliberate indifference" to complaints of racial discrimination by Brookline police, holding that Plaintiffs' claims on appeal were unavailing.The five named plaintiffs here claimed that Brookline police officers violated their rights under the Equal Protection Clause by treating them differently because they are Hispanic. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the record evidence did not support a finding of deliberate indifference. View "Baez v. Town of Brookline, Mass." on Justia Law

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In this dispute over an award of attorneys' fees under 42 U.S.C. 1988, the First Circuit identified only one defect in the award, thus vacating the existing fee award in the amount of $20,243 and remanding to the district court to enter a modified fee award in the amount of $18,218, holding that the district court abused its discretion in part.The underlying case revolved around a parcel of real property in Puerto Rico formerly owned by Plaintiff. Defendants, including the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority, moved for summary judgment for Plaintiff's failure to seek just compensation in the Puerto Rico courts before raising a federal takings claim. The district court granted the motion. As to attorney's fees, the district court found that the federal takings claim was frivolous and awarded payment of fees in the amount of $20,243. The First Circuit vacated the award, holding that the time expended in connection with a non-frivolous supplemental tort claim should have been deducted from the fee award. View "Efron v. Mora Development Corp." on Justia Law