U.S. First Circuit

U.S. First Circuit - The FindLaw 1st Circuit Court of Appeals News and Information Blog


Court Upholds Hospital's Non-Union Hiring

Reversing a decision by the National Labor Relations Board, a federal appeals court has upheld a hospital group's preference for hiring non-union workers at its non-union hospitals.

The First Circuit Court of Appeal said the NLRB did not have substantial evidence for its finding that the hospital group unfairly preferred non-union workers. The court acknowledged that the hospital group also had a policy preferring union workers at its unionized hospital.

The court said the employer's desire to treat its union and nonunion employees and "even-handed" way negated an inference that the policy was motivated by union animus.

New Hampshire law allows, but doesn't require, abortion clinics to create a buffer zone around their facilities, of up to 25 feet. The public, with some exceptions, is excluded from that zone.

Abortion opponents sued to have the law overturned under the Supreme Court's McCullen v. Coakley decision, issued just a few days after the buffer zone law was enacted. Except there's a fatal flaw to that lawsuit, the First Circuit ruled last Wednesday: the law has never been activated or enforced.

Drug-Testing Discrimination Case Revived by First Circuit

Reviving a lawsuit by black police officers who claimed hair testing for drugs discriminated against them, a federal appeals court has ruled that hair testing "plus urinalysis" could be a reliable alternative to hair testing alone.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a trial court decision against ten Boston Police Department employees who claimed that the hair test alone was discriminatory. According to the court, hair tests showed that 99 percent of white workers did not use illegal drugs and 98 percent of black employees did not use them.

The court said that amounted to a disparate impact on the black officers, and that a hair test plus urinalysis could have been offered to them instead. The trial court must reconvene for a jury to decide whether "hair testing plus urinalysis" would be more fair to the officers.

"The record contains sufficient evidence from which a reasonable factfinder could conclude that hair testing plus a follow-up series of random urinalysis tests for those few officers who tested positive on the hair test would have been as accurate as the hair test alone at detecting the nonpresence of cocaine metabolites while simultaneously yielding a smaller share of false positives in a manner that would have reduced the disparate impact of the hair test," the court said.

It has not easy being Sai. The activist, who goes by a mononym to reject any authority to make him use another name, got rejected by a federal appeals court in his case against the Transportation Security Administration. He wanted the court to appoint a lawyer for him in his fight against body scanning by the TSA.

The First Circuit Court of Appeal had one word for him: "No."

Court Tightens Requirement When Suing for Stock Fraud

Requiring stricter pleading of plaintiffs, a federal appeals court has ruled that complaints for securities fraud must trace stock purchases to specific false or misleading statements.

In the recent case In Re: Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Securities Litigation, the First Circuit held that plaintiffs cannot satisfy their pleading burden by "general allegations" when their purchases were traceable to fraudulent registrations under Section 11 of the Securities Act. When stock has been issued in multiple offerings, a plaintiff must plead that his or her shares were issued under a specific false or misleading registration statement.

According to the panel, a "general allegation that a plaintiff's shares are traceable to the offering in question is nothing more than a 'formulaic recitation' of that element."

A federal judge in Puerto Rico overreacted when he had court officers forcibly seat an attorney who had objected to an objection, the First Circuit said yesterday. But that overreaction wasn't enough to overturn the drug conviction of Marquez-Perez, the court found.

Rather, it was the performance from that same, forcibly-seated lawyer that may save Marquez-Perez. Since the attorney had failed to review important evidence before trial, Marquez-Perez may have been denied effective counsel, the First Circuit ruled.

Insider Trading Rule: 'Gratitude' Can Be a 'Personal Benefit'

The First Circuit affirmed a pair of consolidated insider trading convictions in which general gratitude for being a tippee could be considered a personal benefit under federal securities laws. The same goes for wine, steak and massage parlors.

If that doesn't worry you, that's probably because you don't golf too much.

Man Who Used Fake Trade Name to Bilk $200K Loses Appeal of Sentence

A man who was criminally convicted for having used a fake trade name to bilk thousands of victims into writing him checks failed to get the First Circuit to overturn his sentence. It appears that unless fortune smiles upon Darren Stokes, his four-year sentence in federal prison will stand.

The court found that no reasonable expectation of privacy exists in pieces of mail that do not feature a potential defendant's personal address. In his fraud scheme, Stokes not only used a phony address, but also a fake name.

First Circuit Dismisses Gun Law Challenge, Upholds Restrictions

Former Supreme Court Justice David Souter graced the First Circuit, sitting by designation, for an appeal involving the Second Amendment. It seems like guns are getting all the press these days.

But Souter's opinion wasn't exactly what we would call a treatise of judicial erudition. The darn thing was only eight pages in Courier font.

Bad Review? Removing It Is More Complicated Than You'd Think

Do you own the copyright to posts that flame you? And if so, is it proper to use your ownership of those flame posts to have them removed from ISPs? Can you?

These and others are the issues at the center of a debate that has been roiling around in the courts for some time. Are defamed professionals allowed to own the comments that malign them? The First Circuit will chime in on this issue when it decides who owns the user comments in Ripoff Report reviews.