U.S. First Circuit

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


Jerk.com Ruling Affirmed By 1st Cir. More to Come?

There's some grumbling out there about what a jerk Napster's John Fanning was to create jerk.com, a now-defunct website that asked users to rate whether a stranger was a jerk or not. But those same persons may be cheering a little inside knowing that Fanning lost a bid to undo an FTC suit against him in the First Circuit, on the grounds that he was personally liable for materially misrepresentations made on the site.

It's still a dark age we live in, though -- persons can still "Yelp" other persons. Are similar lawsuits ahead?

Cuba Steals Family's Wealth but Judgment Is Unenforceable

It's a story of family saga fit for movie-making. Two brothers, persecuted by Cuban authorities under threat of extermination, flee to America to begin a new life. Decades later, they successfully obtain a judgment against the communist nation in the amount of $2.8 billion.

But the island country has not paid a single dime of that money. And, with a recent decision on the brothers' attempts to enforce, it looks like options are running out.

VPPA Case Means Panic Mode for App Developers

The First Circuit just handed down a decision that will send app developers panic mode. The federal court has ruled that persons who surrender information without opting out can form the basis of a Video Privacy Protection Act suit against the companies who share that information with third parties.

And, unless you've been living on another planet, this has implications for pretty much all companies that collect information.

1st Circuit Gives Employers Some Breathing Room in ADA Claims

The First Circuit affirmed in whole the summary dismissal of an employee's disability discrimination claims on Monday, ruling that the employee failed to prove a prima facie case of repeated violations.

The case is sure to come as a relief to employers who have often complained that federal anti-discrimination laws are overly onerous and hamper business and profits.

Before he lost his job in 2002, Robert Murphy was making six figures as the president of a manufacturing company. So, when the Massachusetts father found himself unemployed, he assumed he would be able to find new work. In the meantime, he took on hundreds of thousands of dollars in Parent PLUS loans to pay for his three children's college educations.

Years later, Murphy hasn't been able to find regular employment. He's saddled with $246,000 in student loans, despite paying off $61,000 with money from his retirement fund. And, following years of legal wrangling, Murphy may finally be able to discharge those loans due in bankruptcy, after his debt holder agreed that repayment would be an undue hardship.

Wife Who Let Felon Husband Borrow Rifle Did Not Commit a Crime

A woman who operated an illegal marijuana farm in the northeastern United States is apparently guilty of a crime of illegally growing pot, but not for aiding and abetting, according to the First Circuit.

The federal appeals court determined that a jury should not have been allowed to convict Darlene Ford for letting her husband borrow her assault rifle for target practice merely because she "had reason to know" of his felonious past.

1st Circ. Resolves Sentencing Dispute for Failing to Register as a Sex Offender

In USA v. Pabon, the First Circuit helped clarify that under applicable laws, sex offenders must not violate the registration requirements of local laws of sex offenders or of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. Defendants would do well to understand that the more egregious their criminal background is, the harder it is to secure sympathy from the court.

First Circuit Flushes Flovac's Antitrust Suit

Few would expect so much drama to be played out over a sewer system contract, but the case of Flovac v. Airvac, is a clear exceptions. The First Circuit heard and affirmed a lower district court's summary judgment in favor of Airvac on the plaintiff's Sherman Antitrust claims.

Telecom Exec Must Face the IRS Music, 1st Circ. Rules

Summonses must be respected despite seeming changes in the relevant law, the First Circuit said in Frank Gangi v. United States. Gangi, the exec of a telecom company trying to go belly-up, had been trying to squeeze out of complying with IRS summonses that had been sent to his lawyers, his accountants, and his banks. When the IRS smells rotten fish, they usually are on to something.

When it comes to paying taxes, you can run, but you really can't hide -- at least not for long.

Forgery Case Against Daughter Affirmed by the First Circuit

The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed a forgery ruling against the plaintiff's daughter when she transferred certain stock to herself and her step-mother by forging her father's signature. Evidentiary issues arose as to whether or not the father could introduce testimony that supported the eventual ruling against her.

For those attorneys who enjoy evidence, we think you'll appreciate this case.