U.S. First Circuit

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

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.

Cop Killer Proves to Be His Own Worst Enemy in Miranda Case

As so often happens, a convicted cop-killer in United States v. Lashaun Casey ended up implicating himself after he continued to talk, despite being Mirandized and notified of his right to remain silent.

It's another example that every criminal attorney should use to teach their clients: just stay quiet.

The First Circuit tossed out most of a lawsuit against the biotech company Genzyme last week. Genzyme is the sole producer of Fabrazyme, the only treatment for Fabry disease, a rare, deadly genetic disorder. Facing a shortage of the drug due to production complications, Genzyme instituted a rationing plan, giving patents a reduced dosage of the medicine they needed to survive -- until the supply dried up entirely.

Patients who needed Fabrazyme to avoid vision and hearing loss, stroke, and even death sued Genzyme, alleging everything from statutory violations to breaches of contract to loss of consortium. But, the First Circuit ruled this week, all but one of those patients lacked standing to sue.

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.