Rulings in Employment Discrimination, Bankruptcy, and SEC's Rule 10b-5(b) Cases - Civil Rights Law - U.S. First Circuit
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Rulings in Employment Discrimination, Bankruptcy, and SEC's Rule 10b-5(b) Cases

Today, the First Circuit decided two employment discrimination cases, liability of a bankruptcy court appointed receiver, and a matter involving SEC's action against registered broker-dealer for Rule 10b-5(b) violations.

In Lockridge v. Univ. of Maine Sys., No. 09-1895, the court faced a challenge to the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant in a professor's gender discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation claims against a university.  In affirming the decision, the court held that plaintiff's claims must fail as a matter of law as there was lack of any evidence suggesting that the university's proffered reason was pretextual, and the employer's denial of plaintiff's particular request for office space did not amount to a materially adverse employment action.

In Foley v. Town of Randolph, No. 09-1558, the court addressed the issue of whether the Fire Chief's spoke in his official capacity when he made public statements at the scene of a fatal fire regarding fire department's budgetary and staffing shortfalls.  In affirming the decision that his suspension was not a violation of his First Amendment rights, the court held that in limited circumstances such a press conference, there could be no doubt that plaintiff was speaking in his official capacity and not as a citizen.

In a bankruptcy trustee's action for misfeasance against the court appointed receiver in In Re: Am. Bridge Prod. Inc., No. 09-1165, the court faced the challenge of the district court's judgment that the action was barred by the statute of limitations.  In reversing the dismissal, the court held that the statute of limitations did not bar the action as the receiver had not rendered a final accounting or been discharged in a state or federal court.

In SEC. & Exch. Comm'n v. Tambone, No. 07-1384, the court dealt with the SEC's interpretation of the word, "make" as used in Rule 10b-5(b) in its action against the defendant for allegedly allowing certain preferred customers to engage in market timing.  In affirming the district court's dismissal of the SEC's case, the court held that the SEC's expansive interpretation of the word is inconsistent with the text of the rule and with the ordinary meanings of the phrase "to make a statement," inconsistent with the structure of the rule and in considerable tension with Supreme Court precedent.

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