Decisions in Immigration, Title VII and Asset Forfeiture Matters - Civil Rights Law - U.S. First Circuit
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Decisions in Immigration, Title VII and Asset Forfeiture Matters

Today, the First Circuit decided a Title VII discrimination and retaliation suit brought by a teacher, a petition for review of a BIA's final order and a criminal defendant's action seeking return of his property seized, without notice, following his 1991 arrest and conviction for drugs. 

Agusty-Reyes v. Dep't of Educ. of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, No. 09-1247, involved a math teacher's Title VII discrimination and retaliation suit against defendant arising from an on-going sexual harassment by her former supervisor that eventually led to a physical attack.  In reversing the district court's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment, the court held that the district court erred as a reasonable jury could find that plaintiff suffered from sexual harassment amounting to a hostile work environment and also, that a reasonable jury could find that plaintiff suffered prohibited retaliation.

In US v. Flores-Rivera, No. 09-1131, the First Circuit dealt with a defendant's action seeking return of seized property without notice in an asset forfeiture action arising from his drug arrest and conviction in 1991.  After many attempts and many years by the defendant seeking return of his property, the district court ruled that his property should be returned, but at the same time, ordered that the funds be applied to his criminal fines.  In vacating the ruling, the court remanded the case to the district court with instructions to promptly conduct a hearing, follow applicable statutory procedures and provide the defendant with the long-delayed process to which he is entitled.

Mejilla-Romero v. Holder, No. 08-2336, involved a challenge to BIA's final order denying petitioner's application for asylum and related relief.  In denying the petition for review of the order, the court held that the BIA and the Immigration Judge considered all relevant evidence or record in rejecting petitioner's claims on a number of independently sufficient grounds, such as his claim of past persecution allegedly suffered while living with his grandmother in Honduras as well as his claim of future persecution on account of his resistance to gang membership.

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