Decisions In Immigration, Employment Retaliation, & Unauthorized Practice of Law Cases - Civil Rights Law - U.S. First Circuit
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Decisions In Immigration, Employment Retaliation, & Unauthorized Practice of Law Cases

Real Estate Bar Ass'n for Massachusetts, Inc. v. Nat'l Real Estate Info. Serv., No. 09-1809, concerned the Real Estate Bar Association's suit against defendant for unauthorized practice of law.  First, the court vacated in part the judgment of the district court against plaintiff on its unauthorized practice of law claim, as in Massachusetts, the state judicial branch and the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (SJC) in particular, is solely responsible for defining what is the practice of law, and here, there is no controlling precedent which addresses whether the activities at issue constitute unauthorized practice of law.  Lastly, the court reversed and remanded as to the district court's judgment on defendant's dormant Commerce Clause counterclaim, as plaintiff is not a state actor, defendant has not stated a dormant Commerce Clause claim against plaintiff, and plaintiff's bringing of its suit against defendant under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 221, section 46B is protected by the First Amendment.   

Rodriguez-Garcia v. Miranda-Marin, No. 08-2319, concerned a municipal employee's suit, claiming that she was transferred to another position in retaliation for testimony she gave before the Puerto Rico Government Ethics Office, in violation of her rights under the First Amendment and Puerto Rico law.  In affirming the judgment of the district court, the court held that the evidence presented at trial is sufficient to support the jury finding that plaintiff suffered an adverse employment action sufficient to support her section 1983 claim.  The court also ruled that the defendants would not have taken the same adverse employment action in the absence of her protected conduct, and as such, the mayor is personally liable for retaliation under section 1983, as is the municipality.  Also held that the court did not abuse its discretion in affirming the damages award in the amount of $350,000, and that the court's determination that plaintiff waived her law 115 claim, was not an abuse of discretion.   

Larios v. Holder, No. 09-1869, concerned a Guatemalan native's petition for review of a decision denying his application for asylum and related relief.  In denying the petition, the court held that the IJ's decision to deny petitioner's asylum claim was well-reasoned and supported by substantial evidence and controlling precedent.  

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