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

December 2013 Archives

Circuits with interesting cities within their jurisdiction always churn out interesting cases -- and with Boston in its purview, the First Circuit is an example of that.

With Boston making the news quite a bit this year, the First Circuit had its fair share of headlines. Not limited to newsy pieces, we also saw some law coming out of the First that is currently under review by the Supreme Court.

As we reflect on 2013, here's a quick rundown of the big issues of the past year, as we move forward into 2014:

Season's Greetings! 5 Holiday Traditions From the 1st Circuit

Although Christmas is for many Americans a religious occasion, the federal courts have upheld its status as a legal holiday.

One court reasoned that "by giving federal employees a paid vacation day on Christmas, the government is doing no more than recognizing the cultural significance of the holiday."

But did you know that each state of the First Circuit celebrates the holiday in a unique way? Here's an overview of some Christmas traditions found in the circuit's five jurisdictions:

Rhode Island Judge Streamlines Massive Foreclosure Mediation Docket

U.S. District Judge John J. McConnell Jr. issued an order to streamline the handling of his massive foreclosure mediation docket involving hundreds of cases. The order came after the First Circuit Court of Appeals ordered specific limits on the amount of court time and money that can be spent on handling the mediation process.

Each case will get one bite at the mediation apple -- and many oranges parties won't even get that.

Did you know that you don't have to tip skycap employees? Tips are appreciated, but not required -- though to make sure our bags are in the same place as we are, and at the same time, we always tip.

What does this have to do with the First Circuit? It may be a factor in a retaliation suit.

Factual Background

One skycap, Joseph Travers, sued Flight Services under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") for failing to pay a minimum wage. He led the charge, and persuaded other skycaps to sue as well, creating a putative class.

Massachusetts Settles Massey Mine Explosion Lawsuit for $264M

On Monday, Massachusetts Treasurer Steven Grossman announced a $265 million deal with Alpha Appalachia Holdings Inc. The deal settles allegations that the coal miner misled investors, including the state's pension fund, by misrepresenting its safety record ahead of a deadly 2010 Massey Energy mine explosion that killed 29 people.

The settlement is good news for investors and state taxpayers alike.

December is not known for ground-breaking legal decisions, especially in light of the very few precedential decisions issued lately. So, in honor of end-of-the-year clean up, and general "keeping yourself busy," we're giving you the run down on some changes to rules and fees.

Massachusetts Judges Get a Pay Bump: Early Retirement to Follow?

With Massachusetts judges receiving a $30,000 a year salary increase slated to take effect in July 2014 -- a move that will hike pensions -- a number of judges may retire early.

The salary increase may prompt many judges to step down with higher pensions, leaving Governor Deval Patrick a slew of open spots on the bench to fill near the end of his term.

In 2009, the Supreme Court decided Herring v. United States, a 5-4 decision that held the exclusionary rule does not apply to evidence that is obtained by police mistake and negligence, "rather than systemic error or reckless disregard of constitutional requirements."

We are now seeing the Herring-effect make its way through the circuit courts.