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

February 2014 Archives

$100,000 in Attorneys' Fees on $7,650 Damages Award OK: 1st Cir.

When opposing counsel turn a deaf ear to your settlement desires, pointing them to Diaz v. Jiten Hotel Management Inc. might help: an employer had to pay more than 10 times the damages award in attorney's fees.

The case is a good way to reinvigorate one's litigation sticker shock.

More specifically, the First Circuit's decision serves as an excellent reminder that a seemingly rinky-dink discrimination case can add up to a major expenditure of resources and staggering attorneys' fees for the loser.

When it rains, it pours. The First Circuit is not usually a very busy circuit to report on, but it happens to have a lot going on right now. Rather than focusing on one case, we thought we'd give you the scoop on the biggest headlines in the First Circuit.

Sex Changes Hearing En Banc

Just a month ago we reported that the First Circuit affirmed a district court's ruling that an inmate's gender reassignment surgery is medically necessary. Now, the court has granted a motion for rehearing en banc with the full panel of the First Circuit, and a new hearing is scheduled for May 8, 2014, reports The Boston Globe.

CROCS: Weird Looking But Not Necessarily Dangerous, Says 1st Cir.

Personal injury attorneys may want to pay attention to a First Circuit ruling issued last month on products liability claims against CROCS shoes.

FindLaw favorite Judge Bruce Selya opens with an amusing observation about the clogs' fashion faux pas: "CROCS are odd looking shoes, known for their comfort."

Odd looking yes, but dangerous around escalators? It's not clear, the surprisingly fashion conscious panel ruled.

1st Cir. Judge Bruce Selya Speaks About FISA Court

Curiosity and controversy continues to mount over the National Security Agency's surveillance programs.

Bruce Selya, senior federal judge on the First Circuit, gave a talk this week on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, explaining the inner workings of the secret court.

The lecture, entitled "The View from Inside the FISA Courts," was the first in a series of security seminars sponsored by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University as part of its ongoing expansion and redesign.

Back in November, the First Circuit had an opportunity to decide the interplay between the First Amendment and a terrorism statute, but it skirted the issue. Last week, the First Circuit heard arguments concerning the First Amendment and another terrorism statute -- the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act ("AETA"), reports Salon.

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

The AETA was enacted in 2006, and in sum criminalizes "1) intentionally damaging or causing the loss of real or personal property; 2) intentionally placing a person in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury; and 3) conspiring or attempting to commit either of these two acts." The statute also explicitly states that nothing in the Act should be construed to interfere with free speech under the First Amendment.

Creepy Shoulder Touching By Boss Not Sexual Harassment: 1st Cir.

A female former sales manager claimed that her male supervisor twice reached around and placed a hand on her shoulder while driving her to a hotel after work. He allegedly told her "she owed him" for hiring her. The First Circuit conceded such actions "would feel very uncomfortable" but that they didn't rise to the level of actionable sexual harassment.

The case centered on what constitutes severe and pervasive conduct and the "but-for" causation in unlawful terminations.

The First Circuit has been making national headlines for the past year, as all eyes wanted to see the fate of Whitey Bulger. Now, an equally (if not more) gripping case is progressing through the First Circuit -- the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a/k/a the surviving accused Boston Marathon bomber.

As we give you an update on this case, we also explain that the Supreme Court recently granted cert in an unrelated criminal case that could have far-reaching effects on our Fourth Amendment rights prohibiting unreasonable search and seizure.