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

December 2014 Archives

1st Cir. Year in Review: Top 10 Stories of 2014

The First Circuit. It's one of my personal favorites because of the judges themselves -- from the logoleptic Senior Judge Bruce Selya to the talented storytelling Judge Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson.

What were the year's most exciting stories from the First Circuit? From sex changes to strip clubs to Fidelity's fiduciary duties, these were the 10 most popular posts, in terms of traffic, for 2014:

No Sexual Reassignment Surgery for Inmate: En Banc 1st Cir.

Michelle Kosilek, born as Robert, is a transgender individual who identifies as female and who wishes for her physical sex to match her gender. The problem is, she murdered her wife in 1990.

The Massachusetts Department of Correction does not wish to pay for sexual reassignment surgery. Kosilek argues that not doing so amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. She has twice previously attempted suicide and self-castration (all while awaiting trial for murder) and lesser treatments (hormones and psychotherapy) have not relieved her mental anguish over her gender identity disorder.

In 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf ordered the state to pay for the surgery. Earlier this year, a split First Circuit panel upheld that decision, 2-1. But today, an en banc court reversed in an opinion penned by the original panel's dissenter, while the two majority judges from the prior panel decision penned dissents.

Lawsuit Against Anti-Gay Pastor Over Ugandan Activism May Proceed

Scott Lively has traveled the world speaking up against the "gay agenda." He has given speeches everywhere from Oregon, to Moscow, to Kampala. But it was his speeches in Uganda that had the greatest impact.

After giving a series of lectures on how homosexuals supposedly prey on children, Ugandan officials passed an extremely harsh anti-gay law that makes homosexuality a crime punishable by life in prison in some instances (earlier drafts included death as a penalty). After the bill was passed, waves of vigilante violence swept the country against suspected gay individuals.

Now, he'll face a crimes-against-humanity lawsuit over his contribution to the fervor after the First Circuit denied his request for a writ of mandamus to dismiss the lawsuit, reports The Republican.

Company Can't Assert Arbitration Clause After Filing Lawsuit

When Joca-Roca Real Estate and Robert Brennan entered into a contract back in 2005, the contract contained an arbitration clause. No biggie: Arbitration clauses are everywhere, especially now that we know they trump state contract law in some important ways.

But what else do they trump? Do they trump the common law doctrine of waiver? No, they don't, said the First Circuit Court of Appeal in a case decided Monday.