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

January 2018 Archives

The gender discrimination case of Lori Franchina against the Providence, Rhode Island fire department is not for the faint of heart.

Despite seemingly being on a fast track to a management position within the department, Franchina's career trajectory seemed to be abruptly cut short after she complained of retaliation for talking to a superior about another firefighter's immature behavior. After she was questioned about the incident, she began encountering severe retaliation as well as gender discrimination.

Franchina experienced, using the court's own words, an abhorrent and vile hostile working environment. And according to a jury, and both the district and appellate courts, the city and department failed to do their jobs, resulting in a nearly $1 million award (inclusive of attorney fees).

Circuit Court Upholds Convictions for Defrauding Government

David E. Gorski had a good business plan: get government contracts for a construction company owned and operated by disabled veterans.

It worked like a charm, quickly bringing in more than $110 million under a government program. There's was only one problem: disabled veterans didn't actually own and control the company.

For defrauding the government, Gorski received 30 months in prison and a $6.7 million forfeiture order. In United States of America v. Gorski, he said he relied on his lawyers and accountants. The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals said that was no excuse.

Fake Prescriptions Case Goes Back to Trial Court

Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson is different, and it has nothing to do with the spelling of her name.

It has to do with her words and how she crafts an opinion. Any judge who can introduce a standard of review with a "quick heads up," knows how to catch a reader's attention.

At least that's how Thompson explained the decision of the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals in United States of America v. Stepanets. As it turned out, the defendants needed the warning.

Massachusetts Sues Mental Health Company for Fraud

Christine Martino-Fleming wasn't going to take it anymore. So she filed a whistleblower suit against her former employer.

That prompted the Massachusetts attorney general to take a long look at South Bay Mental Health Center. AG Maura Healey concluded the business was fraudulently billing the state for "unlicensed, unqualified and unsupervised" services.

It goes to show that sometimes you should bite the hand that feeds you. And when a company serves 50,000 people, that's a lot of bites.

In a not so surprising turn of events, Bill Cosby has caught another break in court. However, the pudding pop pusher's break is less a win for him, and more a loss for one of his accusers, Katherine McKee.

McKee filed a defamation action after Cosby's lawyers pretty much called her a liar. The liar aspersion cast by Cosby's lawyers related to McKee's recounting of a story from 1974 where she claims Cosby raped her by force in his hotel room. Interestingly, McKee's allegations do not involve drugging, which allegedly is Cosby's M.O.

The district court dismissed McKee's defamation claim, and the First Circuit affirmed, basically explaining that she placed herself in the public spotlight of a rather controversial issue. Upon pressing the circuit for reconsideration, McKee received none.