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

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Court: Hotel Had Duty to Man Injured in Lobby Fight

Late one night, Henry Mu was waiting for his girlfriend outside a hotel when a fight broke out.

A rowdy group of men, who had been kicked out of their room for disrupting guests, were chasing down a man. Mu told the hotel valet to call the police.

"That's not my problem," the valet said. In Mu v. Omni Hotels Management Corporation, turns out it was.

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.

Bad Prescription Case Against Target Goes Badly

Frank Andrews got his prescription at Target.

Unfortunately, the dosage was ten times the prescribed amount and he suffered renal failure. He lost his negligence suit because he failed to present timely expert evidence and other reasons in Andrews v. Target Pharmacy..

Maybe this is why you shouldn't necessarily buy prescriptions at the same counter where you buy household cleansers. Be careful where you find your lawyer, too.

No Relief for Attorney Criticized on Ripoff Report

No doubt, Richard Goren is a good attorney.

Apparently, he was too good for the opposing party who criticized him on the Ripoff Report. Goren then sued and obtained a judgment against his accuser.

But the rub came in the subsequent case against the Ripoff Report. The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals said the company was immune from liability in Small Justice LLC v. Xcentric Ventures LLC.

Shortly after discovering that her now ex-husband had been using his FBI spy tools, such as GPS monitoring equipment and more, to spy on her during their marriage, Aida Gordo-Gonzalez, not only filed for divorce, she sued the U.S. government under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

The lawsuit claims that the FBI was negligent in its supervision of her former husband, and should have realized he was misusing resources, and stopped it. However, despite this claim seeming like an obvious slam dunk winner, the U.S. was able to invoke sovereign immunity to defeat the claim.

Nordstrom Wins 'Compare at' Pricing Case

But it was on sale!

If that cost-saving expression doesn't sound familiar, then you haven't been to Nordstrom Rack. Every true shopper -- or shopper's spouse -- knows these things.

Judith Shaulis, however, had a problem with it. She bought a sweater for $49.97, which had a "compare at" price tag of $218. Joined by a class of other Nordstrom shoppers, she sued for deceptive advertising in Shaulis v. Nordstrom, Inc.

Court Tightens Requirement When Suing for Stock Fraud

Requiring stricter pleading of plaintiffs, a federal appeals court has ruled that complaints for securities fraud must trace stock purchases to specific false or misleading statements.

In the recent case In Re: Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Securities Litigation, the First Circuit held that plaintiffs cannot satisfy their pleading burden by "general allegations" when their purchases were traceable to fraudulent registrations under Section 11 of the Securities Act. When stock has been issued in multiple offerings, a plaintiff must plead that his or her shares were issued under a specific false or misleading registration statement.

According to the panel, a "general allegation that a plaintiff's shares are traceable to the offering in question is nothing more than a 'formulaic recitation' of that element."

Bad Review? Removing It Is More Complicated Than You'd Think

Do you own the copyright to posts that flame you? And if so, is it proper to use your ownership of those flame posts to have them removed from ISPs? Can you?

These and others are the issues at the center of a debate that has been roiling around in the courts for some time. Are defamed professionals allowed to own the comments that malign them? The First Circuit will chime in on this issue when it decides who owns the user comments in Ripoff Report reviews.

The First Circuit tossed out most of a lawsuit against the biotech company Genzyme last week. Genzyme is the sole producer of Fabrazyme, the only treatment for Fabry disease, a rare, deadly genetic disorder. Facing a shortage of the drug due to production complications, Genzyme instituted a rationing plan, giving patents a reduced dosage of the medicine they needed to survive -- until the supply dried up entirely.

Patients who needed Fabrazyme to avoid vision and hearing loss, stroke, and even death sued Genzyme, alleging everything from statutory violations to breaches of contract to loss of consortium. But, the First Circuit ruled this week, all but one of those patients lacked standing to sue.

Jerk.com Ruling Affirmed By 1st Cir. More to Come?

There's some grumbling out there about what a jerk Napster's John Fanning was to create jerk.com, a now-defunct website that asked users to rate whether a stranger was a jerk or not. But those same persons may be cheering a little inside knowing that Fanning lost a bid to undo an FTC suit against him in the First Circuit, on the grounds that he was personally liable for materially misrepresentations made on the site.

It's still a dark age we live in, though -- persons can still "Yelp" other persons. Are similar lawsuits ahead?