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


A recent case out of the First Circuit Court of Appeals provides some much needed clarity on the relationship between the False Claims Act and the federal anti-kickback statute related to Medicare claims.

In short, a fired management-level employee's whistleblower retaliation case was revived on appeal due to the fact that a violation of the anti-kickback statute basically begets a False Claims Act violation, and that to prove retaliation, a plaintiff need not prove an actual violation. As the court explained, a plaintiff doesn't need to complain about "fire," but rather just the existence of "smoke."

'Persecutor Bar' Closes Door to Immigrant

A lifetime ago in El Salvador, Jose Alvarado joined the national guard because it was the only job he could get to feed his family.

One day, however, he stood by as his superiors beat a suspected guerilla and forced needles under the man's fingernails. Alvarado later left the country for the United States.

An immigration judge said Alvarado could legally stay in the U.S. because he didn't have the motive to hurt anybody. In Alvarado v. Whitaker, the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed.

Federal Courts Running Out of Money -- Now

Federal courts are going dark as the government shutdown becomes the longest in history.

Court administrators, trying to keep the courts going, are running on empty. Without paychecks, they are tapping reserves and deciding which workers are essential for basic justice.

All 94 federal district courts are figuring how to stay open until the political stalemate lets up. Some will run out of money this week.

In elections, there are winners and losers, and there are lawsuit filers, who are usually also the losers.

In the 2018 District 2 election in Maine, this is precisely the case, and the case of Representative Bruce Poliquin just doesn't look good. After the ranked-choice voting, that Maine voters approved a couple years ago, helped Poliquin's opponent Jared Golden win the race, Poliquin filed a lawsuit challenging ranked-choice voting as unconstitutional.

Massachusetts Gun Restrictions Don't Violate 2nd Amendment

A federal appeals court upheld gun restrictions in Massachusetts, saying the Second Amendment is strongest inside the home -- not outside.

In Gould v. Morgan, the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed a trial judge in upholding a firearms licensing statute. The law allowed gun owners to carry firearms in certain activities only.

The First Circuit said the statute had a substantial relationship to the government's interest in promoting public safety and preventing crime. That's also what Boston and Brookline said in defending their local laws.

For the general public, the next few months may be a real test of the public's patience. That's because arguments, evidence, and post-trial motions, have been taken under submission by the Federal District Court in Massachusetts in the big Harvard anti-affirmative action case. Lawyers may be used to waiting for big decisions, but the public might be tested as one isn't expected until next year.

If you're a regular reader of our blogs, or manage to keep your finger on the pulse of national legal news, then you already know about this case and some of the juicy related controversies. If you're just waking up from a coma, or somehow managed to miss headlines, anti-affirmative action supporters are basically claiming that Asian-American students are given lower admissions scores because they are Asian; the school basically claims the students who have lower personality scores are just boring.

Eddie Bauer Store Accused of Racial Hostility in Lawsuit

A young, well-dressed African-American man interviewed for a job at Eddie Bauer, but he didn't get the job and he never knew why.

In a new lawsuit, however, a former employee there says she knows why. The store manager at the Augusta store allegedly put it this way:

"Well, he's black and customers won't buy anything from him," the manager said in Atkins-Poulin v. Eddie Bauer. "We never hire people like that here."

In the world of lobster wholesaling, there are winners, losers, and the potential for major corporate espionage. Even in a place like Maine.

Take the Sea Salt lobster company out of Saco, Maine. It's alleged in a partner v. partner lawsuit that the newbie partner formed his own shell company, created over a million in fake lobster sales, then sold the lobsters that were fake-sold via his shell company. Not particularly the snappiest of ideas as he got caught by his partners and ended up confessing to them.

Governor Can't Block Users From Official Facebook Page

Maine Gov. Paul LePage took a page from President Trump, and that was the problem.

The president blocked people from his Twitter account, and a judge said that violated the First Amendment. LePage blocked people from his Facebook page, and another judge said he violated the First Amendment.

It's hard to believe some high officials know so little about the First Amendment. In Leuthy v. LePage, it didn't seem to surprise the court.

Federal Judge Stands Up for Czech Whistleblower in Pollution Case

Jaroslav Hornof, a seaman from the Czech Republic, is like a real-life version of Jason Bourne.

He is not an assassin with long-term memory loss, but he was on a mission to uncover an explosive situation at sea. He secretly filmed a cargo ship pouring toxic oil into the water in violation of international law.

Just as the shipping company was about to cut a deal with authorities, a federal judge in Maine shut it down. She said Hornoff deserved a reward for putting himself at risk.