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


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.

In the big anti-affirmative action case playing out in a federal court in Boston, recently the federal Department of Justice announced its support for the plaintiffs in the case against Harvard.

If this case has managed to fly under your radar, the facts might sound a little confusing. But to sum it up, an anti-affirmative action organization has sued Harvard on behalf of Asian students claiming Harvard's race based admissions harm Asian students and violate federal nondiscrimination laws. The case is slated to go to trial this October.

New Hampshire has law allowing vote counters to discard absentee ballots if the signature on the ballot doesn't match the signature on the voter's registration card. This law has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal district court in the state.

Despite the low statistical significance of the law's impact (the law affected approximately 0.5 percent of votes), even a small amount adds up to a few hundred individuals being denied the right to vote. The district court acknowledged that absentee voting isn't as clearly established of a right as voting itself, but it explained that when absentee voting is offered by a state, there must be procedural safeguards.

Court Revives Employee's Hostile Work Environment Complaint

Summary judgments get called a lot of names -- MSJ, summary adjudication, judgment as a matter of law.

In the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals, the judges call it "the summary judgment ax." At least that's how they described it in Rivera-Rivera v. Medina & Medina, a hostile work environment case.

The appeals court affirmed in part and reversed in part a decision on summary judgment. Basically, the trial judge should have used a scalpel instead of an ax.

ACLU Sues for Man to Get Addiction Treatment in Jail

Cold turkey works for some people, but not Zachary Smith.

He is a long-time addict, starting with opioid painkillers when he was a teenager. When his sister died of a heroin overdose, he got scared and serious about getting treatment.

That's why he is suing the Department of Corrections in Maine. They won't give him his prescription, and he's afraid he will die in jail. The ACLU is now fighting to get him addiction treatment.

'Poolee' Can't Sue Marines for Training Injuries

The Marines used to say they were looking for a few good men, but times have changed.

The military is not just for men, and the truth is, it's not for every man. Joseph S. Hajdusek, for example, found out the training was more than he could handle.

In Hajdusek v . United States of America, a federal appeals court said it wasn't the government's fault that he suffered a disabling injury when a sergeant drilled him into the ground.

Uber Can't Force Class Action Into Arbitration

Even in an Uber world, everything cannot be done with an app.

In Cullinane v. Uber Technologies, Inc., that especially applies to arbitration clauses. The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals said Uber's arbitration terms were not readily accessible to its app users.

The appeals court reversed and remanded the case, which began after riders complained about toll charges. Those allegedly weren't spelled out in the app, either.

In a surprising turn of events for Bill Cosby, the First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling requiring the disgraced celebrity's insurer, AIG, to provide his defense in the defamation cases filed against him.

While the policy's terms regarding its duty to defend have exclusions for sexual misconduct, among many others, the court found that the defamation claims did not fall under the exclusions. The court was also adamant that their holding was case specific, and rather narrow to apply only to a policy holder.