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

October 2013 Archives

MA Supreme Court Hears Rejected Judicial Nominee Case

A Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court judge recently heard a lawsuit seeking to reverse Gov. Deval Patrick's rejection of Pittsfield lawyer Michael McCarthy's confirmation as a district court judge in Berkshire County.

In July, Councilor Michael Albano, former Councilor Mary-Ellen Manning and Pittsfield attorney Michael McCarthy filed a civil lawsuit in the state Supreme Judicial Court claiming McCarthy's judicial confirmation was wrongfully rejected by Gov. Deval Patrick and Secretary of State William Galvin.

The central question is whether Councilor Manning's vote in favor of confirmation did not count because she was absent from the council's meeting.

Sometimes, we read cases that leave us wondering "what the hell is wrong with people?" In a recent discrimination case in the First Circuit, when we read some of the racist comments uttered, we first wondered, who thinks that way?

And then had to follow-up with... Who actually says those things to people? The answer, in this case: a Kmart employee.

Judge Halts Sale of Boston Globe to Red Sox Owner

A Massachusetts judge has temporarily blocked the sale of The Boston Globe and The Worcester Telegram & Gazette to Boston Red Sox owner John W. Henry.

Henry inked a deal for the papers with The New York Times Company for an estimated $70 million but Judge Shannon Frison of Superior Court in Worcester halted the sale, citing a potential complication with a pending class action lawsuit involving the Worcester newspaper and its delivery workers.

Newspaper legal drama reported by the newspaper parties -- très meta!

It's common practice to sue doctors for medical malpractice -- why do you think healthcare (medical malpractice insurance) costs so much? But what if a patient's medical malpractice claims fail? Can they sue the doctors who wrote an article in a medical journal, which was admitted into evidence in the medical malpractice trial, on the theory that the article "caused" the juries to find against them?

The First Circuit said "no."

Mass. High School Suspends Student for Helping Drunken Friend

North Andover High School, a public school outside Boston, recently drew a firestorm of criticism for disciplining a student under its zero tolerance policy after the teen gave a ride to a friend who was too drunk to drive home.

The case highlights growing legal concern about schools' zero tolerance policies.

What's up with parents kidnapping their kids and taking them to different countries? Just last week, we gave a preview of an international custody dispute that the Supreme Court is hearing, while the First Circuit heard a case of its own. Though dealing with different issues, these cases highlight problems that no parent wants to worry about.

SCOTUS to Hear 1st Cir. Case on Attorneys' Fees and Filing Appeals

A First Circuit Court of Appeals case headed for the U.S. Supreme Court, Ray Haluch Gravel v. Central Pension Fund, raises the question of whether a federal district court's ruling on the merits that leaves unresolved a request for contractual attorneys' fees is a final decision -- and thus appealable under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 -- or whether the decision is not appealable until the court has ruled on contractual attorneys' fees.

The parties: a Massachusetts landscaping company and a union. The amount in question: $350,000 in alleged unpaid union contributions and attorney fees. How did this modest dispute manage to get plucked from certiorari obscurity and wind up on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2013 docket?

We're a week deep in the embarassing U.S. Federal Government shut down, but one thing remaining open? SCOTUS. Yep, today is the first Monday of October and that means one thing: SCOTUS is in session and beginning to hear oral arguments.

One of the cases that will no doubt stir emotions and public opinion is McCullen v. Coakley, an abortion buffer zone case out of the First Circuit.

Just Say No: 1st Cir. Upholds Providence's Anti-Tobacco Laws

The First Circuit Court of Appeals did D.A.R.E proud and unanimously upheld Providence, Rhode Island's anti-tobacco laws, reports the Providence Journal.

The pair of ordinances prohibits tobacco companies from selling flavored products and offering price discounts -- two Big Tobacco tactics that are notorious for luring children.

In a case that's been in and out of court (and the news) since 2001, prosecutors must decide whether to re-pursue the death penalty for serial killer Gary Lee Sampson, reports The Boston Globe.

Sampson made headlines in 2001 when he went on a crime spree that included bank robberies, carjacking, and murder. He admitted guilt to two counts of carjacking that resulted in death, and a penalty-phase hearing commenced, with the prosecution seeking the death penalty.