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

December 2017 Archives

Missed Deadline Kills School Shooting Case

Seventeen-year-old Patrick Skrabec made a terrible joke, telling his Attelboro classmates "he would like to shoot up the school."

Because of the Sandy Hook shooting days earlier, that joke put Skrabec in jail -- until he was released and found not guilty of threatening to commit a crime. He and his family then sued for false arrest and other claims.

A judge threw out his case, largely because his lawyer made a terrible mistake. He failed to oppose a motion for summary judgment.

Bath Salts Conviction Upheld by First Circuit

Alan Ketchen came to the party a little too late.

Not the drug fest at his house; that party was going on all the time. It was his motion to withdraw a guilty plea; that was too late.

Ketchen wanted a do-over because -- after he pleaded guilty to drug charges -- a new case said prosecutors had to prove criminal defendants know the drugs they are dealing are controlled substances or "substantially similar" drugs. But in United States of America v. Ketchen, the dealer missed his chance.

A Massachusetts town sued Monsanto after the town renovated one of its schools to be free from PCB, a common additive to building materials, like paint and caulking, that has been linked to negative health effects (in paint and other products).

The town claimed that the company failed to do anything about the caulking that contained PCB, though it clearly took steps to discourage certain uses of PCB containing paint and other products decades ago. After spending millions to renovate and remove all the PCB containing caulking, the town filed suit against the makers of the PCB, rather than the makers of the caulking. The lawsuit was dismissed by the federal district court, and the First Circuit has denied the town's appeal.

Do you get excited when a character in a show or movie says the name of the show or movie even though it just doesn't make sense? If so, and you like the Beatles, you'll likely get a big kick out of the First Circuit's opinion in the Evans v. USA case.

Judge Bruce Seyla, in writing the opinion in a case that loosely relates to the invasion of the Asian Longhorn Beetle, the jurist makes numerous references to the Beatles and how the band caused so much chaos during the British Invasion they spawned the phrase "Beatlemania." And while the appellant in the case may not find the catachresis as cute as an objective observer, Judge Seyla went to great lengths to explain why the appellant lost every claim.