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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.

No Return for the Vacation From Hell

Peter Hiam's vacation hell started before he left.

He booked a tropical villa for a week in Belize, only to learn later that the property didn't exist. He was out more than $46,000, so he went after the online service that set it up.

The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals shared Hiam's bewilderment over the company's actions, but that wasn't enough to get his money back. In Hiam v. HomeAway.com, the watchword is "limited guarantee."

When the court disagrees with a movant, sometimes it can constructively reflect on how the litigant could have been mistaken, and sometimes a First Circuit Court of Appeals justice can just let a group of plaintiffs have it.

In the Ellis v. Fidelity case, the appellate court really didn't hold back their criticism of plaintiffs' theories. In short, the plaintiffs claimed Fidelity was liable for acting in its own self interest over its investors' interest by acting too conservatively in managing the most conservative investment fund option available. In ruling, the court actually said:

"Plaintiffs' theory of how Fidelity behaved disloyally suffers from the added disability of making little sense."

Sadly for the plaintiffs, it doesn't get much better from there.

Sarepta Therapeutics, a drug research and development company, won the recent federal appeal over the securities fraud lawsuit against them that was dismissed by the lower federal district court. The lawsuit was filed after the company's stock took a large dive after bad news was announced about the FDA denying approval.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal and confirmed that the plaintiffs failed to allege sufficient facts inferring the defendants intentionally or recklessly deceived investors. In fact, the appellate went into great detail reviewing the facts which show that Sarepta advised investors of the risks, and though optimistic, were transparent about the items of caution.

VPPA Case Means Panic Mode for App Developers

The First Circuit just handed down a decision that will send app developers panic mode. The federal court has ruled that persons who surrender information without opting out can form the basis of a Video Privacy Protection Act suit against the companies who share that information with third parties.

And, unless you've been living on another planet, this has implications for pretty much all companies that collect information.

First Circuit Flushes Flovac's Antitrust Suit

Few would expect so much drama to be played out over a sewer system contract, but the case of Flovac v. Airvac, is a clear exceptions. The First Circuit heard and affirmed a lower district court's summary judgment in favor of Airvac on the plaintiff's Sherman Antitrust claims.

Denial of Child's Insurance Coverage Case Remanded by 1st Circuit

The First Circuit reversed and remanded a lower court decision that favored a health insurance company that denied specialized psychiatric coverage for a child Asperger's. In many ways the decision was one based less on deep matters of psychiatry and more on the proper application of legal procedure.

The case implicated ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Although, the circuit stopped short and decided the case based mostly on procedure rather than on substantive issues.

Sometimes you just need to switch it up, whether you're getting a new pair of sneaks or ending a 28 year long business arrangement. In 2013, Nike, the massive shoe and apparel company, decided it was time to make a change when its retailers severed the relationship with Carter's of New Bedford, a tiny, family-owned Massachusetts retailer. Carter's wasn't about to let Nike get away, however.

Carter's, alleging that Nike was turning its back on small businesses, sued the shoe company for breach of contract in Massachusetts court. Unfortunately for Carter's, Nike removed the case to federal court and had it dismissed. The issue? Nike's invoices contained a forum selection clause, limiting contract disputes to courts in Oregon, Nike's home state.

As New England begins to crawl out of one of its worst winters on record, it's easy to forget that Yanks' circuit court includes the tropical climes of Puerto Rico. But it does, given the First Circuit occasion to rule on a lawyer-on-lawyer fee dispute arising from the Estado Libre Asociado.

The dispute arose following successful representation in a personal injury case and ended in a (metaphorical) court room brawl between lawyers, as the esquires battled not only over their fee sharing agreement, but even over who actually represented the client.