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Telecom Exec Must Face the IRS Music, 1st Circ. Rules

Summonses must be respected despite seeming changes in the relevant law, the First Circuit said in Frank Gangi v. United States. Gangi, the exec of a telecom company trying to go belly-up, had been trying to squeeze out of complying with IRS summonses that had been sent to his lawyers, his accountants, and his banks. When the IRS smells rotten fish, they usually are on to something.

When it comes to paying taxes, you can run, but you really can't hide -- at least not for long.

'Good Cause' Standard Not Needed to Amend Complaints

It's always nice when a panel of judges rule unanimously on a particular issue -- thereby creating the much sought after "bright-line" rule.

The three-judge panel of the First Circuit ruled that Massachusetts Judge Richard Stearns erred in applying the "good cause" standard when purported whistleblower, Jeffrey D'Agostino, sought to amend his complaint for a fourth time. D'Asostino, now an ex-sales rep for Covidien's vascular business, lost this job when Covidien fired him for blowing the cover to the feds on a kickback scheme.

Mass. Now Requires Lawyers to Stay Abreast of Technology

Massachusetts has joined the ranks of states requiring attorneys to keep pace with technology as part of their ethical obligations. Among the changes the Supreme Judicial Court authorized to the state rules of professional conduct was the addition of a comment to Rule 1.1, which outlines a lawyer's duty to provide competent representation.

The change comes as more and more states, and the ABA, are recognizing that lawyers who don't understand new technology aren't just adorable throwbacks, but could be endangering their clients' interests.

The First Circuit is making moves into the 21st Century as it is updating the mechanics for accepting filing fees.

Read on as we give you an outline on everything you need to know about the new filing requirements.

When it rains, it pours. The First Circuit is not usually a very busy circuit to report on, but it happens to have a lot going on right now. Rather than focusing on one case, we thought we'd give you the scoop on the biggest headlines in the First Circuit.

Sex Changes Hearing En Banc

Just a month ago we reported that the First Circuit affirmed a district court's ruling that an inmate's gender reassignment surgery is medically necessary. Now, the court has granted a motion for rehearing en banc with the full panel of the First Circuit, and a new hearing is scheduled for May 8, 2014, reports The Boston Globe.

1st Cir. Judge Bruce Selya Speaks About FISA Court

Curiosity and controversy continues to mount over the National Security Agency's surveillance programs.

Bruce Selya, senior federal judge on the First Circuit, gave a talk this week on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, explaining the inner workings of the secret court.

The lecture, entitled "The View from Inside the FISA Courts," was the first in a series of security seminars sponsored by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University as part of its ongoing expansion and redesign.

Rhode Island Judge Streamlines Massive Foreclosure Mediation Docket

U.S. District Judge John J. McConnell Jr. issued an order to streamline the handling of his massive foreclosure mediation docket involving hundreds of cases. The order came after the First Circuit Court of Appeals ordered specific limits on the amount of court time and money that can be spent on handling the mediation process.

Each case will get one bite at the mediation apple -- and many oranges parties won't even get that.

December is not known for ground-breaking legal decisions, especially in light of the very few precedential decisions issued lately. So, in honor of end-of-the-year clean up, and general "keeping yourself busy," we're giving you the run down on some changes to rules and fees.

Courts are creatures of habit. They like to stick to precedent, and have a hard time changing course. Last week, the First Circuit had to give the district courts in the circuit some guidance on the new "plausibility" standards in federal civil pleadings.

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?