Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiff’s complaint against the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation challenging its decision to terminate his employment for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The district court concluded that Plaintiff did not have a “mixed” case because of his failure to reinstate or prosecute his associational disability discrimination before the Merit Systems Protection Board, despite being given the right to do so, after expressly withdrawing the claim with prejudice. The First Circuit held (1) Plaintiff’s original complaint, which alleged a claim of discrimination that was later withdrawn, was not sufficient to create a mixed case, and therefore, the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction; and (2) the district court did not err in denying Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration or, in the alternative, to transfer the case to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. View "Jonson v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp." on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the City of Quincy, Massachusetts, the former employer of Plaintiff, on Plaintiff’s federal and pendent state claims of employment discrimination, retaliation, and constructive discharge. The First Circuit held (1) because Plaintiff was unable to rebut the City’s proffered legitimate, nondiscriminatory basis for its actions with evidence of pretext and discriminatory motive; (2) the record lacked evidence showing that the City retaliated against Plaintiff; and (3) Plaintiff did not meet her burden to show she was constructively discharged. View "Cherkaoui v. City of Quincy, Massachusetts" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Thomas G. Gallagher, Inc.’s petition for review challenging a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission that affirmed a fine levied against Gallagher, a Massachusetts-based employer, that was imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for two violations of OSHA workplace health and safety standards. In its petition for review, Gallagher challenged only the determination that Gallagher had constructive knowledge with respect to the serious violations for which OSHA cited Gallagher. The First Circuit denied the petition for review with respect to the order regarding both the first and second items of the citation, holding that Gallagher’s challenge to the constructive knowledge analysis could not succeed. View "Thomas G. Gallagher, Inc. v. Acosta" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to compel arbitration in connection with this case brought by Plaintiff alleging various wage-and-hour claims. Defendant’s motion to compel arbitration was based on an agreement between Defendant and a vendor affiliated with Defendant from whom Plaintiff received his compensation. The district court concluded that Plaintiff should not be compelled to arbitrate because he never signed the agreement containing the arbitration clause and had no idea that the agreement even existed. Defendant appealed, arguing that Plaintiff should be compelled to arbitrate under federal common law principles of contract and agency. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Defendant’s arguments on appeal were without merit. View "Ouadani v. TF Final Mile LLC" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment for Defendants in this action filed by Plaintiff claiming that Defendants discriminated against her based on her gender and sexual preference and exposed her to a hostile work environment and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and various provisions of Puerto Rico law. The district court ultimately dismissed all of the claims. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the district court erred in concluding that Plaintiff failed to show a genuine factual dispute as to whether she experienced a hostile work environment based on gender and retaliatory motivation and erred in finding those claims to be untimely. The Supreme Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment for Defendants on Plaintiff’s hostile work environment claims under both federal and Commonwealth law, holding that Plaintiff failed to meet her burden to produce competent evidence showing that any of the work conditions she encountered within the statute of limitations period amounted to harassment on the basis of the improper motivations she alleged. View "Maldonado-Catala v. Municipality of Naranjito" on Justia Law

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In this civil rights action brought of a Town of Hull police officer, the First Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Plaintiff’s 42 U.S.C. 1983 claim, affirmed the district court’s holding that Plaintiff’s Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, 185(b)(3) claim was waived, and vacated the entry of summary judgment as to Plaintiff’s state claim under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, 185(b)(1) and directed the district court to dismiss this claim without prejudice. When Plaintiff, a decade-long veteran of the police department, was passed over for a promotion, he brought suit alleging that the Town of Hull and its then chief of police alleging that Defendants intentionally let his application lapse and did not promote him, in retaliation for exposing the police chief’s professional misconduct. The district court granted summary judgment for the Town. The First Circuit largely affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly held that Plaintiff failed to raise a genuine dispute as to whether the Town’s Board of Selectmen ratified the alleged retaliation; (2) Plaintiff waived his section 185(b)(3) claim; and (3) the court declines to exercise jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s remaining state law claim based on section 185(b)(1) of the Massachusetts Whistleblower Act. View "Saunders v. Town of Hull" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Hospital San Cristobal’s petition for review of an order of the National Labor Relations Board (Board) declaring that the Hospital had committed several unfair labor practices in violation of section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act and granted the Board’s cross-petition for enforcement of that order. The court held (1) this court lacked jurisdiction to consider the Hospital’s challenge to the validity of the underlying unfair labor practice complaints; (2) substantial evidence in the record supported the Board’s determination that the Hospital violated sections 8(a)(1) and 8(a)(5) of the Act; and (3) the Hospital’s challenge to the Board’s remedy was not properly before the court. View "Quality Health Services of P.R., Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Defendant on Plaintiff’s complaint brought under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, 148B for employee misclassification. A Georgia state court concluded that Plaintiff was an employee of Defendant under Massachusetts law. The Georgia court of appeals reversed, concluding that Plaintiff was not an employee of Defendant for purposes of Section 148B. At the same time the case was making its way through the Georgia state-court system, a separate Massachusetts case was being litigated in the federal district court involving the same facts and the same parties. Ultimately, the district court judge granted preclusive effect to the Georgia decision and granted summary judgment for Defendant as to the Section 148B claim. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the federal courts were bound by the Georgia court judgment under the doctrine of res judicata. View "Depianti v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc." on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ third amended complaint in this federal-sector employment discrimination case in which Plaintiffs invoked “extravagant” theories of liability. Specifically, Plaintiffs alleged deprivations of their First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and sought damages under the Bivens doctrine, see Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of FBN, 403 U.S. 388, 389 (1971). The complaint also proffered claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The district court dismissed the complaint and entered judgment in Defendants’ favor, ruling that Plaintiffs could not dodge the preclusive effect of the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) and Title VII by “creatively” pleading causes of action. The First Circuit agreed with the district court, holding that Plaintiffs’ theories ran “headlong into an impenetrable barrier” forged by the CSRA and Title VII. View "Gonzalez v. Otero" on Justia Law

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In this complaint by a former employee alleging violations of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) there was no error in the district court’s jury instructions. Plaintiff filed a complaint against his former employer alleging that his termination violated the ADA. Plaintiff was fired from his job in the Town of Brookline’s Department of Public Works for unjustified absences from work and failing to provide adequate documentation for his use of sick leave. In his complaint, Plaintiff alleged that he had been suffering from sleep apnea and that the Town violated the ADA by discriminating against him on the basis of his sleep apnea disability, denying him a reasonable accommodation, and failing to engage in an interactive dialogue as required under the ADA. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that, contrary to Plaintiff’s contentions, the district court did not err in its instructions to the jury. View "McDonald v. Town of Brookline, Massachusetts" on Justia Law