Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

by
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the trial court, entered after a jury trial, ruling in favor of Plaintiff on both her gender-based hostile work environment discrimination and retaliation claims. The court awarded Plaintiff emotional and front pay damages. Defendant, the City of Providence, appealed from the denial of its motion for judgment as a matter of law, making numerous arguments as to why the jury verdict should be set aside or, in the alternative, why the judge’s front pay award should be stricken. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Defendant’s arguments and assignments of error were unavailing. View "Franchina v. Providence Fire Department" on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the trial court, entered after a jury trial, ruling in favor of Plaintiff on both her gender-based hostile work environment discrimination and retaliation claims. The court awarded Plaintiff emotional and front pay damages. Defendant, the City of Providence, appealed from the denial of its motion for judgment as a matter of law, making numerous arguments as to why the jury verdict should be set aside or, in the alternative, why the judge’s front pay award should be stricken. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Defendant’s arguments and assignments of error were unavailing. View "Franchina v. Providence Fire Department" on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court granting the Rhode Island State Board of Election's motion for judgment on the pleadings with respect to Plaintiff's claims that his constitutional rights were violated by the manner in which his employment was brought to an end. The district court concluded that Plaintiff, a quondam employee of the Board, had not shown a deprivation of any constitutionally protected interest. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff failed to allege facts sufficient to show a constitutionally protected property interest in his job, and therefore, Plaintiff's loss-of-employment claim failed; and (2) Plaintiff failed to allege sufficient facts to make his claim that the Board stigmatized him plausible. View "Kando v. Rhode Island Board of Elections" on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a complaint filed by unions representing the firefighters and police officers employed by the City of Cranston. The Unions filed a complaint claiming that legislation modifying various state-run pension plans for government employees, including a plan that covered municipal firefighters and police officers, unconstitutionally repudiated contractual obligations owed to the City employees. The district court dismissed the complaint. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the complaint failed to allege that the legislation at issue unconstitutionally impaired any contractual rights of the Unions' members; (2) federal court was not the proper forum to litigate the Unions' undeveloped claims that the City was failing to abide by the terms of its ordinances or collective bargaining agreements; and (3) this lawsuit provided no opportunity to challenge the terms of a settlement by other parties in another lawsuit. View "Cranston Firefighters, IAFF v. Raimondo" on Justia Law

by
After a previous remand of this case, the First Circuit addressed whether the district court’s ruling in favor of Claimant on her claim for disability benefits based on chronic and severe pain was correct and whether the district court abused its discretion in failing to impose sanctions on one of Claimant’s attorneys. On the first appeal, the First Circuit remanded the case for additional administrative proceedings. On remand, Appellant again denied Claimant’s claim. Appellant appealed. The district court ruled in Claimant’s favor. On appeal, Appellant challenged the district court’s view of the expanded administrative record and the district court’s refusal to impose sanctions on one of Claimant’s attorneys. On cross-appeal, Claimant challenged the district court’s calculations of prejudgment interest and attorney’s fees. The First Circuit (1) affirmed the district court’s rulings on the disability claim and sanctions; but (2) vacated the prejudgment interest award and remanded for consideration of the appropriate rate of interest. View "Gross v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada" on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of a motion for leave to amend a complaint after certain court proceedings, holding that the district court was not required to allow leave to amend. Plaintiffs filed suit against a group of healthcare entities alleging that Defendants’ compensation practices violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. Plaintiffs opposed the motion, including a request to amend should the court grant the motion. The district court ultimately granted Defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings as to all of Plaintiffs’ claims and noted that Plaintiffs’ counsel had voiced the possibility that Plaintiffs might seek leave to amend but never followed through with a proper motion to amend. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Plaintiffs’ motion for leave to amend the complaint. View "Hamilton v. Partners Healthcare System, Inc." on Justia Law

by
In this case concerning the application and operation of Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the First Circuit held that the exclusionary remedy limned in Article 31(d) applies to evidence offered in a trial by court-martial but not in a non-judicial punishment proceeding. Petitioner, a petty officer in the United States Navy, received a non-judicial punishment, rescission of his recommendation for promotion, and an adverse employment evaluation. Petitioner appealed, alleging, inter alia, that his waiver of Article 31 rights was involuntary. The Board of Correction of Naval Records upheld the adverse employment consequences. Petitioner sought judicial review. The district court refused to set aside the Board’s decision. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the Board’s determination of voluntariness and its approval of the adverse employment consequences were in accordance with law. View "Sasen v. Spencer" on Justia Law

by
After approximately 11 years of working his way up the Costco employment ladder, Garcia was fired following an investigation which revealed an inventory discrepancy in the Meat Department that he managed. Garcia sued, alleging six Puerto-Rico-based claims. The First Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of Costco, upholding the admission of affidavits by Costco employees and attached exhibits. Puerto Rico’s "Law 80," provides a remedy to employees who are discharged "without just cause." Costco met its burden of proving just cause, which was not rebutted by evidence of Garcia’s employment history. Costco was not required to demonstrate without any doubt that Garcia manipulated the numbers, but only had to show by a preponderance of the evidence that it had good cause to terminate Garcia, P.R. Laws tit. 29, 185b. Even a "perceived violation" is sufficient to rebut an allegation that the decision to dismiss an employee was made on a whim. Garcia’s claims of gender-discrimination, of retaliation for reporting such discrimination, and of defamation, failed for lack of evidence. View "Garcia-Garcia v. Costco Wholesale Corp." on Justia Law

by
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

by
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