Justia Labor & Employment Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
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The First Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment against Appellant and dismissing his race discrimination and retaliation claims against the Maine Department of Corrections (MDOC), holding that Appellant lacked the proof needed to reach trial.Appellant left his job with MDOC as a state corrections officer to apply for a position in the federal prison system. Appellant met the minimum qualification and interviewed for each open spot but was turned down each time. Appellant subsequently reapplied for his former job, but MDOC refused to rehire him. Appellant sued MDOC in federal court for race discrimination and retaliation. The district court judge granted summary judgment for MDOC. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that a reasonable jury could not find that MDOC's rejection of Appellant's application for reinstatement was a product of unlawful discrimination or made in retaliation for his complaint to the Maine Human Rights Commission. View "Brandt v. Fitzpatrick" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Employer in this disability discrimination case brought by Plaintiff, a former employee, holding that the district court did not err in entering summary judgment against Plaintiff on her claims.Plaintiff was a military veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After she was discharged from her employment, Plaintiff sued Employer for disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101-12213, and the Maine Human Rights Act, Me. Stat. tit. 5 4551-4634, alleging that she was wrongfully discharged based on her PTSD. Plaintiff also claimed that Employer unlawfully failed to accommodate her disability. The district court granted summary judgment for Employer. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court properly granted summary judgment for Employer on Plaintiff's discriminatory discharge claim and failure to accommodate claim. View "Trahan v. Wayfair Maine LLC" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit held that the New Hampshire Judicial Retirement Plan (Plan) does not allow a former judge who resigned with sufficient years of creditable service, but before reaching the minimum retirement age, to receive a Service Retirement Allowance (SRA) upon later reaching the retirement age.Plaintiff was fifty-four years old when she resigned from her position as a superior court justice for the state of New Hampshire. Plaintiff served in that position for sixteen-and-a-half years. At the age of sixty-one, Plaintiff applied for an SRA. The Board of Trustees of the Board of Trustees (Board) of the Plan denied her application. Plaintiff filed suit against the Plan seeking a declaratory judgment that she was eligible for an SRA. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Plan as to Plaintiff's claim for violation of N.H. Rev. Stat. 100-C, 5, concluding that the plain language of the statute requires a judge to be in active service when she elects to retire and claim a service retirement allowance. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, Plaintiff was not eligible to receive an SRA on her application. View "Coffey v. New Hampshire Judicial Retirement Plan" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the district court's decision granting summary judgment to the City of Somerville, Massachusetts and dismissing Plaintiff's claim that the City unlawfully forced him to retire as a police officer when it discovered that he had basically no vision in one eye, holding that Plaintiff raised a triable issue of fact precluding summary judgment.Plaintiff brought this lawsuit alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and Massachusetts discrimination law. In granting summary judgment to the City, the district court ruled in part that no reasonable jury could find that Plaintiff could perform high-speed pursuit driving, which the court concluded was an essential function of his job. The First Circuit vacated the summary judgment, holding that Plaintiff raised a triable issue of fact as to whether his monocular vision rendered him unqualified to perform the essential job functions of an incumbent officer in the City's police department. View "Melo v. City of Somerville" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the entry of a preliminary injunction enforcing a covenant not to compete included in a restrictive covenant agreement (RCA) that Appellant signed in 2017, holding that the district court did not err in finding that the covenant not to compete was reasonable and in entering the preliminary injunction.After working almost three decades at CVS Pharmacy, Inc., Appellant accepted a new position at PillPack LLC, a direct competitor of CVS. CVS sued Appellant seeking to enforce the covenant not to compete. The district court entered a preliminary injunction enjoining Appellant from working at PillPack for eighteen months, finding that the covenant was reasonable and that Appellant's new position would violate the covenant. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that, under either the as-applied or the facial approach in evaluating the reasonableness of the restrictive covenant, CVS was likely to succeed on the merits of its claim for injunctive relief. View "CVS Pharmacy, Inc. v. Lavin" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on Appellant's federal law claims under the Age Discrimination and Employment Act, and on the state-law claims for discrimination, retaliation based on a complaint of age discrimination, and failure to investigate and vacated the summary judgment on the state law claims for retaliation based on a report of gender discrimination, breach of contract, intentional interference with contractual relations, and defamation, holding that the court erred in granting summary judgment as to these claims.This lawsuit arose from events that led to Appellant's retirement from his position as Fire Chief for the Fire Department of the Town of Marshfield, Massachusetts. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Town on all of Appellant's federal and state law claims. The First Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part, holding (1) summary judgment was properly granted as to some of Appellant's claims; but (2) as to the remaining state law claims, there was no analogue to the common law claims in the federal law claims that were addressed, and rather than attempt to resolve the state law issues that were in dispute as to these claims, their dismissal was directed without prejudice. View "Robinson v. Town of Marshfield" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Plaintiff's claims of sex discrimination and retaliation on summary judgment and declining Plaintiff's request to alter or amend that ruling under Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e), holding that there was no reversible error in the proceedings below.This complaint stemmed from Plaintiff's unsuccessful pursuit of tenure within Harvard University's Anthropology Department. Plaintiff alleged that Harvard denied her tenure on the basis of sex discrimination and retaliation for engaging in protected conduct in violation of several state and federal antidiscrimination laws. The district court dismissed Plaintiff's claims on summary judgment and then denied Plaintiff's Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend the summary judgment. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in finding that Plaintiff did not meet her burden of showing Harvard's stated reason for denying tenure was merely pretext for discrimination; (2) because Plaintiff could not establish a causal link between her protected activity and the adverse employment decision, her retaliation claims failed; and (3) the district court did not err in denying Plaintiff's Rule 59(e) motion. View "Theidon v. Harvard University" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court in favor of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada finding that Sun Life properly permitted an offset of Appellant's benefits under tis employer-sponsored long-term disability insurance policy (the Plan) by the amount of Appellant's service-connection disability compensation (Veterans' Benefits), holding that the district court did not err.Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) Appellant's Veterans' Benefits fell squarely within the definition of "Compulsory Benefit Act or Law"; (2) that the district court did not err by concluding as a matter of law that Veterans' Benefits unambiguously qualify as a form of "Other Income Benefit" covered by the Plan's offset provision; and (3) the district court did not err by rejecting as a matter of law Appellant's assertion that Sun Life's offset determination was motivated, at least in part, by Appellant's military service in violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. View "Martinez v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court granting summary judgment to Defendants on Plaintiff's Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. 621, and relinquishing supplemental jurisdiction over his claims under Puerto Rico law, holding that a reasonable jury could not find pretext discrimination and that the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to exercise continued supplemental jurisdiction.In his complaint, Plaintiff alleged that he was fired on account of his age. The district court concluded that Plaintiff failed to put forth evidence that he was complying with the legitimate job performance expectations for his position and therefore failed to make a prima facie showing of discrimination. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) assuming that Plaintiff established a prima facie case, Plaintiff failed to show that his poor performance reviews were pretextual; and (2) while retention was an option, the district court did not exceed the boundary of its discretion in declining to exercise continued supplemental jurisdiction. View "Santana-Vargas v. Banco Santander Puerto Rico" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court granting summary judgment to the Administrator of the United States General Services Administration (GSA) and dismissing the discrimination and retaliation claim brought by Plaintiff, a former employee of that agency, holding that summary judgment was properly granted on Plaintiff's claims.Specifically, the Court held (1) the district court did not err in granting summary judgment to the GSA on Plaintiff's sex discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.; (2) the district court did not err in granting summary judgment to the GSA on Plaintiff's age discrimination claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. 621 et seq.; and (3) Plaintiff's retaliation claims under Title VII and the ADEA also lacked merit. View "Paul v. Murphy" on Justia Law