Justia Injury Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals
Valsamis v. Gonzalez-Romero
Defendant, a citizen and resident of Puerto Rico, borrowed $700,000 from Plaintiff, a citizen and resident of Greece. Plaintiff’s loan was not evidenced by "even a single scrap of paper." The parties subsequently disputed who the borrower was, whether Caribbean Carrier Holding (Panama), Inc., as Defendant claimed, or Defendant, as Plaintiff claimed. When the parties could not agree on the identity of the borrower, Plaintiff brought a collection action against Defendant in the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. The district judge ruled that Plaintiff had not sustained his burden of proof and entered judgment for Defendant. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the district judge (1) substantially complied with the requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 52(a)(1), and (2) applied the correct substantive law standard in adjudicating Plaintiff’s claim. View "Valsamis v. Gonzalez-Romero" on Justia Law
Candelario-Del-Moral v. Efron
David Efron and his former wife, Madeleine Candelario-Del-Moral, were engaged in long-running litigation related to their high-stakes divorce. In 2006, a Puerto Rico court in which the divorce proceedings were pending issued an order attaching the funds held in Efron’s UBS Financial Services Inc. accounts. The court subsequently made a ruling that may or may not have vacated the attachment. UBS treated the attachment as void and dispersed the bulk of the funds. Candelario sued UBS in federal district court for negligently releasing the attached funds. Ultimately, at the district court’s suggestion, UBS and Candelario opted to undertake mediation. Thereafter, Efron moved to intervene as of right in the Candelario-UBS litigation. The district court denied the motion. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of the motion and denied Candelario’s motion for appellate sanctions, holding (1) the Court had jurisdiction to hear and determine Efron’s interlocutory appeal; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in deeming Efron’s motion to intervene untimely and in refusing to grant it; and (3) although Efron’s case for intervention was weak, it was not frivolous. View "Candelario-Del-Moral v. Efron" on Justia Law
Grand Wireless, Inc. v. Verizon Wireless, Inc.
In 2002, Grand Wireless, Inc. (“Grand”) and Verizon Wireless, Inc. (“Verizon”) entered into an agreement authorizing Grand to act as a Verizon sales agent. The agreement contained an arbitration provision. In 2011, Verizon notified Grand of its intent to terminate the relationship. According to Grand’s complaint, Verizon subsequently mailed a postcard to Grand’s customers proclaiming that certain Grand stores had “closed." Erin McCahill, a Verizon employee, had allegedly authorized the mailing knowing it to be false. Grand brought this action in Massachusetts state court against Verizon and McCahill, alleging a violation of RICO against McCahill and several state law claims against McCahill and Verizon. The case was removed to the federal district court, where Defendants moved for an order compelling arbitration of Grand’s claims. Grand opposed the motion, arguing that because McCahill was not a signatory to the contract containing the arbitration clause, the claim against her could not be arbitrated. The district court denied Defendants’ motions. The First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) Grand’s claims were within the scope of the parties’ arbitration agreement; and (2) arbitration of the claims against McCahill was not barred despite her status as a non-signatory of the arbitration agreement. View "Grand Wireless, Inc. v. Verizon Wireless, Inc." on Justia Law
Atlantech Inc. v. Am. Panel Corp.
Plaintiff filed a seven-count complaint against Defendants, asserting claims related to the alleged breach of various agreements involving the sale of aviation equipment. Ultimately, a jury trial was held, and the jury awarded Plaintiff $1,112,476 in damages. After dismissing the jury, the parties filed several post-trial motions, which the district court resolved partially in favor of Plaintiff and partially in favor of Defendants. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s orders, holding that the district court did not err in (1) finding that Defendants did not breach a support agreement with Plaintiffs as a matter of law; (2) holding that Plaintiff waived the issue of prejudgment interest; and (3) upholding the jury’s award of damages for Plaintiff’s claim alleging breach of a purchase agreement. View "Atlantech Inc. v. Am. Panel Corp." on Justia Law
Mahon v. United States
Michael Mahon sued the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) after falling from a second-story portico during a wedding reception at the Commandant’s House at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Massachusetts. Mahon later amended his complaint to add claims against Eastern National and Amelia Occasions, which contracted with the interior Department’s National Park Service to manage the House and handle the events. The district judge granted the government’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, concluding that the discretionary-function exception to the FTCA applied. The district judge subsequently granted Mahon’s motion for reconsideration and allowed discovery to go forward on the issue of whether the government’s relationship with Eastern National and Amelia Occasions was governed by a “concession contract,” which could have led the government to learn about the portico’s “impermissibly low railing,” thus placing the case beyond the discretionary-function exception’s reach. After discovery, the district judge dismissed the complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, concluding that, ultimately, Mahon’s case was within the ambit of the discretionary-function exception. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the FTCA’s discretionary-function exception barred Mahon’s claims against the government. View "Mahon v. United States" on Justia Law
Pierce v. Cotuit Fire Dist.
Plaintiff, the former captain of a village fire department, filed this action against the department, its fire chief, and the board of fire commissioners (collectively, Defendants) after the board chose to terminate Plaintiff’s employment. Plaintiff alleged political discrimination in violation of the First Amendment and 42 U.S.C. 1983, retaliation in violation of the Massachusetts Whistleblower Act, and tortious interference with contractual relations. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants on all counts. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Defendants presented legitimate, business-related grounds for their employment decisions, and Plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the proffered explanations were pretextual. View "Pierce v. Cotuit Fire Dist." on Justia Law
Geshke v. Crocs, Inc.
Plaintiff’s nine-year-old daughter, N.K., was injured when N.K.'s sandals, popularly known as CROCS, were caught in an escalator, causing N.K. to sustain injuries. Plaintiff invoked diversity jurisdiction and brought suit against Crocs, Inc. (Defendant) in the United States District Court for, inter alia, failure to warn and breach of an implied warranty of merchantability. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendant. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Plaintiff failed to adduce significantly probative evidence that CROCS present a heightened risk of escalator entrapment sufficient to allow a reasonable jury to find in her favor. View "Geshke v. Crocs, Inc." on Justia Law
Cracchiolo v. E. Fisheries, Inc.
Giuseppe Cracchiolo fell and drowned after slipping from a hazardous place on a fishery pier while attempting to return to the commercial fishing boat on which he was working. Giuseppe’s wife Carla sued the owner and the leaseholder of the facility (collectively, Defendants) where the ship was docked for wrongful death based on a negligence theory. The district court granted summary judgment to Defendants, concluding that Defendants owed no duty of care to remedy the hazard under the circumstances. The First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed without deciding the duty of care issue, holding that the issue could not be decided on the undisputed facts in the record, and therefore, Defendants were not entitled to summary judgment, as a matter of law, on the record. Remanded. View "Cracchiolo v. E. Fisheries, Inc." on Justia Law
MacKenzie v. Flagstar Bank, FSB
Plaintiffs, property owners, filed an action against Defendant, a bank, alleging eleven counts of state law violations for Defendant’s decision to deny Plaintiffs’ application for a loan modification under the Home Affordable Modification Program and to foreclose on Plaintiffs’ home. The district court granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ amended complaint, holding that the district court properly dismissed Plaintiffs’ claims for breach of the implied obligation of good faith and fair dealing, violation of the Massachusetts Consumer Credit Cost Disclosure Act, rescission, negligence, and promissory estoppel. View "MacKenzie v. Flagstar Bank, FSB" on Justia Law
W. Reserve Life Assurance Co. of Ohio v. ADM Assocs., LLC
To shield himself from the adverse effects of losses while speculating in high-risk securities, Joseph Caramdare exploited a perceived loophole in certain annuities issued by Appellant. Charles Buckman accepted a cash payment to identify himself as the annuitant on an application for one of these annuities, and Appellee, a Caramadre nominee and a stranger to Buckman, was designated as the prospective owner and beneficiary of the annuity. Appellant approved the application and issued an annuity (the Policy). Appellant later learned of Caramdre's scheme and sued Appellee in federal court, asserting certain tort claims and seeking rescission of the Policy and a declaration that the Policy was either void ab initio or had been properly rescinded. The court dismissed the claims. On appeal, the First Circuit Court certified to the Rhode Island Supreme Court the following questions of state law: (1) whether an annuity with a death benefit is infirm for want of an insurable interest if the owner and beneficiary of the annuity is a stranger to the annuitant; and (2) whether a clause in an annuity that purports to make the annuity incontestable from the date of its issuance precludes the maintenance of an action based on the lack of an insurable interest. View "W. Reserve Life Assurance Co. of Ohio v. ADM Assocs., LLC" on Justia Law