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Massachusetts Judgment Law
United States of America v. Robert A. George

We write today about the curious case of Robert George,
a criminal-lawyer-turned-convict. Our story — which we narrate in
the light most favorable to the government, see United States v.
Acosta-Colón, 741 F.3d 179, 191 (1st Cir. 2013) — starts in a
Massachusetts town, sometime in early 2009. Standing in line to
buy coffee at a Dunkin' Donuts, George bumped into ex-con Rona... More...
   $0 (07-30-2014 - MA)

Michael Dunn v. Trustees of Boston College

Michael Dunn appeals the entry
of summary judgment against him on his claim that his former
employer, Boston University ("BU"), discharged him because of his
age in violation of the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices
Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151B, § 4.1B. The district court ruled
that Dunn had failed to make out a prima facie case of age
discrimination. Without ruling... More...
   $0 (07-30-2014 - MA)

Denise McGrath v. Richard T. Tavares, et al.

This appeal stems from the
tragic deadly shooting of a sixteen-year-old boy named Anthony
McGrath ("Anthony") by a Plymouth police officer. Following the
untimely death of her son, Denise McGrath ("McGrath") filed a 42
U.S.C. § 1983 action, alleging the police officers involved had
used excessive force in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendments. The two named pol... More...
   $0 (08-01-2014 - MA)

Santos Ramirez v. Carolina Dream, Inc.

Appellant Santos Ramirez, a
seaman, became ill while working aboard a fishing vessel and was
immediately hospitalized when he returned to shore. Shortly
thereafter, he was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a serious blood
condition that prevented him from returning to work as a seaman. He
subsequently brought this personal injury action against his
employer, seeking a remedy ... More...
   $0 (07-28-2014 - MA)

Kathleen Shanley v. Daniel Cadle

This case comes to us after more than two
decades of litigation, which, for some of the individual
plaintiffs, had seemingly come to an end with a 2008 settlement
agreement. That year, the defendants (a debt collection agency and
its owners) proposed a comprehensive mediation and settlement for
three lawsuits brought by individual plaintiffs (debtors) in
federal court (Shan... More...
   $0 (07-28-2014 - MA)

J.M. Hillister, LLC v. Architectual Access Board

This case turns on the interpretation and application of a Massachusetts regulation requiring that each
"entrance" to a public building or facility be accessible to persons with disabilities.
1 See G. L. c. 22, § 13A; 521 Code Mass. Regs. §§ 5.1, 25.1 (2006). The Architectural Access Board (board) issued a final decision concluding that each of the three doorways of a retail store... More...
   $0 (07-10-2014 - MA)

Bryan Wyman v. Ayer Properties, LLC

On December 8, 2005, Brian Wyman, Frank Thoms, and Vincent Cascio, as trustees of the Market Gallery Condominium Trust (trustees), filed a civil action against Ayer Properties, LLC (Ayer), seeking damages stemming from the negligent construction of elements of a condominium building by Ayer. The trustees alleged that Ayer -- which had purchased and converted the building in question into condomini... More...   $0 (07-10-2014 - MA)

Dione Pereira Lima v. Eric H. Holder, Jr.

"As we must account for every
idle word, so must we account for every idle silence." Benjamin
Franklin's words ring true for Petitioner Dione Pereira Lima, who
struggles mightily to take back his words in the proceedings below,
while simultaneously attempting to assert new claims of error. In
this challenge to a final removal order requiring him to return to
Brazil, Lima at... More...
   $0 (07-09-2014 - MA)

Danielle E. deBenedictis v. Karen A. Brady-Zell

Faced with the grim prospect of a crumbling marriage, Karen A. Brady-Zell (the debtor) engaged Danielle E. deBenedictis (the attorney) to act as her counsel. The debtor paid the attorney an up-front retainer of $25,000. After the representation ended, the attorney billed the debtor for additional fees and expenses of roughly $62,000. The debtor balked, and the attorney filed a state-court collecti... More...   $0 (06-25-2014 - MA)

Eleanor McCullen v. Coakley, Attorney General of Massachusetts

Massachusetts amended its Reproductive Health Care Facilities Act, which had been enacted in 2000 to address clashes between abortion opponents and advocates of abortion rights outside clinicswhere abortions were performed. The amended version of the Act makes it a crime to knowingly stand on a “public way or sidewalk” within 35 feet of an entrance or driveway to any “reproductive health car... More...   $0 (06-26-2014 - MA)

United States of America v. Ronald Merritt

This is the second in a matched set of bookend cases. In the earlier case, we rejected the appeal of Larry Wilkins to set aside his conviction and sentence because of a notorious scandal that shook public confidence in a Massachusetts state testing laboratory. See Wilkins v. United States (Wilkins II), ___ F.3d ___ (1st Cir. 2014) [No. 13-1637, slip op. at 14].

This time around, the appella... More...
   $0 (06-16-2014 - ma)

Katie Graf v. Hospitality Mutual Insurance Company

The Appellee, Hospitality Mutual Insurance Company (“Hospitality”), issued a Liquor Liability Insurance Policy (the “Policy”) to Torcia & Sons, Inc. (“Torcia”). Torcia owns and operates the Fat Cat Bar & Grill (the “Fat Cat”), a Springfield, Massachusetts establishment. The Policy represented the full extent of Torcia’s applicable liability coverage.

The Appellant, Katie G... More...
   $0 (06-11-2014 - MA)

Neal W. Dias v. Verizon New England Inc.

Neal W. Dias, a former employee of Verizon New England Inc., appeals the district court's denial of his motion for a new trial, filed in the wake of a defendant's jury verdict on Dias's claim that Verizon discharged him and subjected him to a hostile work environment in retaliation for engaging in activity protected by Massachusetts antidiscrimination law. Dias says that the jury instructions and ... More...   $0 (06-05-2014 - MA)

Larry Wilkins v. United States of America

In August of 2012, Massachusetts was rocked by the disclosure that Annie Dookhan, a chemist at a state testing laboratory, had falsely certified drug-test results. These revelations called into question a large number of federal and state drug convictions. This case is near the head of the parade: it marks the first time that this court has had the occasion to deal with the effect of Dookhan's sku... More...   $0 (06-03-2014 - MA)

United States of America v. Steven G. Marshall

Steven Marshall appeals his conviction for knowingly and willfully obstructing the passage of mails under 18 U.S.C. § 1701. He challenges the court's definition of the term "willfully," claims that evidence of willful obstruction was insufficient, and argues that scheduling irregularities violated due process. We affirm.


Marshall had 26 years of experience with the United States ... More...
   $0 (06-04-2014 - MA)

Dagoberto Sanchez v. Gary Roden, Superintendent

The Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause guarantees that no citizen will be excluded from jury service solely on account of his or her race. This logical proposition, bordering on the obvious, was enshrined as a matter of clearly established constitutional law in Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986). Indeed, "[t]he Constitution forbids striking [from the jury] even a single prospective... More...   $0 (05-28-2014 - MA)

Richard Feingold v. John Hancock Life Insurance Company (USA)

Richard Feingold sued John Hancock Life Insurance Company and John Hancock Life & Health Insurance Company (collectively, "Hancock") in a putative class action for damages said to arise from Hancock's adherence to contractual terms requiring that Hancock be given notice of the death of its insureds before death benefits are paid out to beneficiaries. Specifically, Hancock is said to have an obliga... More...   $0 (05-27-2014 - MA)

Rafael Ixcuna Sam v. Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Petitioner Rafael Ixcuna Sam, a native of Guatemala, seeks review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying his application for withholding of removal. Sam argues that the BIA erred in concluding that he failed to establish "membership in a particular social group" under 8 U.S.C. § 1231(b)(3)(A). After careful consideration, we deny the petition.


Sam is curren... More...
   $0 (05-14-2014 - MA)

United States of America v. Sharon Kay Bowles

Sharon Bowles appeals her conviction after jury trial on five counts of theft of government funds, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641. We affirm.


Bowles was found guilty of fraudulently collecting a total of $77,379 in federal civil service retirement survivor annuity payments made in 2005 through 2009 and intended for her mother, Ann Bowles. As the surviving spouse of a civil servic... More...
   $0 (05-07-2014 - MA)

Ronnie Jones v. City of Boston

In this racial discrimination
case, ten black plaintiffs challenge the Boston Police Department's
drug testing program. Seven of the plaintiffs are former officers
fired by the department after testing positive for cocaine; the
eighth is a former cadet in the same situation; the ninth continues
to work as an officer after testing positive and undergoing
rehabilitation as an... More...
   $0 (05-07-2014 - MA)

Scott Bellone v. Southweick-Tolland Regional School District

In this action alleging violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2654, plaintiff-appellant Scott Bellone appeals from the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of his former employer, the Southwick-Tolland Regional School District. He argues, among other things, that the district court overlooked several genuine issues of material fact, misap... More...   $0 (05-02-2014 - MA)

Albert Davidson v. Elin Howe

Plaintiffs Albert and Regina Davidson are guardians of 70-year-old Marilyn Davidson (whom we refer to as "Marilyn"), who is in state care. They appeal from the district court's denial of a preliminary injunction in an action purported to be brought under the federal Medicaid Act and various implementing regulations. Davidson v. Howe, No. 1:13-cv-12634-WGY (D. Mass. Oct. 29, 2013). Plaintiffs sough... More...   $0 (04-16-2014 - MA)

Tracy Bartlett v. Department of the Treasury (Internal Revenue Service)

Tracy Bartlett filed a one-count complaint against her former employer, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), in which she alleged that she had been constructively discharged in violation of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. The IRS moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that Ms. Bartlett had... More...   $0 (04-08-2014 - MA)

Frank P. Butler v. Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas

In the wake of the foreclosure crisis, litigants have increasingly sought out clarification regarding the validity of mortgage transfers precipitated by Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS"). The general contours of these claims are well known, and many of the facts underlying this case parallel past foreclosure litigation. A homeowner, Frank P. Butler ("Butler"), upon falling b... More...   $0 (04-06-2014 - MA)

Grand Wireless, Inc. v. Verizon Wireless, Inc.

Grand Wireless, Inc. (“Grand”) brought this action in Massachusetts state court against Verizon Wireless, Inc. (“Verizon”) and Verizon employee Erin McCahill. It alleged a violation of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) against Ms. McCahill, as well as several state law claims against both Ms. McCahill and Verizon. The defendants removed the case t... More...   $0 (03-19-2014 - MA)

United States of America v. Michael Jacques

Following a seven-hour interrogation in which he confessed participating in the arson of an African-American church, Michael Jacques was convicted in federal court of conspiracy against civil rights, damage to religious real property, and the use of a fire to commit a felony. On appeal, Jacques argues that the district court erred in admitting his statements into evidence because agents obtained ... More...   $0 (03-11-2014 - MA)

Angel Martinez Alicea p/k/a Ruf El Fantaztiko v. Machete Music

Over a century ago, Mark Twain lamented that "[o]nly one thing is impossible for God: to find any sense in any copyright law on the planet." Mark Twain, The Complete Works of Mark Twain: Mark Twain's Notebook 381 (Albert Bigelow Paine ed., 1935). We fear that Twain's deity would fare little better with the tangled skein of copyright and contractual claims presented by the plaintiffs in this case. ... More...   $0 (03-07-2014 - MA)

Robert Riley v. Metropolitian Life Insurance Company d/b/a Metlife

In 2012, plaintiff Robert Riley filed suit under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq., against defendant Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. ("MetLife"), arguing that MetLife had been underpaying his monthly benefits since its 2005 denial of his assertion that he was entitled to a larger payment calculation under his long-term disability insurance p... More...   $0 (03-04-2014 - MA)

Robert Filey v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company d/b/a Metlife

In 2012, plaintiff Robert Riley filed suit under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq., against defendant Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. ("MetLife"), arguing that MetLife had been underpaying his monthly benefits since its 2005 denial of his assertion that he was entitled to a larger payment calculation under his long-term disability insurance pl... More...   $0 (03-04-2014 - MA)

HSBC Realty Credit Corporation (USA) v. J.Brian O'Neill

Today's case — a diversity suit governed, the parties agree, by Massachusetts substantive law — arises from the efforts of plaintiff HSBC Realty Credit Corporation (USA) to recover $8.1 million from defendant J. Brian O'Neill under a guaranty. A district judge struck O'Neill's defenses, dismissed his counterclaims, denied him leave to replead, and granted HSBC judgment on the pleadings. O'Neil... More...   $0 (02-07-2014 - MA)

United States of America v. Maximo Laryi Herrerra Pena

In federal prosecutions, under the requirements of Alleyne v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 2151, 2158 (2013), if the distribution of drugs is proven beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury to have resulted in a death, a defendant will face a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence. See 21 U.S.C. § 841(b). But if the government does not meet that burden before conviction, a defendant will face a different ma... More...   $0 (02-05-2014 - MA)

Nicole Ponte v. Steelcase, Inc.

Nicole Ponte appeals from the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of her former employer, Steelcase Inc., on her claims under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151B that (1) she was subject to sexual harassment while employed there, and (2) she was terminated in retaliation for her reports of such harassment. We apply the but-for causation standard ann... More...   $0 (01-31-2014 - MA)

David Pierce v. Cotuit Fire District

Plaintiff-appellant David Pierce, former Captain of the Cotuit, Massachusetts Fire Department, brought a complaint against the Department, the Fire Chief, and the Board of Fire Commissioners, alleging political discrimination in violation of the First Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, whistleblowing retaliation in violation of the Massachusetts Whistleblower Act, and tortious interference with cont... More...   $0 (01-28-2014 - MA)

Jamilya Pina v. The Children's Place a/k/a The Children's Place Retail Stores, Inc. and Jean Raymond

Jamilya Pina ("Pina") appeals from the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of her former employer, The Children's Place Retail Stores, Inc. ("TCP"), and TCP District Manager Jean Raymond ("Raymond"). Pursuing claims of employment discrimination and retaliation, Pina asserts that she was fired, harassed, and not rehired on the basis of race in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and Mas... More...   $0 (01-27-2014 - MA)

Nancy Geshke v. Crocs, Inc.

CROCS are odd looking shoes, known for their comfort. The plaintiff alleges that this reputation for comfort masks a hidden peril: the shoes present a heightened risk to the safety of wearers using escalators, and the manufacturer has failed to warn of this risk. The district court found these allegations unsupported and entered summary judgment accordingly. The plaintiff appeals. After careful c... More...   $0 (01-17-2014 - MA)

Carla Cracchiolo v. Eastern Fisheries, Inc.

Shortly after midnight on January 28, 2011, Giuseppe Cracchiolo fell and drowned after slipping from an obviously hazardous place on a pier at a New Bedford fishery while attempting to return to the commercial fishing boat on which he was working. His wife Carla Cracchiolo, acting individually and as administratrix of the estate, sued defendants RCP Realty and Eastern Fisheries, Inc. for damages ... More...   $0 (01-15-2014 - MA)

Angel Sanchez v. United States of America

Plaintiff Angel Sanchez, a widower and the executor of his wife's estate, sued his wife's doctors for medical malpractice. As it turned out, those doctors were federal employees, against whom claims are forever barred unless brought within the two-year limitations period Congress allowed under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), as opposed to the three-year period allowed by Massachusetts law fo... More...   $0 (01-14-2014 - MA)

Joseph Travers v. Flight Services & Systems, Inc.

Appellee Flight Services fired Appellant Joseph Travers as he pursued a lawsuit against the company under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). Flight Services says it terminated Travers for violating company policy. Travers says he was fired in retaliation for his FLSA lawsuit. Because a reasonable jury could return a verdict for Travers without relying on improbable inferences or unsupported s... More...   $0 (12-12-2013 - MA)

William M. Daniels v. Warren E. Agin

Ruling on motions for summary judgment in a bankruptcy proceeding, the bankruptcy court made two determinations that are the primary subject of this appeal. First, the court ruled that the debtor failed to maintain his profit-sharing plan in substantial compliance with the applicable tax laws. This ruling meant that assets in the profit-sharing plan and two IRAs funded with plan assets were part ... More...   $0 (11-25-2013 - MA)

David Butler v. Shiraz Balolita

This bi-coastal case requires a Boston-based federal court to make an informed prophesy as to whether the Washington Supreme Court, if squarely confronted with the question, would recognize a cause of action for breach of a contract to negotiate. Applying the methodology that federal courts have developed to vaticinate how state courts are likely to rule on unsettled questions of state law, we fi... More...   $0 (11-22-2013 - MA)

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