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Significant DecisionsFrom the United StatesCourt of Appeals forthe First Circuit
Office of the Maine Attorney GeneralContinuing Legal Education ProgramJuly11,2012
Topics Addressed
Equal ProtectionFederalismSovereign ImmunityCommerce ClauseFirst AmendmentEquitable EstoppelJudicial EstoppelYounger AbstentionSection 1983Proximate Causation
Davis v. United States670 F.3d 48 (1stCir. 2012)
Proximate CausationFBI agents, by protecting two gang member informants, were the proximate cause of two women killed by the informants• Agents knew the informants were “extraordinarily violent men who had already seemingly murdered others” and it was foreseeable that they “might kill anyone who threatened or seriously inconvenienced them”
Gonzalez-Drozv. Gonzalez-Colon660 F.3d 1 (1stCir. 2011)
Equal ProtectionUnder rational basis test, regulation limiting practice of cosmetic medicine to plastic surgeons and dermatologists was constitutional• Test: Rationally related to legitimate state interest• Classification “falls within the universe of reasonable alternatives that might serve to foster improved patient care and safety”
Massachusetts v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services2012 WL 1948017 (1stCir. 2012)
Equal Protection / FederalismProvision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act denying federal benefits to same sex couples lawfully married under state law violated Equal Protection Clause
Massachusetts v. U.S. Dept. of Health and HumanServices (cont.)
Strict Scrutiny-- Race, alienage, national origin-- Narrowly tailored to further compelling governmental interestIntermediate Scrutiny-- Gender-- Substantially related to further important governmental interestRational Basis Review-- Rationally related to further legitimate governmental interest
Massachusetts v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services(cont.)
Applieda rational basis test but with a “closerthanusual review”-- History of discrimination -- Principles offederalism (federal intervention in area where state regulation has traditionally governed)
Massachusetts v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services(cont.)
Rationales forDOMA• Preserve scarce federal resources• Supportchild-rearing in stable marriages• Promoteinstitution of opposite-sex marriages• Moraldisapproval of homosexuality•“Freeze” situation so Congress could reflect
Bergemannv. Rhode Island Dept. of Environmental Management665 F.3d 336 (1stCir. 2011)
Sovereign ImmunityState may impliedly waive its sovereign immunity by engaging in affirmative conduct during litigation sufficient to evince consent to suit• Removing a case to federal court results in a waiver only if the removal confers an unfair advantage on the removing state
Antilles Cement Corp. v.Fortuno670 F.3d 310 (1stCir. 2012)
Commerce ClauseUnder “Dormant” Commerce Clause, States generally may not discriminate against out-of-state commerce• Prohibition does not apply when State is acting as a participant in the free market as opposed to a sovereign regulating the market
Glikv.Cunniffe655 F.3d 78 (1stCir. 2011)
First AmendmentFirst Amendment protects the right of citizens to videotape police officers carrying out their duties in public• Government can impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions
Guayv.Burak677 F.3d 10 (1stCir. 2012)
Judicial EstoppelEquitable doctrine prevents a litigant from pressing a claim that is inconsistent with a position taken by the litigant in a prior proceeding• Positions must be directly inconsistent•Court accepted prior position•Showing of unfair advantage not necessary
Cahoonv. Shelton647 F.3d 18 (1stCir. 2011)
Equitable EstoppelTo succeed on equitable estoppel claim, party must establish that the defendant made an affirmative representation for the purpose of inducing the party to act (or fail to act) and party did act (or fail to act) in reliance on the representation• For governmental entities, applies only if predicated on acts of public officials or entities acting within the scope of their authority
Massachusetts Delivery Assoc. v.Coakley671 F.3d 33 (1stCir. 2012)
Younger AbstentionFederal court should abstain when requested relief would interfere 1) with an ongoing state judicial proceeding; 2) that implicates an important state interest; and 3) that provides an adequate opportunity for the federal plaintiff to advance his federal constitutional challenge
Massachusetts Delivery Assoc. v.Coakley(cont.)
Younger AbstentionDoes not typically apply where the federal court plaintiff is not itself a party to the state-court proceedings• Trade association and member of that association treated as separate entities
Santiago v. Puerto Rico655 F.3d 61 (1stCir. 2012)
Section 1983For private defendants to be held liable under Section 1983, they must have been acting “under color of state law”• Assumed a traditional public function•Were coerced or significantly encouraged by the State•Engaged in “joint action” with the State





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Cases By District of Origin -