Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

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The First Circuit dismissed Petitioner’s petition for review of a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) final decision denying his application for cancellation of removal, holding that the Court lacked jurisdiction over Petitioner’s challenges to the BIA’s decision. Petitioner, a native and citizen of Guatemala who entered the United States illegally, filed an application for cancellation of removal pursuant to section 240A(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1229b(b)(1). Due in part to criminal charges pending against Defendant of child molestation, an immigration judge (IJ) denied Petitioner’s request. The BIA affirmed the IJ and dismissed Petitioner’s appeal. The First Circuit dismissed Petitioner’s petition for review, holding that jurisdiction was lacking where Petitioner stated no colorable legal or constitutional claim. View "Rivera v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings the district court’s denial of Plaintiff’s challenge of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’s (HPHC) denial of coverage for the cost of Plaintiff’s uncovered care at a mental health residential treatment facility, holding that the administrative record upon which the district court based its findings should have been supplemented. HPHC, Plaintiff’s insurer, deemed a portion of the time Plaintiff spent at the residential facility not medically necessary under the health care benefits plan established by the employer of Plaintiff’s parent and therefore denied coverage for that portion of the treatment. Plaintiff brought suit under ERISA, 29 U.S.C. 1001-1461. The district court affirmed on de novo review, concluding that continued residential treatment was not medically necessary for Plaintiff. The First Circuit vacated the district court’s order granting summary judgment for HPHC and remanded for further proceedings, holding (1) when a district court examines the denial of ERISA benefits de novo, the court’s factual findings are reviewed only for clear error; and (2) such a deferential review cannot properly be conducted in this case on the administrative record. View "Doe v. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Inc." on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the opinion of the Board of Immigration Appeal (BIA) affirming an Immigration Judge’s (IJ) denial of Petitioner’s application seeking asylum relief, withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act, and protection pursuant to the Convention Against Torture Act (CAT) and ordering her removed, holding that there was no merit to Petitioner’s arguments before this Court. On appeal, Petitioner argued that the BIA erred in affirming the IJ’s finding that she did not suffer past persecution on account of being a member of a protected class, she did not have a well-founded fear of future persecution, and she was not entitled to protection under the CAT. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the BIA’s decision was well supported, and review of the record did not compel a different outcome. View "Aguilar-de Guillen v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit granted Petitioner’s petition for judicial review of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner’s motion to reopen his removal proceedings, holding that the BIA overlooked a significant factor relevant to its analysis. During his removal hearing, Petitioner, an Indonesian national and an evangelical Christian, testified that he had experienced persecution in Indonesia on account of his faith. An immigration judge denied relief. Approximately ten years later, Petitioner moved to reopen his removal proceedings, arguing that conditions in Indonesia affecting Indonesian Christians had materially changed. The BIA denied relief. The First Circuit vacated the BIA’s order, holding that the BIA abused its discretion in neglecting to consider significant facts that may have had a bearing on the validity of Petitioner’s motion to reopen. The Court remanded so that the BIA may determine, after considering all the relevant evidence, whether Petitioner has made a prima facie showing of eligibility for the relief sought. View "Sihotang v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit (1) denied Petitioners’ petition for review as to their challenge to the determination of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that Petitioners' motion to reopen a removal order was untimely and number barred, and (2) dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction as to Petitioners’ challenge to the BIA’s decision not to exercise its authority to reopen sua sponte. Petitioners, natives of Guatemala, were ordered removed by an immigration judge in 2000. In 2001, the BIA denied their appeal. In 2017, Petitioners filed a motion to reopen or reconsider the removal order. The BIA denied the motion as untimely filed and numerically barred. The BIA also declined to reopen the removal proceedings sua sponte because it did not consider Petitioners’ situation “exceptional.” The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the BIA correctly held that Petitioners had failed to justify the delay in filing the motion to reopen and dismissing it as untimely; and (2) this Court lacked jurisdiction to review the BIA’s decision not to reopen sua sponte. View "Lemus v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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In this action brought under the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (ICCTA) the First Circuit denied the petition for review filed by Petitioners, holding that the Surface Transportation Board (STB) did not err by concluding that certain activities at a Grafton & Upton Railroad Company (G&U) facility involving wood pellets qualified as “transportation by rail carrier” and so fell within the exclusive jurisdiction of the STB. The Upton, Massachusetts board of selectmen concluded that the ICCTA preempted local regulation of the wood-pellet activities at G&U’s local facility. Petitioners, who lived near the facility, asked the STB for a declaratory order that these activities were not part of “transportation by rail carrier” under ICCTA because they were manufacturing activities, and therefore, there could be no federal preemption of otherwise-applicable state and local regulations. The STB concluded that the complained-about activities qualified as “transportation” under the ICCTA and therefore fell within the STB’s jurisdiction. The First Circuit denied Petitioners’ petition for review, holding that Petitioners failed to show that the STB acted arbitrarily or capriciously, abused its discretion, or otherwise violated the law. View "Del Grosso v. Surface Transportation Board" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for judicial review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the Immigration Judge’s (IJ) denial of Petitioner’s applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that the BIA did not err by affirming the IJ’s conclusion that Petitioner did not qualify for relief. Petitioner’s claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and withholding of removal under the CAT were principally supported by her testimony that she was mistreated in Honduras because of her Afro-Honduran race and physical disability caused by polio. The IJ found that Petitioner had failed to carry her burden in proving either past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution and rejected Petitioner’s claims. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit affirmed, holing (1) there was substantial evidence supporting the BIA’s and IJ’s conclusions that Petitioner had not shown past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution; and (2) the BIA did not err by failing to consider Petitioner’s claim for humanitarian asylum. View "Martinez-Perez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit remanded this case to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for reconsideration of Petitioner’s eligibility for asylum, holding that the BIA committed several errors in its review of the decision of the immigration judge (IJ). An IJ granted Petitioner asylum, concluding that Petitioner met his burden of proving he was entitled to asylum. Among other things, the IJ found that the police in Mexico would be unable to protect Petitioner from members of organized crime who had murdered his son and continued to target him and the rest of his nuclear family. The BIA concluded that the IJ’s finding of inability was clearly erroneous. The First Circuit reversed, holding (1) among the BIA’s errors in reviewing the IJ’s decision, the BIA failed to examiner separately the evidence of the government’s willingness to protect Petitioner from persecution and the evidence of its ability to do so; and (2) the BIA’s flawed analysis of the IJ’s decision required a remand of this case. View "Justo v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated in part the district court’s grant of summary judgment in Defendants’ favor on Plaintiffs’ claims seeking compensatory damages, declaratory relief, a permanent injunction, and expungement of disciplinary proceedings from a student’s university records. John Doe was accused of sexually assaulting a fellow Boston College student. In 2012, Boston College held disciplinary proceedings against Doe, and an Administrative Hearing Board found Doe responsible for the lesser offense of indecent assault and battery. In 2014, Boston College conducted an independent review of the disciplinary proceedings and determined that the Board’s finding was proper. Doe and his parents filed a lawsuit against Trustees of Boston College and several university officials. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants on all counts. The First Circuit (1) affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment as to Plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim for the 2014 review and Title IX, negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress claims; and (2) vacated the grant of summary judgment as to Plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim for the 2012 disciplinary proceedings, where there were genuine issues of material fact on this claim, and basic fairness claim, where the grant of summary judgment on this claim rested on the court’s analysis as to Plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim. View "Doe v. Trustees of Boston College" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s order upholding an administrative law judge’s (ALJ) denial of Appellant’s application for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income. The Court held (1) even if this Court reviews the ALJ’s ruling on the understanding that it must apply a certain Social Security Ruling in reviewing the ALJ’s ruling, the ALJ’s determination that Appellant was not disabled still must be upheld; (2) substantial evidence supported the ALJ’s determination that Appellant’s ability to carry out certain daily activities undermined his contention that he was unable to perform light work; and (3) Appellant’s remaining allegations of error were without merit. View "Coskery v. Berryhill" on Justia Law