Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) maintains a database of inspection history and safety records relating to commercial motor vehicle operators. Appellants, a group of commercial motor vehicle operators, brought suit against the FMSCA and the Department of Transportation, arguing that the potential disclosure to employers of “non-serious” driver-related safety records contained in the database violates the Privacy Act. The district court granted the FMCSA’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, concluding that 49 U.S.C. 31150 was ambiguous as to the agency’s authority to include non-serious driver-related safety violations in the database and, further, that the agency’s interpretation of section 31150 was a reasonable and permissible construction of the statute and was entitled to Chevron deference. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) section 31150 is ambiguous as to the question of non-serious driver-related safety violations; and (2) the agency’s interpretation of the statute is not arbitrary, capricious, or manifestly contrary to the statute. View "Flock v. United States Department of Transportation" on Justia Law

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The Massachusetts Delivery Association (MDA), a trade organization representing same-day delivery companies in Massachusetts, brought this suit on behalf of its members seeking a declaration that “Prong 2” of the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Statute is preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) as well as an injunction barring the Attorney General from enforcing Prong 2 against its members. After the First Circuit twice remanded the case, the district court held that the FAAAA preempts Prong 2 as to the members of the MDA as a matter of logical effect. Applying the logic of the First Circuit's decision in Schwann v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc., the First Circuit affirmed, holding that the application of Prong 2 to the members of the MDA is preempted by the FAAAA. View "Massachusetts Delivery Ass’n v. Healey" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, individuals who contracted with FedEx to provide pick-up and delivery services, filed a complaint claiming that FedEx should have treated and paid them as employees rather than as independent contractors because FedEx could not satisfy all three requirements under the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Statute (Massachusetts Statute). Plaintiffs sought damages for loss of wages, improper wage deductions, and loss of benefits. The district court ultimately granted FedEx summary judgment on all counts, concluding (1) application of one of the requirements of the Massachusetts Statute is preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA), and this preempted requirement is not severable from the two remaining requirements; and (2) the remaining two requirements are preempted. The First Circuit reversed, holding (1) the express preemption provision of the FAAAA preempts the application of one of the Massachusetts Statute’s requirements to FedEx, but the preempted requirement is severable from the two remaining requirements; and (2) the district court erred by concluding, sua sponte, that application of the remaining two requirements was also preempted by the FAAAA. View "Schwann v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc." on Justia Law

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The Town of Portsmouth, Rhode Island filed claims against various federal and state transportation agencies and officers in federal district court challenging tolls collected on the Sakonnet River Bridge. The Town alleged that the tolls violated of the anti-tolling provision of the Federal-Aid Highway Act and the National Environmental Policy Act and sought injunctive and declaratory relief, attorney fees, and unspecified general relief. After the Town filed suit, the Rhode Island legislature repealed the tolls. Thereafter, the Town filed a motion seeking restitution of previously collected tolls. The district court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss all claims as having been rendered moot by the legislative repeal. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly found that the legislative repeal rendered moot the Town’s claims for injunctive and declaratory relief; and (2) the Town did not sufficiently allege or preserve a restitution claim, and even if it did, the restitution claim would still fail because the Town lacked a right of action. View "Town of Portsmouth v. Lewis" on Justia Law