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Bar News - January 18, 2013


US District Court Decision Listing: December 2012

* Published

ERISA
12/18/12
William Sims v. American Postal Workers Accident Benefit Association
Case No. 12-CV-91-PB, Opinion No. 2012 DNH 202

William Sims, a former employee of the American Postal Workers Accident Benefit Association challenged the amount of the pension that he was awarded pursuant to the American Postal Workers Accident Benefit Association Pension Plan. He requested an order remanding the case for an appeal hearing before the Planís Administrator. The Plan argued that Sims lost his right to an appeal hearing by refusing to attend a hearing scheduled for May 11, 2011. The court held that the Plan improperly refused to give Sims another hearing date, because Sims never intended to withdraw his request, but was merely expressing his unwillingness to attend what he reasonably, but mistakenly, believed was an illegal hearing. The court granted the motion to remand. 6 pages. Judge Paul J. Barbadoro.


EVIDENCE
12/7/12
United States v. Jonathan Tanguay
Criminal No. 11-cr-173-JL, Opinion No. 2012 DNH 179*

The defendant to a charge of possessing child pornography on his home computer moved in limine to exclude particular evidence from the upcoming trial. Among other things, the court ruled that: (1) although the prosecutionís proffered testimony from a "digital imaging specialist" amounted to expert testimony under Fed. R. Evid. 702, and the prosecution had failed to make a timely disclosure of the witnessís qualifications as required by Fed. R. Crim. P. 16(a)(1)(G), excluding that testimony was not the proper remedy, since the prosecution had provided the witnessís expert report well in advance of the deadline, and had missed the deadline to provide his qualifications by only 10 days, (2) evidence of legal pornographic material found on the defendantís computer, depicting subjects who appeared young but were not children, could be relevant to show that the defendant knowingly placed child pornography on the computer, depending on the precise nature of the material and when and how it was downloaded, (3) the prosecution could introduce the fact that police searched the defendantís home and seized his computer pursuant to a warrant, (4) defense counsel would not open the door to comment on his access to the forensic evidence or failure to call his own forensic expert by simply cross-examining the prosecutionís forensic expert, and (5) by giving its assent to a motion the defendant filed earlier in the case, the prosecution was not adopting the statements contained in the motion--including an account of statements by a potential witness--so as to make that account admissible as the prosecutionís "adoptive admission." 26 pages. Judge Joseph N. Laplante.


JURISDICTION (SUBJECT MATTER)
12/20/12
Stephen L. DíAngelo v. New Hampshire Supreme Court, and Brian Germain, Esq.
Case No. 12-cv-411-SM, Opinion No. 2012 DNH 204

Pro se plaintiff, a practicing attorney, brought suit against the New Hampshire Supreme Court, as well as a commissioner appointed by the Derry Family Court in plaintiffís ongoing child support proceedings. The court dismissed all of plaintiffís claims, concluding that his efforts to collaterally attack state court decisions were barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine and his claims seeking monetary damages from the state supreme court and the commissioner were barred by the Eleventh Amendment and the doctrine of judicial immunity. 12 pages. Judge Steven J. McAuliffe.


SOCIAL SECURITY
12/10/12
Edgar D. Figueroa v. Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner, Social Security Administration
Case No. 11-cv-541-SM, Opinion No. 2012 DNH 198

Claimant appealed the Commissionerís denial of his application for supplemental security income benefits. The court remanded the matter to the administrative law judge, concluding that the ALJ erred at step two of the sequential analysis when he found that claimantís depression was not severe. 2 pages. Judge Steven J. McAuliffe.


TORTS; EMPLOYMENT
12/13/12 Cheryl Bentley v. City of Lebanon, et al.
Case No. 10-cv-470-PB, Opinion No. 2012 DNH 200

Cheryl Bentley sued the City of Lebanon and three city employees for defamation, sexual harassment, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and violations of Title VII and the Equal Protection Clause. The court rejected Bentleyís federal Title VII claim because none of the defendants was her "employer." The court rejected her equal protection claim because she failed to offer evidence showing that the defendants intentionally discriminated against her because of her gender. The court remanded the remaining state law claims to state court. 8 pages. Judge Paul J. Barbadoro.

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