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Bar News - July 15, 2015


US District Court Decision Listing

June 2015

* Published

BREACH OF WARRANTY

6/16/15
PSI Water Systems, Inc., d/b/a ENCON Evaporators v. Robuschi USA, Inc.
Case No. 14-cv-391-LM, Opinion 2015 DNH 119

In this action, which arose from the sale of allegedly defective products, the defendant moved to dismiss on grounds that the action was barred by a contractual forum selection clause. Because the motion relied upon matters outside the pleadings, the court treated it as a motion for summary judgment, and denied it, on grounds that the undisputed factual record failed to show that the forum selection clause was a part of the parties’ agreement. 15 pages. Judge Landya B. McCafferty


CIVIL RIGHTS § 1983 - PRISONER

6/30/15
John R. Griffin, Jr., v. Hillsborough County Department of Corrections, et al.
Case No. 13-cv-539-SM, Opinion No. 2015 DNH 130

Plaintiff, an inmate appearing pro se, objected to the Report and Recommendation in which the Magistrate Judge recommended that the court grant defendants’ motion for summary judgment on his state law malpractice claim and federal First and Fourteenth Amendment claims, all arising out of allegations that he received inadequate medical care while in custody, citing the lack of medical expert testimony in support of his claims. Plaintiff also objected to the Magistrate Judge’s ruling denying his request to appear as his own medical expert. Plaintiff further moved for a court-appointed medical expert to cure any such deficiency in his claims. The court adopted the Report and Recommendation for the reasons stated therein, including that plaintiff’s claims, as pleaded, all required him to present expert medical opinion that the medical care he received was in fact inadequate, and he presented none. The court also denied plaintiff’s objection to the decision denying his request to appear as his own medical expert because it was not clearly erroneous or contrary to law. Finally, the court denied his motion for a court-appointed expert because he failed to demonstrate that this case involves either extraordinary or compelling circumstances calling for the appointment of a medical expert. 10 pages. Judge Steven J. McAuliffe.


CONTRIBUTION

5/19/15
Bailey v. Buskey, et al.
Case No. 12-cv-396-SM, Opinion No. 2015 DNH 103

This litigation arose out of a complex insurance premium financing transaction gone wrong. Plaintiff sued his former attorneys for legal malpractice. Those attorneys, in turn, brought a third-party claim against plaintiff’s successor legal counsel, asserting that if they are liable to plaintiff, his successor counsel is liable to them for contribution (arguing, in essence, that successor counsel’s negligent legal advice exacerbated plaintiff’s damages). The third-party defendant moved for summary judgment. The court denied that motion, concluding that there were genuinely disputed material facts concerning whether successor counsel provided negligent advice and whether that advice caused plaintiff to incur damages he might not otherwise have suffered. 14 pages. Judge Steven J. McAuliffe.


EMPLOYMENT

6/9/15
Robert O’Bryan v. G4S Secure Solutions (USA) Inc.
Case No. No. 14-cv-163-JL, No opinion number

The plaintiff moved in limine to preclude the defendant from relying on or referring to (1) a portion of plaintiff’s personnel file produced after the close of discovery and (2) plaintiff’s use of prescription medication. The court denied both requests. It held, first, that the defendant had a duty under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(e) to timely supplement its document productions, that the defendant failed to do so, and that this failure was not harmless. Concluding that exclusion of the evidence was not an appropriate sanction under the circumstances, the court ordered the defendant to produce corporate witnesses for limited deposition on the late-produced documents at defendant’s expense. The court further held that the plaintiff failed to identify any prejudice cognizable under Federal Rule of Evidence 403 to support excluding evidence of his use of prescription medications. 13 pages. Judge Joseph N. Laplante.


INSURANCE COVERAGE

6/1/15
Catholic Medical Center v. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company
Case No. 14-cv-180-JL, Opinion No. 2015 DNH 110

Plaintiff hospital sought insurance coverage for damaged surgical instruments after instruments had to be destroyed after potential exposure to contagious disease. Insurance company denied coverage, claiming that policy language which required damage to “premises” did not encompass instruments. Insured argued that other policy provisions rendered the language ambiguous. On cross-motions for summary judgment, court ruled for defendant insurer, holding, inter alia, that the term “premises” required damage to a physical structure. 12 pages. Chief Judge Joseph N. Laplante.


INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

6/10/15
Jennifer Dickert v. North Coast Family Health, Inc.
Case No. 14-cv-316-JL, Opinion No. 2015 DNH 118

The defendants moved to dismiss a former employee’s claim for copyright infringement on grounds that she failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The court granted the motion in part and denied it in part. Specifically, the court dismissed plaintiff’s claim of infringement of works not registered with the Copyright Office and her claim for statutory damages because she failed to register the remaining works before the alleged infringement commenced, as the Copyright Act requires. The court denied the remainder of the defendant’s motion, holding that the plaintiff pled facts sufficient to support a claim for actual damages on her registered works and that the defendants’ alleged cessation of infringement did not deprive the court of subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff’s claim for injunctive relief. 14 pages. Judge Joseph N. Laplante.


PATENTS, JURISDICTION

6/3/15
Presby Patent Trust v. Infiltrator Systems, Inc.
Case No. 14-cv-542-JL, Opinion No. 2015 DNH 111

The defendant moved to dismiss this patent infringement action on the grounds that this court lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant. The court granted the motion, holding that (1) the court lacked specific jurisdiction over the defendant because, as the plaintiff admitted, no infringement occurred within the forum, and (2) the court could not exercise general jurisdiction over the defendant under Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746 (2014), because the defendant’s contacts with New Hampshire did not render it essentially at home in the forum state. 21 pages. Judge Joseph N. Laplante.


PRISONER - SECTION 1983

6/2/15
Christopher Crosby v. Strafford County Department of Corrections, et al.
Case No. 12-cv-383-LM, Opinion No. 2015 DNH 100

This case arose out of a beating the plaintiff received from a fellow inmate at the Strafford County House of Corrections. The defendants, both institutional and individual, were granted summary judgment on all three of the plaintiff’s state law claims on grounds of governmental immunity. 23 Pages. Judge Landya B. McCafferty.


SOCIAL SECURITY

6/17/15
Suzanne Gardner v. SSA
Case No. 13-cv-483-JL, Opinion No. 2015 DNH 126

Claimant sought Social Security disability benefits based on degenerative lumbar disc disease, degeneration of the knees, obesity, fibromyalgia, and depression with a history of post traumatic stress disorder. An ALJ found that claimant was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act because she has sufficient residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to work at jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy. In seeking reversal, claimant argued that the ALJ erred in evaluating her credibility and properly taking her limitations into account in assessing her RFC. The court rejected claimant’s arguments, finding the record evidence sufficient to support the ALJ’s conclusions. 10 pages. Chief Judge Joseph N. Laplante.


6/29/15
Holly Couture v. SSA
Case No. 14-cv-69-JL, Opinion No. 2015 DNH 128

On appeal from the Social Security Administration’s denial of the claimant’s applications for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits, the court affirmed the decision of the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). In rejecting the opinion of the claimant’s treating physician, the court held, the ALJ permissibly had concluded that those opinions were not supported by, and were inconsistent with, other substantial evidence in the record, including the physician’s own prior opinion and treatment notes. Among other things, the court noted that the claimant had submitted evidence of a robust regimen of daily activities that were inconsistent with her claimed limitations. The court further held that the ALJ permissibly relied upon the contrary opinion of a non-treating, examining physician, and that the weight the ALJ afforded a non-treating, non-examining physician’s opinion was not in error. 16 pages. Judge Joseph N. Laplante.


6/9/15
Sheila A. Perry v. Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
Case No. 14-cv-390-SM, Opinion No. 2015 DNH 117

Claimant moved to reverse or vacate the Acting Commissioner’s decision denying her applications for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income. Among other things, claimant asserted that the ALJ failed to give adequate weight to the opinions of her treating psychiatrist. The court agreed, concluding that the ALJ’s stated reasons for discounting those medical opinions were not consistent with the record (a point acknowledged by the Acting Commissioner), nor was that error “harmless.” Noting that it cannot uphold the ALJ’s decision based upon rationales unarticulated in the record, the court remanded the matter for further proceedings. 14 pages. Judge Steven J. McAuliffe.


6/12/15
David W. Eldridge v. Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
Case No. 14-cv-248-SM, Opinion No. 2015 DNH 121

Claimant moved to reverse or vacate the Acting Commissioner’s decision denying his applications for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income. Claimant alleged that the ALJ erred by: (1) incorrectly determining his residual functional capacity (“RFC”); (2) improperly evaluating the testimony of the vocational expert (“VE”); and (3) improperly evaluating his age and work history. The court disagreed, concluding that the ALJ’s RFC determination was supported by substantial evidence, the ALJ properly weighed the VE’s testimony, and the ALJ properly considered claimant’s age and work history. Consequently, the court denied claimant’s motion and granted the Acting Commissioner’s. 19 pages. Judge Steven J. McAuliffe.


6/8/15
Richard L. Downs v. Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration
Case No. 14-cv-319-LM, Opinion 2015 DNH 113

In this appeal from a denial of Social Security disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income, the decision of the Administrative Law Judge was affirmed over claims that the residual functional capacity assessed by the ALJ was not supported by substantial evidence and that the jobs identified by the vocational expert required abilities that the claimant did not have. 27 Pages. Judge Landya B. McCafferty.


6/8/15
Cheryl McLaughlin v. Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration
Case No. 14-cv-154-LM, Opinion No. 2015 DNH 114

In this appeal from a denial of Social Security disability insurance benefits, the case was remanded because the Administrative Law Judge determined that the claimant had the physical residual functional capacity to perform light work without the benefit of any medical opinion to that effect. 15 Pages. Judge Landya B. McCafferty.


6/15/15
Robert Roland Gilbert v. Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
Case No. 14-cv-553-LM, Opinion No. 2014 DNH 124

In this appeal from a denial of Social Security disability insurance benefits, the case was remanded because the Administrative Law Judge did not give proper consideration to the opinion of a treating physician. 17 pages. Judge Landya B. McCafferty.


6/30/15
James T. Briand v. Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
Case No. 14-cv-425-LM, Opinion No. 2015 DNH 131

In this appeal from a denial of Social Security disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income, the case was remanded because the Administrative Law Judge failed to include a sit/stand option in his residual functional capacity assessment and his hypothetical to the vocational expert. This was reversible error because the medical evidence that the claimant required a sit/stand option was uncontroverted. 15 pages. Judge Landya B. McCafferty

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