Is technology redefining what it means to be a lawyer?

As a practitioner who focuses on legal research and writing, I marvel and appreciate the electronic research tools I have at my disposal to perform legal research. Literally at my finger tips I have access to a law library full of information that I can query a search engine to sift through this immense store of data to find the relevant law. Yet, the appeal and skill of searching through reporters and secondary materials to find the necessary supporting materials still lingers. As a law student I had the advantage entering my 1L year knowing how to perform legal research and found little appeal of electronic sources. However, the availability of electronic legal research and the relative small expense makes it a more practical resource than a library full of legal tomes. The question is whether the availability of electronic sources makes us better lawyers or takes away from those traditional skills. I find a parallel situation in the world of photography. As a photographer who trained under a true professional and learned the science of photography, I am dismayed that the basic know-how of photography is being supplanted by technology that allows anyone without formal training or understanding of the basics to call themselves a “photographer”, and in essence, redefining what it means to be a photographer.  Is the same happening with the legal profession and what it means to be a “lawyer”. Thoughts?

New Hampshire Supreme Court Issues Order Adopting the Amendments to Court Rules

The New Hampshire Supreme Court issued an Order on July 24, 2014 pursuant to Part II, Article 73-a of the New Hampshire Constitution and Supreme Court Rule 51.  The amendments to the court rules cover the following:

  • Technical amendments to the Rules of the Superior Court of the State of New Hampshire Applicable in Civil Actions.
  • Technical amendments to Supreme Court Rule 56, regarding performance evaluation of judges, pursuant to a recent statutory change to RSA 490:32, VI.
  • Amendment implementing a recent statutory change to RSA311:6.

The Court’s 38-page Order can be found here.

10th Circuit Opens a Pandora’s Box That SCOTUS Might Have to Close

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals may have invited scrutiny by the Supreme Court when the majority refused to grant a petition for rehearing en banc concerning a Constitutional challenge to Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) that sets a precedent for the concepts of legislative standing and justicability of the Guarantee Clause under the U.S. Constitution.  In doing so, the 10th Circuit may have opened up a Pandora’s Box of potential litigation between the branches of state and federal republican governments that could flood the federal court system unless unchecked.Byron White Courthouse

Kerr v. Hickenlooper, Civil Action No. 11-cv-1350-WJM-BNB, was filed on May 23, 2011 in the federal district court for Colorado. The Plaintiffs, which includes current and past Colorado state legislators, public officials, educators, administrators and private citizens, sought to overturn the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (“TABOR”).  TABOR is state constitutional amendment to the Colorado Constitution, which was passed by the voters of Colorado in 1992.  The crux of TABOR removes the power to enact tax legislation from the legislature and any other level of state government and in its place requires a referendum among the voters of Colorado to approve any new taxes.  The Colorado General Assembly claims that TABOR undermines the ability of Colorado’s representative democracy to function and therefore having the effect of invalidating Colorado’s “republican form of government”, which is guaranteed to all under the Guarantee Clause (Article IV, section 4) of the United States Constitution. A republican form of government is required to be maintained pursuant to the Colorado State Constitution and by the Colorado Statehood Act of 1875.  Therefore, the Plaintiffs allege that since TABOR violates Article IV, section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, and the requirements of the Statehood Act, the court should invalidate the amendment.

The Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, was designated as the named Defendant, and he immediately filed a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) alleging that the Plaintiffs lacked Article III standing and prudential standing, and that their claims were barred by the political question doctrine. The district court issued a 73-page Order on July 30, 2012 that denied the Defendant’s motion to dismiss in part and granted the motion to dismiss in part.  Most importantly, the district court dismissed the Defendant’s claim that the Plaintiffs lacked standing and their claims under the Guarantee Clause were a non-justicable political questions. The  district court granted permission and the Defendant filed an interlocutory appeal with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals asserting that the district court erred and asked the 10th Circuit to dismiss the case because the Plaintiffs lack of standing and that their claims are barred because they are non-justicable political question

However, the 10th Circuit in its March 7, 2014 opinion, Kerr v. Hickenlooper, 744 F.3d 1156 (10th Cir. 2014), concluded that the Plaintiffs had standing since they suffered a particularized injury not widely shared by the general populace that entitles them to have their case heard by the federal courts and that the political question doctrine did not apply. The 10th Circuit rationalized that this matter differed from the Supreme Court’s decision in Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433, 438 (1939) and Raines v. Byrd, 521 U.S. 811 (1997), in that the Plaintiffs in this matter

“…had sufficiently alleged an injury to the plain, direct and adequate interest in maintaining the effectiveness of their votes, and had satisfied Coleman’s requirements for legislative standing.”

Addressing the Guarantee Clause and in particular whether a political question existed thus making the case non-justiciable the 10th Circuit applied the six factors found in the test articulated in the Supreme Court’s decision in Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186. Under Baker, a case will be non-justicable as a political question if there is:

“[1] a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department; or [2] a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it; or [3] the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for non-judicial discretion; or [4] the impossibility of a court’s undertaking independent resolution without expressing lack of the respect due coordinate branches of government; or [5] an unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a political decision already made; or [6] the potentiality of embarrassment from multifarious pronouncements by various departments on one question.” See Kerr at 1176.

Unless one of these factors is impossible to separate from the case at bar, there should be no dismissal for non-justiciability. Applying the six factors, the 10th Circuit found that  a political question was not raised raised by the Plaintiffs’ claim and not barred. Coupled with the finding that the Plaintiffs had legislative standing to bring its case, the 10th Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision and remanded to the district court for further proceedings on the merits

The Defendant petitioned the 10th Circuit for rehearing en banc, but the panel refused the request in its July 22, 2014 order. Judge Harris L. Hartz penned his own dissent and Timothy M. Tymkovich along with Jerome M. Holmes penned a dissent opinion to the Court’s order arguing that the Court should have granted the Petition for a rehearing en banc with the focus being both the non-justiciability of the Guarantee Clause as a political question and mistakenly extending the doctrine of legislative standing.

With the 10th Circuit unwilling to rehear this case the likely step is for the Governor of Colorado to petition the United States Supreme Court to address the issue. The 10th Circuit’s generous grant of legislative standing and its reading of the justiciability of the Guarantee Clause may have opened a legal Pandora’s Box that could form the basis of suits between separate branches of government and may have encouraged the Speaker of the House to move forward with a separation of powers lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s executive actions over the Affordable Healthcare Act. Considering the potential surge of litigation as a result of this ruling, the Supreme Court will likely grant the Defendant cert if the Governor chooses to petition. To do so would give the Supreme Court the opportunity to close this Pandora’s Box before the evils of litigation between the branches of state and federal government escape into the federal court system.

 

New Hampshire Supreme Court Makes Important Statutory Interpretation of “Holding Provision” in RSA 168-B.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court made an important statutory interpretation of the “holding provision” of RSA 168-B in its opinion In re Guardianship of Madelyn B, which was released on July 2, 2014. This appeal from the 10th Circuit Court – Derry Family Division revolved around the continued guardianship of a minor-child, Madelyn B, conceived by a partner of a same-sex couple. The biological mother of the child, Melissa D, entered into a arrangement on March 15, 2002 with her partner, Susan B, the appellant where she became the child’s legal guardian because she could not legally adopt her. The couple ended their relationship in November 2008 and Melissa D. and the child moved in with Melissa D’s NHSupremeCourt_Blogheterosexual partner whom she eventually married.

Susan B. was allowed visitation and provided child support to the child, and this arrangement continued until February 2013 when Melissa D. stopped cashing child support checks and informed Susan B. that the child no longer wished to see her. Melissa D. filed a motion on April 2, 2013 to terminate the guardianship of Susan B, which the trial court granted on April 12, 2013 without a hearing. The family division ruled that Susan B’s guardianship was created to provide care for the child in the event Melissa D. could not and that Melissa D’s husband could fulfill that role.

Susan B. attempted to intervene in the pending adoption of the child and filed a verified parenting petition seeking orders on child support and a ruling by the trial court that she was a “parent” of the child. The family division denied Susan B’s motion to intervene and her subsequent motion for reconsideration. Susan B. appealed arguing that the family division erred in:

  • terminating the guardianship without a hearing or opportunity to conduct discovery;
  • ruling that the legal standard for termination of a guardianship had been satisfied;
  • dismissing her parenting petition; and
  • denying her motion to intervene in the adoption case.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court accepted the appeal, and the sole issue that the it considered on appeal is the family division’s failure to consider Susan B’s parenting petition, which Susan B. characterized as the family division’s rejection of her motion as a dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.  To support her position, Susan B argued that the trial court erred in dismissing her parenting petition because she sufficiently alleged a claim under the “holding out” provision in RSA 168-B:3, I(d), which reads as follows:

I. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a man is presumed to be the father of a child if:

. . .

(d) While the child is under the age of majority, he receives the child into his home and openly holds out the child as his child.

 

Susan B. contended that the Court must interpret the statute’s use of ‘father’ and male pronouns, in the holding out provision to apply to mothers as well. The Court reviewed this statute de novo and agreed with Susan B’s argument that RSA 168-B:3, I(d) applies equally to women and men. In making its determination, the Court noted as it rationale that:

  • The New Hampshire Legislature has directed that words that import the masculine gender may extend and be applied to females, unless that construction would be inconsistent with the manifest intent of the legislature or repugnant to the context of the same statute.
  • Other jurisdictions have interpreted the terms “paternity” and “father” to apply to women.
  • RSA 168-B indicates an implied preference by the legislature for the recognition of two parents and the value of having two parents, , as a source of both emotional and financial support.
  • The policy goals of RSA 168-B:3 of ensuring legitimacy and support would be thwarted if the Court’s interpretation of the statute failed to recognize that a child’s second parent under that statute can be a woman.
  • “Paternity presumptions are driven, not by biological paternity, but by the state’s interest in the welfare of the child and the integrity of the family.”
  • In some cases, the Court has refused to allow a presumption of paternity to be rebutted by proof of biological paternity.

Considering this, the Court concluded that the lack of a biological connection between Susan B. and Madelyn B. is not a bar to application of the “holding out” presumption. Furthermore, the Court determined that Susan B. alleged sufficient facts to state a claim for presumed parentage under RSA 168-B:3, I(d). The Court reversed the family division’s dismissal of Susan’s verified parenting petition and remanded for further proceedings, and vacated the family division’s termination of Susan’s guardianship over the child. The Court also directed the family division to schedule a hearing on Susan B’s request for temporary orders, and the Court also vacated the family division’s denial of Susan B’s motion to intervene in the child’s adoption proceedings and order those proceedings stayed until Susan B’s parentage of the child is at last determined.

The Court’s opinion in this matter is available for download on the New Hampshire Supreme Court’s website.

SCOTUS rules on warrantless searches of cellphones

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Photos is public domain

On June 25, 2014, the United States Supreme Court addressed the issue of warrantless searches of cell phones in its opinion of Riley v. California.  The ruling in Riley comes from two separate cases involving the search of cellphones of criminal defendants during a search incident to their arrest.

In the first case, the Petitioner, Riley, was stopped by a police officer for expired registration tags and learned in the course of the arrest that the Petitioner’s license was suspended.  The Petitioner’s vehicle was impounded and an inventory made of the contents. The Petitioner was arrested for possession of concealed and loaded firearms found inside the vehicle.  The Petitioner was searched incident to his arrest and a smart phone was found on his person, which the arresting officer access and obtained information linking the Petitioner to the Bloods gang.  About two hours after the arrest a detective further accessed the phone searching for additional evidence rationalizing that gang members often photograph themselves holding guns. During the search of the phone, the detective found a photograph of the Petitioner standing in front of a car that the police suspected was involved in an earlier shooting.  The Petitioner was charged in that shooting based on the photograph, including charges in connection with that earlier shooting, with firing at an occupied vehicle, assault with a semiautomatic firearm, and attempted murder.  The Petitioner moved the trial court to suppress all evidence obtained from the phone as violating as a warrantless search under the Fourth Amendment.  The trial court rejected the Peitioner’s motion and was convicted on all three counts and sentenced to 15 years in prison.  The California Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s decision and relied on the California Supreme Court’s decision in People v. Diaz, 51 Cal. 4th 84, 244 P. 3d 501 (2011).  Diaz held that the Fourth Amendment permits a warrantless search of cell phone data incident to an arrest, so long as the cell phone was immediately associated with the arrestee’s person.  The California Supreme Court denied the Petitioner’s request for view.  SCOTUS granted certiorari.

In the second case Brima Wurie was making a drug transaction that was observed by a police officer.  Wurie was arrested and brought to the police station and searched. Two cell phones were seized from Wurie’s person, including a “flip phone.”  The arresting officers noticed that the phone was repeatedly receiving calls from a source identified as “My House.”  The officers saw a photo wallpaper photo of a woman and a baby.  The officers access the phones call log to determine the phone number and used an online phone directory to trace phone to an apartment building.  Upon arriving at the apartment building, the officers determined the location of Wurie’s apartment and observed the woman in the photograph.  The officers secured the apartment, obtaine a search warrant and, upon executing the warrant, found 215 grams of crack cocaine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, a firearm and ammunition, and cash.  Wurie was subsequently charged in connection with the search to distributing crack cocaine, possessing crack cocaine with intent to distribute, and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.  Wurie moved at the Federal District Court of Massachusetts to suppress the evidence obtained from the search of the apartment and argued that it was obtained as a result of an unconstitutional search of his cell phone.  The trial court rejected his motion and Wurie was convicted on all three counts and sentenced to 22 years in prison.  The 1st Circuit was divided but reversed the District Court’s and vacated Wurie’s convictions for possession with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm as a felon.  The 1st Circuit held that:

…cell phones are distinct from other physical possessions that may be searched incident to arrest without a warrant, because of the amount of personal data cell phones contain and the negligible threat they pose to law enforcement interests.

SCOTUS granted certiorari.

In considering the issue of the search of cell phones, the Court referred to its holding in three seminal cases dealing with searches incident to arrest:

Chimel v. California, 395 U. S. 752 (1969)

United States v. Robinson, 414 U. S. 218 (1973)

Arizona v. Gant, 556 U. S. 332 (2009)

The Court ultimately declined to extend its holding in Robinson, which held that a “custodial arrest of a suspect based on probable cause is a reasonable intrusion under the Fourth Amendment; that intrusion being lawful, a search incident to the arrest requires no additional justification.”, to searches of data on cell phones, and held instead that officers must generally secure a warrant before conducting such a search.

Justice Roberts writing the opinion for a unanimous Court noted the following:

  • Digital data stored on a cell phone cannot itself be used as a weapon to harm an arresting officer or to effectuate the arrestee’s escape. Law enforcement officers remain free to examine the physical aspects of a phone to ensure that it will not be used as a weapon—say, to determine whether there is a razor blade hidden between the phone and its case. Once an officer has secured a phone and eliminated any potential physical threats, however, data on the phone can endanger no one.
  • The search incident to arrest exception rests not only on the heightened government interests at stake in a volatile arrest situation, but also on an arrestee’s reduced privacy interests upon being taken into police custody.
  • The fact that an arrestee has diminished privacy inter­ests does not mean that the Fourth Amendment falls out of the picture entirely. Not every search “is acceptable solely because a person is in custody.”
  • The United States asserts that a search of all data stored on a cell phone is “materially indistinguishable” from searches of these sorts of physical items. Brief for United States in No. 13–212, p. 26. That is like saying a ride on horseback is materially indistinguishable from a flight to the moon. Both are ways of getting from point A to point B, but little else justifies lumping them together. Modern cell phones, as a category, implicate privacy con­cerns far beyond those implicated by the search of a ciga­rette pack, a wallet, or a purse. A conclusion that inspect­ing the contents of an arrestee’s pockets works no substantial additional intrusion on privacy beyond the arrest itself may make sense as applied to physical items, but any extension of that reasoning to digital data has to rest on its own bottom.
  • Although the data stored on a cell phone is distin­guished from physical records by quantity alone, certain types of data are also qualitatively different.
  • The United States first proposes that the Gant standard be imported from the vehicle context, allowing a warrant­less search of an arrestee’s cell phone whenever it is rea­sonable to believe that the phone contains evidence of the crime of arrest.
  • Our holding, of course, is not that the information on a cell phone is immune from search; it is instead that a warrant is generally required before such a search, evenwhen a cell phone is seized incident to arrest.
  • Moreover, even though the search incident to arrest exception does not apply to cell phones, other case-specific exceptions may still justify a warrantless search of a particular phone. “One well-recognized exception applies when ‘“the exigencies of the situation” make the needs of law enforcement so compelling that [a] warrantless search is objectively reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.’”
  • Such exi­gencies could include the need to prevent the imminent destruction of evidence in individual cases, to pursue a fleeing suspect, and to assist persons who are seriously injured or are threatened with imminent injury.
  • Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans “the privacies of life,”

The significance of Riley is that it takes into account the ever-increasing influence that technology has in everyday life and the effect that it has on privacy and balances the needs of privacy with that of law enforcement in certain exigent circumstances.  While this ruling will not spill over into the controversial collection of personal information by the NSA, it does demonstrate that the Court is cognizant that the bounds of privacy are not static and those bounds are affected and will expand as technology progresses.

The Court’s opinion in Riley can be found here.

 

 

Writ of Certiorari in New Hampshire: Pointers and Pitfalls for Practitioners

Author’s note: This post is an expanded version of on an article that the author wrote for the April 2014 edition of the New Hampshire Bar News.

The writ of certiorari is one of the more unusual and lesser understood remedies found in New Hampshire practice. Certiorari is an extraordinary remedy, granted not as a matter of right, but rather at the court’s discretion “when the substantial ends of justice require such relief.” Petition of Turgeon, 140 N.H. 52, 53   The writ is granted sparingly and only where to not do so would result in substantial injustice. Certiorari review is limited to whether the trial court acted illegally with respect to jurisdiction, authority or observance of the law, or unsustainably exercised its discretion or acted arbitrarily, unreasonably, or capriciously. See Petition of State of N.H., 154 N.H. 671, 674.  Certiorari is generally allowed when there is no other method of appeal.

A common use of the writ of certiorari in New Hampshire is to appeal decisions of municipal corporations to the superior court, including termination of statutory public employees or officers who have no other means of appeal, zoning and other matters relegated to municipal bodies. Certiorari is also used to appeal decisions from administrative bodies where there is no clear form of appeal. Practitioners utilizing or defending against a writ of certiorari need to be aware of nuances of the remedy to avoid common pitfalls.  There are three common pitfalls when utilizing the writ of certiorari.

First, is the statute of limitations for petitioning the superior court.  Unless stipulated by statute, a writ of certiorari does not have a specific statute of limitations and the Court may refuse to exercise its discretion when the petition has been filed after an unreasonable length of time. See Wood v. General Elec. Co., , 119 N.H. 285, 288 (N.H. 1979). Where the legislature has acted to provide an appeal period in a substantively analogous situation, that appeal period will prove a fair guideline as to what constitutes a reasonable time. In the absence of any such legislative guideline, the court must look to all the facts and circumstances and determine whether the petitioning party is guilty of unreasonable delay. Wood at 288. Outside of a situation where there is an analogous statute, a practitioner would be prudent to file a petition for writ of certiorari within thirty to forty-five days of the decision being appealed. Petitions outside this time-frame can be challenged by the respondent as untimely and may be dismissed by the superior court.

The second and third pitfalls occur in tandem. Both occur because of the presumption that the writ of certiorari can only address the due process argument and that state law claims relating to the matter cannot be adjudicated in the same proceeding. The writ of certiorari addresses due process concerns and does not provide a de novo review of the appealed due process claim.  However, there is no law/equity distinction under New Hampshire law, and the superior court can adjudicate the equitable due process claim and any cause of action so long as they arise out of the same factual transaction.  Petitioners tend to focus on the equitable due process claim when petitioning the superior court for writ of certiorari and do not plead any other cause of action meaning any right to recover, regardless of the theory of recovery. See Meier v. Town of Littleton, 9154 N.H. 340, 343 (N.H. 2006).  The misconception being that the superior court cannot rule on claims at law in the same proceeding.

The second pitfall leads in the third common pitfall, which is bifurcated into two possible scenarios.  The first scenario occurs where a petition for a writ of certiorari is made to the superior court without pleading any other cause of action that the arises out of the same transaction.  If the superior court refuses to grant certiorari the petitioner tends to fall into the trap of not petitioning the New Hampshire Supreme Court for appeal of the superior court’s decision, which is discretionary under Rule 10.  The second scenario arises when the petitioner files an appeal of the superior court’s decision to the New Hampshire Supreme Court and the Supreme Court either rejects the appeal or affirms the superior court’s decision.  In either scenario, the petitioner may directly file an action at law in superior court or federal district court.  Actions at law filed in superior court or in federal district court following this pattern characteristically allege constitutional due process violations and tort claims such as wrongful termination or intentional infliction of emotional distress.

An action at law based on a failed petition for writ of certiorari is vulnerable on several fronts via a motion to dismiss. The most effective defense against this type of action is to assert that the plaintiff’s due process claim and any other cause of action is barred by res judicata. This is where the second pitfall comes into play because even if the cause of action being pled in the action at law was not included within the original petition for writ of certiorari the plaintiff is nonetheless barred from pleading the cause of action in a separate action since it could have been pled along with the original petition for writ of certiorari. See Kalil v. Town of Dummer Zoning Bd. of Adjustment, 159 N.H. 725, 729-30 (N.H. 2010). See also Eastern Marine Const. Corp. v. First Southern Leasing, Ltd., 129 N.H. 270, 275 (N.H. 1987). This affirmative defense to this type of action is not subject to any exceptions to res judicata recognized by New Hampshire law and is fatal to the plaintiff’s action.

Additionally, the defendant should use the motion to dismiss to attack the sufficiency of the pleadings with regards to any cause of action made by the plaintiff, and if the plaintiff failed to appeal the superior court’s unfavorable ruling on the petition for writ of certiorari, the defendant should assert that the plaintiff did not exhaust all available remedies before filing an action at law. A proper motion to dismiss addressing these points will succeed and will be affirmed by the Supreme Court if the plaintiff makes a mandatory appeal under Rule 7.

To avoid this trap, petitioners seeking a writ of certiorari should combine any state law claims they would raise in an action at law within their petition, which the superior court will adjudicate separately from the writ of certiorari in the same proceeding. If the superior court refuses to grant the writ of certiorari then the petitioner’s final remedy is to file a petition of appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Unlike actions at law under Rule 7, appeals for writ of certiorari are governed by Rule 10 and subject to the discretion of the Court. Whether or not the Supreme Court accepts the appeal its decision is final, and the petitioner has no other remedies available afterwards at law because all claims arise out the same factual transaction and are barred by res judicata.

A practitioner representing a petitioner for a writ of certiorari should make the limitations of the remedy clear to the client. The practitioner should make it clear to the client that an action at law is not a viable option and will fail. This is important because a client will likely be uninformed about the nature of a writ of certiorari and will be insistent on the practitioner filing such an action either before or after a failed petition for a writ of certiorari. Notably, an action at law filed instead of a petition for a writ of certiorari will likely be treated as such, especially if the action contains a count for due process.

Practitioners representing respondents should be cognizant of statute of limitations and deficiencies in a petition and whether the petitioner fails to appeal an adverse decision. If an action at law is filed after an unsuccessful petition for a writ of certiorari, the practitioner should first note whether any due process claim involves federal law. An action at law involving a federal question would allow the respondent to remove the matter to federal district court, which would then allow the court to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over any cause of action under New Hampshire state law. Before the practitioner removes to federal district court, the defendant should be advised that a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) would not be fatal to the plaintiff’s action. Any federal question, which is likely to be an allegation of due process violations under the Constitution and federal law, will be disposed of by res judicata. Once the federal question is disposed of the district court can no longer exercise supplemental jurisdiction over any cause of action arising under New Hampshire State law and requires the district court to remand the state law claims to the state superior court for adjudication. See Camelio v. American Federation, 137 F.3d 666, 672 (1st Cir. 1998).

This means that the defendant would be required to file an additional motion to dismiss in superior court to deal with any cause of action under New Hampshire state law. Any cause of action under state law would also be precluded by res judicata as would the due process claim under federal law. Removal of the action to federal court incurs unnecessary expense to the defendant as the superior court would have subject matter jurisdiction over any federal due process claim and could be disposed of simultaneously with any cause of action under state law. Therefore, practitioners should resist the temptation to remove any action of law to district court and dispose of plaintiff’s entire action, including any federal due process or constitutional claims, in superior court.

 

 

 

Here’s to coffee

Coffee is a morning ritual for millions of Americans and lawyers are no exception.  In fact, many in the legal profession joke that coffee is lawyer fuel. Every year studies come out extolling the health benefits or health detriments of coffee with no apparent middle ground.  Still, whether it’s getting up in the morning and enjoying that first cup, having a cup in the afternoon as a pick-me-up, considering a client problem or just having a cup over good conversation with friends, coffee is a mainstay in American culture. Thus, as I drink my second cup of the day and contemplate the day ahead, I raise my cup to my fellow coffee drinkers whether they be in the legal profession or not.  Enjoy!