Torres-arroyo v. Rullán, No. 03-2722. In a political discrimination case, which resulted in a finding of the plaintiff was discriminated against, but awarded no damages, the first finds that “the plaintiffs have waived virtually all of their claims of error and that their only properly preserved claim lacks merit.” These were doctors at the jail. The waived claims are worthy of note, however. For humorous value. There are a lot of big words used in the opinion.
The jury was asked to make “special” findings, but the plaintiffs say that they are inconsistant. In a civil case, a motion for a new trial must be filed in the district court within ten days after the entry of judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(b). That time period is mandatory. Feinstein v. Moses, 951 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1991). The plaintiffs in this case did not file a new trial motion within that window of opportunity. That omission dooms their "inconsistent verdict" claim. But, plaintiffs then tried to say that the notice of appeal was a motion for a new trial (in the notice was some reference to a “new trial.”) No go. Nor does the amended motion for a new trial – filed 17 months after the judgment entered.
The plaintiffs also had a due process claim, which was dismissed, and their“appellate brief thunders that this ruling should be reversed.” But, it seems they don’t actually explain what their argument is. And, the court slams the lawyers by saying, “Their appellate brief thunders that this ruling should be reversed — but that remonstrance, twice repeated, is unaccompanied by any vestige of developed argumentation. Gauzy generalizations are manifestly insufficient to preserve an issue for appellate review.” (Of course, judges often indulge in generalizations.)
A preserved claim regarding the relevance of certain documents is rejected on the merits. Ironically, these documents were relevant to liability, and not damages, so the plaintiffs (who won) shouldn’t be complainig.