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Plaintiff, the Trustees of Dartmouth College, appealed a superior court order upholding the denial of its application for site plan approval by the Town of Hanover’s Planning Board for the construction of an Indoor Practice Facility (IPF). The planning board denied approval of the application upon finding that it failed to comply with three general considerations of Hanover’s site plan regulations. The superior court upheld the planning board’s decision following a hearing at which several Hanover residents owning properties abutting the proposed site intervened to defend the board’s decision (abutters). After review, the New Hampshire Supreme Court reversed and remanded because the evidence did not reasonably support the trial court’s findings. The certified record confirmed the board based its denial of Dartmouth’s application upon subjective and personal feelings and the trial court unreasonably adopted a rationale not supported by the record to affirm the board’s decision. View "Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Town of Hanover" on Justia Law

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Petitioners the New England Police Benevolent Association, Inc. (NEPBA) and the State Employees’ Association of New Hampshire, Inc., SEIU, Local 1984 (SEA), appealed a decision of the New Hampshire Public Employee Labor Relations Board (PELRB) dismissing their unfair labor practice complaints filed against respondent State of New Hampshire. After several bargaining sessions, the State rejected all wage proposals, explaining that “the Governor was not offering any wage increases . . . given anticipated increases in prescription drug costs in the healthcare market.” As a result, the Teamsters and the NHTA declared an impasse. Although no other unions declared an impasse, the State took the position that all five unions must proceed to impasse mediation. The SEA challenged the State on this position, and subsequently, petitioners each filed complaints with the PELRB. During the pendency of these complaints, the State advised all five unions that it would select a mediator and continued to assert that all of the unions must participate in impasse mediation “because the issues to be resolved affected all bargaining units.” The PELRB consolidated the petitioners’ complaints and found in a 2-1 vote that RSA 273-A:9, I, “requires all five unions to utilize the Union Committee format at the bargaining table and during impasse resolution proceedings until such time as the common terms and condition[s] of employment are settled.” The PELRB, therefore, dismissed the complaints and ordered the petitioners to coordinate with the other unions “to determine the forum in which negotiations will go forward.” Petitioners unsuccessfully moved for rehearing, and this appeal followed. Finding no reversible error in the trial court's dismissal of petitioners' complaints, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed the PELRB. View "Appeal of New England Police Benevolent Association, Inc." on Justia Law

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Defendant Owen Labrie appealed his conviction by jury on three counts of sexual assault, one count of endangering the welfare of a child, and one count of using computer services for a prohibited purpose. He challenged: (1) the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction under RSA 649-B:4, I(a); (2) the trial court’s decision not to allow certain cross-examination by the defendant of a State’s witness; and (3) the trial court’s failure to sua sponte correct statements made by the prosecutor in closing argument. Finding no reversible error, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed. View "New Hampshire v. Labrie" on Justia Law

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Petitioner Sandra Brown, DVM, appealed an October 2017 decision by the New Hampshire Board of Veterinary Medicine (Board) suspending her license to practice veterinary medicine for six months and further prohibiting her, following the six-month suspension and until December 31, 2021, from dispensing, possessing, or administering controlled substances (other than euthanasia solution) in her practice. On appeal, she argued the Board lacked subject matter jurisdiction to discipline her for violating the Controlled Drug Act because the Board was not one of the agencies statutorily authorized to enforce that act. She also argued that the Board lacked jurisdiction to subject her practice to post-hearing inspections. "Although we need not decide the full scope of the Board’s jurisdiction to discipline a veterinarian for the violation of 'all laws,'" the New Hampshire Supreme Court concluded the Board had subject matter jurisdiction to discipline petitioner for violating the Controlled Drug Act. Furthermore, the Court found documents in the certified record suggested that petitioner agreed, at the very least implicitly, to the inspections as part of a settlement agreement with the Board. Therefore, the Board had jurisdiction to subject her practice to post-hearing inspections. View "Appeal of Sandra Brown, DVM" on Justia Law

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The State of New Hampshire appealed a superior court order granting defendant Shannon Glavan's motion to suppress evidence seized from her automobile. Defendant was discovered sleeping in the driver's seat in a gas station parking lot. The station had been closed since 11:00 PM; she was discovered at 1:45 AM. The officer that found defendant sleeping shone a light into the car and saw a "loaded syringe containing a clear, reddish liquid" by her leg. The officer believed the syringe to contain narcotics. The officer asked defendant to exit the car, not to touch the syringe to avoid being stuck by the needle. The syringe later tested positive for methamphetamine. Defendant was charged with possession of a controlled substance. In granting her motion to suppress, the trial court concluded there was no recognized automobile exception to the warrant requirement under the State Constitution, and the plain view doctrine did not authorize the officer's warrantless search of defendant’s vehicle. On the facts of this case, the New Hampshire Supreme Court concluded the defendant’s automobile was stopped in transit, and the trial court erred by granting the defendant’s motion to suppress. View "New Hampshire v. Glavan" on Justia Law

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Defendant Sean Stacey appealed his convictions on one felony count and one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled drug. On appeal, he argued the Superior Court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence of the drugs he was convicted of possessing. At issue was a warrantless search and seizure; police procured a warrant five days after the seizure, which defendant argued was an unreasonable delay such that police did not have probable cause to support his arrest. Finding this argument unavailing in light of New Hampshire caselaw precedent, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed defendant's convictions. View "New Hampshire v. Stacey" on Justia Law

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Defendant Jason Wilbur was the former stepfather of the alleged victim (child) in the case. In 2007, the child disclosed she had been sexually assaulted by defendant. Defendant was subsequently indicted on charges of aggravated felonious sexual assault (AFSA), but the State nol prossed the charges in April 2009. In 2010, defendant was re-indicted on: (1) one count of AFSA alleging a single act of digital penetration; (2) one count of AFSA alleging a pattern of digital penetration; (3) one count of AFSA alleging a single act of penile penetration; and (4) one count of AFSA alleging a pattern of penile penetration. In May 2011, a jury found defendant guilty on the two counts of AFSA alleging digital penetration, and acquitted him on the two counts of penile penetration. The New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed the convictions on direct appeal. In June 2014, defendant moved for a new trial, which the trial court denied following an evidentiary hearing. This appeal followed; defendant alleged his trial counsel’s performance was constitutionally deficient in four respects: (1) failure to rebut the State’s characterization of the defendant’s statement to the police; (2) lack of preparation of the mother for her testimony; (3) introduction of evidence of a prior sexual assault committed against the child by another person without a reasonable strategy; and (4) failure to object to opinion testimony given by a child protective services (CPS) worker. Because the Supreme Court agreed with defendant with respect to claims (1) and (4), the Court found it unnecessary to examine claims (2) and (3). The matter was reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "New Hampshire v. Wilbur" on Justia Law

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The parents of O.D., B.D., and G.D. appealed a circuit court order terminating their parental rights over their children, on the ground that they failed to correct the conditions leading to a finding of neglect. They argued the circuit court violated their due process rights by terminating their parental rights without requiring the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) to file new abuse or neglect petitions against them after the court issued an ex parte order removing the children from their home during ongoing neglect proceedings and by failing to appoint counsel for them during the neglect proceedings. Finding no abuse of discretion or other reversible error, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed. View "In re O.D." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Atronix, Inc. filed suit against defendant Kenneth Morris for, among other things, breach of contract, and sued defendant Scott Electronics, Inc. for tortious interference with contractual relations. Atronix appealed a superior court’s order dismissing its action for lack of standing. Morris started working at Atronix Sales, Inc. (Old Atronix) in 1982. He was promoted several times over the course of his employment, eventually becoming program manager in the sales department. That position entailed responsibility for the largest and most important of Old Atronix’s accounts. Accordingly, in 1997, Morris was required to sign a non-compete and non-solicitation agreement (the non-compete agreement), and a non-disclosure agreement. In 2011, Old Atronix merged with Atronix, Inc. (the Company). In 2016, Morris left his job with plaintiff and was hired as a general manager by Scott, one of the Company’s competitors. The New Hampshire Supreme Court concluded the terms of Morris’ non-compete agreement was conveyed to the Company according to the terms of its asset purchase agreement, it was still pertinent to the success of the merger. The Company, therefore, had standing to enforce it against Morris. View "Atronix, Inc. v. Morris" on Justia Law

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Petitioner Lisa Censabella appealed a superior court’s dismissal of her petition for relief against Hillsborough County Attorney Dennis Hogan under the Right-to-Know Law. Petitioner argued the trial court erred in ruling that she was not a “person aggrieved” under RSA 91-A:7 (2013) and, therefore, lacked standing to pursue this action. In March 2017, petitioner, by and through her attorney, filed a petition seeking, among other things, to enjoin respondent from further violations of the Right-to-Know Law. Petitioner claimed to be a person aggrieved, under RSA 91-A:7, by respondent’s alleged violations of RSA chapter 91-A occurring between December 28, 2015 and November 29, 2016. The petition alleged Attorney Tony Soltani filed a Right-to-Know Law request on her behalf with respondent seeking information regarding another individual, but that the response to the request and to follow-up requests made by Soltani over the ensuing eleven months was late and incomplete. At no time during the exchange did Soltani reveal that petitioner was his client for the purpose of the request, nor did respondent inquire for whom the requests were being made. The first time petitioner’s name was revealed was in the petition filed in the superior court. Respondent moved to dismiss, asserting that, because petitioner was not identified directly or indirectly in any of the requests made by Soltani, she lacked standing to bring the petition. The trial court granted the motion. Respondent argued the petitioner was not a “person aggrieved” because she “never directly requested inspection of government records, nor was she ever identified as a citizen upon whose behalf a request was made.” The New Hampshire Supreme Court discerned no such requirements in the Right-to-Know Law, and reversed the superior court’s judgment. View "Censabella v. Hillsborough County Attorney" on Justia Law

Posted in: Constitutional Law