Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Before Lipez, Siler, *fn1 and Howard, Circuit Judges.

In this appeal, the United States challenges the district court’s refusal to find the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in contempt for failing to comply with court-ordered measures aimed at improving conditions in the Commonwealth’s juvenile correctional facilities. The Commonwealth asserts, among other arguments, that we do not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal because it is either moot or unripe. Indeed, the remedial order at issue was suspended in early 2010, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), because the Commonwealth’s motion to modify or terminate the order had been pending for 180 days. See 18 U.S.C. § 3626(e)(2)(A)(ii).

As a practical matter, then, the United States seeks to hold the Commonwealth in contempt for failing to abide by an order that is not presently in effect and may never be reactivated. Given the nature of civil contempt in this context as a forward-looking sanction, we can only conclude that this appeal is unripe. If we evaluated the correctness of the contempt ruling now, and the district court subsequently decided not to reinstate the remedial order, our decision would be an impermissible advisory opinion. See Ala. State Fed’n of Labor v. McAdory, 325 U.S. 450, 461 (1945) (noting the Court’s “considered practice not to decide abstract, hypothetical or contingent questions”); Chico Serv. Station, Inc. v. Sol P.R. Ltd., 633 F.3d 20, 35 (1st Cir. 2011) (“Article III ‘ensures that courts do not render advisoryopinions.’” (quoting Overseas Military Sales Corp. v. Giralt-Armada, 503 F.3d 12, 17 (1st Cir. 2007)); W.R. Grace & Co. v. EPA, 959 F.2d 360, 366 (1st Cir. 1992) (discussing ripeness and noting that, when a claim rests on contingent future events, it can “‘involve [judges] in deciding issues unnecessarily, wasting time and effort’” (quoting Roosevelt Campobello Int’l Park Comm’n v. EPA, 684 F.2d 1034, 1040 (1st Cir. 1982)). Hence, we dismiss the appeal as premature, with the expectation that the district court will act expeditiously on the pending PLRA motion.

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.

More From ALM

Premium Subscription

With this subscription you will receive unlimited access to high quality, online, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry. This is perfect for attorneys licensed in multiple jurisdictions or for attorneys that have fulfilled their CLE requirement but need to access resourceful information for their practice areas.
View Now

Team Accounts

Our Team Account subscription service is for legal teams of four or more attorneys. Each attorney is granted unlimited access to high quality, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry along with administrative access to easily manage CLE for the entire team.
View Now

Bundle Subscriptions

Gain access to some of the most knowledgeable and experienced attorneys with our 2 bundle options! Our Compliance bundles are curated by CLE Counselors and include current legal topics and challenges within the industry. Our second option allows you to build your bundle and strategically select the content that pertains to your needs. Both options are priced the same.
View Now

Global Leaders in Consulting (GLC) 2023

February 16, 2023

The Global Leaders in Consulting awards are for those who are making a big impression within the industry, but also worldwide.

Learn More

Complex Claims & Litigation Forum 2023

February 27, 2023 - March 01, 2023
Henderson, NV

Aimed to help Insurers prevent, prepare and prevail In adjudicating complex claims, negotiating settlements and winning cases.

Learn More

Women, Influence & Power in Law UK Awards 2023

March 08, 2023

Women, Influence & Power in Law UK Awards honors women lawyers who have made a remarkable difference in the legal profession.

Learn More

Litigation and Criminal Defense Attorney - Georgia

Established, small town law firm in Athens, GA has an immediate opening for an Attorney to assist with diverse caseload. Handle Litigation i...

Apply Now ›

Associate Attorney

California general practice and labor firm is looking for an associate attorney to work in its labor law division in its Fresno office. Clie...

Apply Now ›

Commercial Unit Attorney - Procurement Policy 13601

Commercial Unit Attorney - Procurement Policy 13601 Civil Service Title: Agency Attorney Level: Level 3 Division/Office: O...

Apply Now ›


DR Web

Hendrick Phillips Salzman & Siegel, PC is proud to announce J.T. Gallagher as the firm s newest partner.

View Announcement ›



O'CONNOR, PARSONS & LANE are proud to announce that R. Daniel Bause and Robert A. Ballard, III have become partners of the firm.

View Announcement ›



Pond Lehocky Giordano LLP would like to congratulate Jerry Lehocky and his team on PA's largest workers' compensation settlement.

View Announcement ›