Stampf v. Trigg

Plaintiff filed suit against her coworker and her employer, LIRR, and others asserting violations of the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) and 42 U.S.C. 1983; state law claims of false arrest, malicious prosecution, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress; and violations of state and city human rights laws. On appeal, the coworker challenged the district court's award of damages to plaintiff on her claim of malicious prosecution. The incident leading up to the suit concerned the coworker's accusation that plaintiff touched her breast in the workplace parking lot. The court affirmed the district court's denial of the coworker's motions for judgment as a matter of law and for a new trial on liability. The court concluded, however, that the jury's award of damages exceeded limits reasonably allowable in the district court's discretion. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's denial of the coworker's motion seeking a new trial on damages unless plaintiff accepted remittitur reducing the amount of the judgment. View "Stampf v. Trigg" on Justia Law

Mirabilio v. Regional School District 16

Plaintiff, a tenured culinary arts teacher, filed suit against the school board, alleging that the school board violated her due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment and Connecticut General Statute 10-151 when it failed to provide notice and a hearing before reducing her full-time position to half-time. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of her claim, concluding that plaintiff was not entitled to notice or a hearing where the reduction in hours and salary did not constitute a "termination" under Connecticut law. View "Mirabilio v. Regional School District 16" on Justia Law

Merck Eprova AG v. Gnosis S.P.A.

Gnosis appealed the district court's entry of judgment in favor of Merck on its Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a), false advertising and contributory false advertising claims; award to Merck of damages, attorneys' fees and costs, and prejudgment interest; and order that Gnosis engage in a corrective advertising campaign. Merck had filed suit against Gnosis, claiming misleading advertising in connection with its use of the pure Isomer Product chemical name and properties in its marketing materials for Extrafolate. At issue on appeal was the court's false advertising jurisprudence. The court concluded that where, as here, the parties operate in the context of a two-player market and literal falsity and deliberate deception have been proved, it is appropriate to utilize legal presumptions of consumer confusion and injury for the purposes of finding liability in a false advertising case brought under the Lanham Act; in a case where willful deception is proved, a presumption of injury may be used to award a plaintiff damages in the form of defendant's profits, and may, in circumstances such as those presented here, warrant enhanced damages; and, therefore, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Merck Eprova AG v. Gnosis S.P.A." on Justia Law

American Atheists, Inc. v. Port Authority of N.Y. & N.J.

Plaintiffs filed suit challenging the display of "The Cross at Ground Zero," a column and cross-beam from one of the Twin Towers, at the National September 11 Museum as violating the Establishment and Equal Protection Clauses, as well as parallel provisions of state law. The court concluded that displaying The Cross in the Museum does not violate the Establishment Clause because the stated purpose of displaying The Cross to tell the story of how some people used faith to cope with the tragedy is genuine, and an objective observer would understand the purpose of the display to be secular; an objective observer would not view the display as endorsing religion generally, or Christianity specifically, because it is part of an exhibit entitled "Finding Meaning at Ground Zero"; the exhibit includes various nonreligious as well as religious artifacts; and there is no evidence that the static display of this genuine historic artifact excessively entangles the government with religion. Because the Museum did not deny equal protection by displaying The Cross and refusing plaintiffs' request to fund an accompanying symbol commemorating atheists, the court affirmed the district court's award of summary judgment in favor of defendants. View "American Atheists, Inc. v. Port Authority of N.Y. & N.J." on Justia Law

Reyes v. NYC Dept. of Educ.

Plaintiff enrolled her son at a private school after she decided that the individualized education program (IEP) proposed by the DOE for the 2010-2011 school year failed to provide her son with a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq. Plaintiff filed suit seeking tuition reimbursement, the IHO granted her relief, but the SRO reversed the decision, and the district court affirmed. The court deferred to the IHO's well-reasoned determination that the son required the services of a 1:1 paraprofessional for longer than the transitional three-month period afforded him by his IEP. Because the DOE failed to offer him a FAPE, the court reversed and remanded to the district court to consider the appropriateness of plaintiff's private placement and the balance of the equities. View "Reyes v. NYC Dept. of Educ." on Justia Law

Kirkland v. Cablevision Systems

Plaintiff filed suit against his former employer, Cablevision, alleging claims of race discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the district court's grant of summary judgment for Cablevision on both claims and the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's pendant state law claims. The court concluded that the district court overlooked evidence raising a genuine factual dispute as to whether Cablevision's justifications for firing plaintiff were a pretext for race discrimination and retaliation, and a rational jury could find that Cablevision discriminated against plaintiff and fired him in violation of Title VII. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for trial. View "Kirkland v. Cablevision Systems" on Justia Law

Berger & Assocs. Attorneys, P.C. v. Kran

Bradley Ian Berger and his law firm filed suit against debtor and his law partner in state court for outstanding fees owed to plaintiffs under a referral agreement between the parties. Berger had difficulty proving the amount of fees owed because debtor's partnership failed to file certain documents with the State. The failure led to discovery sanctions and the parties eventually settled. Berger subsequently filed an adversary proceeding against debtor in the bankruptcy court, arguing that 11 U.S.C. 727(a)(3) prevented debtor from obtaining bankruptcy relief. The court concluded that Berger failed to show that the facts of this case fell within the scope of section 727(a)(3) and the court rejected Berger's contention that the court's ruling permits debtor to evade his "legal and ethical duties" where debtor had already been sanctioned by the state court for failure to keep legally required documents. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's affirmance of the bankruptcy court's grant of debtor's motion for summary judgment. View "Berger & Assocs. Attorneys, P.C. v. Kran" on Justia Law

United States v. Vazquez-Alvarez

Claimant appealed from the district court's order of forfeiture seizing roughly $750,000 in cash, arguing that the district court erred in granting the government's motion for a default judgment against the res without first considering his motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. The court affirmed the district court's judgment of forfeiture because claimant failed to establishing standing to challenge the forfeiture. View "United States v. Vazquez-Alvarez" on Justia Law

NRDC v. US FDA

Plaintiffs contend that the FDA is required by 21 U.S.C. 360b(e)(1) to proceed with hearings to determine whether to withdraw approval for the use of penicillin and tetracyclines in animal feed, and that the FDA's denial of two citizen petitions demanding such hearings was arbitrary or capricious within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 706(2). Based on the court's survey of the text, the context, the regulations, and the background legal principles, the court concluded that Congress has not required the FDA to hold hearings whenever FDA officials have scientific concerns about the safety of animal drug usage, that the FDA retains the discretion to institute or terminate proceedings to withdraw approval of animal drugs by issuing or withdrawing notices of opportunity for hearing (NOOHs), and that the statutory mandate contained in section 360b(e)(1) applies to limit the FDA's remedial discretion by requiring withdrawal of approval of animal drugs or particular uses of such drugs only when the FDA has made a final determination, after notice and hearing, that the drug could pose a threat to human health and safety. The court also concluded that it is not arbitrary or capricious for the FDA to pursue policies intended to reduce the use of animal feed containing antibiotics through a variety of steps short of withdrawing approval for the use of antibiotics in feed via a protracted administrative process and likely litigation. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's judgment to the contrary and remanded for further proceedings. View "NRDC v. US FDA" on Justia Law

Moll v. Telesector Resources Group, Inc.

Plaintiff filed suit against Verizon, alleging that the company discriminated against her, subjected her to a sexually hostile work environment, retaliated against her, and paid her less than her male colleagues for equal work. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the district court's grant in part of Verizon's motion to dismiss and motion for summary judgment, and denial of plaintiff's motion to compel production of documents. The court concluded that the district court erred when it refused to consider all allegations in the complaint in their totality, including those that were not sexually offensive in nature; the district court abused its discretion when it denied plaintiff's motion to compel documents related to Verizon's Reduction in Force events; and the district court erred when it refused to consider a witness's statements in an affidavit that contradicted prior deposition testimony. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's judgment and remanded for further proceedings. View "Moll v. Telesector Resources Group, Inc." on Justia Law