Justia U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

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A nolle prosequi constitutes a "favorable termination" for the purpose of determining when a 42 U.S.C. 1983 claim accrues. In this case, plaintiff filed suit against defendant, a police officer, under section 1983, alleging malicious prosecution in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The district court held that plaintiff's malicious prosecution claim accrued when the nolle prosequi was entered, and that as a result his suit was time‐ barred. The Second Circuit affirmed, holding that plaintiff's claim accrued when the charges against him were nolled. View "Spak v. Phillips" on Justia Law

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In this disability discrimination case, the Second Circuit certified the following question to the New York Court of Appeals: Do sections 8‐102(16)(c) and 8‐107(1)(a) of the New York City Administrative Code preclude a plaintiff from bringing a disability discrimination claim based solely on a perception of untreated alcoholism? View "Makinen v. City of New York" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, convicted of murder and related-offenses, sought review of the district court's denial of habeas relief, arguing that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to call a medical expert both to interpret the portion of his medical records documenting his blood alcohol level and to expound upon the effects of that level of intoxication. The Second Circuit vacated and remanded, holding that the state trial court's determination that petitioner failed to establish prejudice was not unreasonable; it was not so lacking in justification as to be beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement; and thus the district court erred in second-guess that determination and substituting its own judgment. View "Waiters v. Lee" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Aetna and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, seeking reimbursement from Aetna for performing two knee surgeries on a patient who was a member of an Aetna-administered health care plan that was governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq. The Second Circuit held that ERISA does not completely preempt an "out-of-network" health care provider's promissory-estoppel claim against a health insurer where the provider did not receive a valid assignment for payment under a health insurance plan and received an independent promise from the insurer that he would be paid for certain medical services provided to the insured. Accordingly, the court vacated the denial of plaintiff's motion to remand and the dismissal of his complaint. The Second Circuit remanded to the district court with instructions to remand to state court. View "McCulloch Orthopaedic Surgical Services v. Aetna" on Justia Law
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At issue in this appeal was whether defendant should have been acquitted of transporting an alien within the United States for profit in violation of 8 U.S.C. 1324(a)(1)(A)(ii) and 1324(a)(1)(B)(i). The Second Circuit reversed the conviction, holding that the evidence was insufficient to prove that defendant transported an alien "in furtherance of" the alien's illegal stay in the United States, as required by section 1324(a)(1)(A)(ii) and by the district court's jury instructions. Although the Government did present evidence that defendant drove the alien to Pennsylvania Station in order to facilitate the alien's entry into Canada using a fraudulent passport, such a showing alone cannot establish a direct and substantial relationship between the transportation and an act in furtherance of the alien's unlawful presence in the United States. The Second Circuit remanded with instructions to dismiss the count and for de novo sentencing. View "United States v. Khalil" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit reversed and remanded the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's lemon law suit based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff filed suit under the Magnuson‐Moss Warranty—Federal Trade Commission Act (MMWA), 15 U.S.C. 2301 et seq., and New York State law, contending that the "certified pre-owned" BMW she purchased from defendant was incurably defective. The Second Circuit held that the value of plaintiff's MMWA claims, as pled, exceeded the $50,000 minimum amount in controversy requirement. In this case, although plaintiff could neither add punitive damages under the MMWA nor rely on the value of her state law claims to meet the jurisdictional threshold, plaintiff's rescission claim supplied a sufficient basis for subject matter jurisdiction. View "Pyskaty v. Wide World of Cars, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit held that it lacked jurisdiction to hear defendant's appeal of the denial of his Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29 and double jeopardy motions. Defendant has not stated a colorable double jeopardy claim that may be appealed before final judgment, as no event has occurred to terminate his original jeopardy from his first trial. The Second Circuit has previously held that the denial of a Rule 29 motion does not fall within the scope of the collateral order doctrine and may not be appealed prior to a final judgment. Accordingly, the appeals were dismissed based on lack of appellate jurisdiction and all pending motions were dismissed as moot. View "United States v. Serrano" on Justia Law
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The Second Circuit affirmed Defendants Lyle and Van Praagh's conviction and sentence for drug trafficking charges. The Second Circuit held that the district court did not err in denying Lyle's motion to suppress where he had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the rental car that he was driving without a license and without authority; Lyle's statement in his opening argument triggered the waiver of his proffer agreement, and the proffer statements rebutted his counsel's argument that he was a mere user of methamphetamine and not a dealer; the admission of Lyleʹs redacted proffer and post‐arrest statements in defendantsʹ joint trial was not plainly erroneous; the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the evidence seized during Lyleʹs New Jersey arrest; the district court did not plainly err in failing to sua sponte give a buyer‐seller instruction to the jury; and Van Praaghʹs below‐Guidelines sentence of 144 monthsʹ imprisonment was substantively reasonable. View "United States v. Lyle" on Justia Law
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After Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, thousands of its employees were holding restricted stock units (RSUs) that had been awarded over the preceding five years, but that had not yet vested and had thus been rendered worthless by the bankruptcy filing. The employees filed proofs of claim in the Chapter 11 proceeding and Lehman Brothers filed omnibus objections to the claims. The Second Circuit noted that it need not determine whether an RSU is an "equity security" under 11 U.S.C. 101(16), because, even if it is, RSU holders are not barred from asserting proofs of claim—such as the breach‐of‐contract claims asserted here—inasmuch as at least some of their claims are not duplicative of proofs of interest. However, the Second Circuit affirmed and concluded that Lehman Brothers' omnibus objections must nonetheless be sustained on the alternative ground that, pursuant to section 510(b) of the Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C. 510(b), the claims must be subordinated to the claims of general creditors because, for purposes of this statute, (1) RSUs are securities, (2) the claimants acquired them in a purchase, and (3) the claims for damages arise from those purchases or the asserted rescissions thereof. View "In re: Lehman Bros." on Justia Law
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F5, a Cayman Islands corporation that invests in international shipping companies, filed a shareholder derivative action on behalf of Star Bulk, a global shipping company, alleging that individual members of Star Bulk's board and affiliated entities improperly exploited their control over the corporation in executing three separate transactions. F5's complaint included four causes of action, three of which were derivative and one of which purported to be a direct class-action claim for wrongful equity dilution. In this case, F5 did not seek intracorporate remedies by making a pre-suit demand on Star Bulk's board of directors. The district court dismissed the complaint, concluding that the dilution claim was properly derivative under Delaware law and that F5 failed to plead demand futility under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.1(b)(3)(B), as to any of the claims. The court affirmed, concluding that F5's dilution claim was properly derivative, not direct; the district court had subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate the non-class, derivative claims; and F5 did not allege facts sufficient to excuse it from making a pre-suit demand. View "F5 Capital v. Pappas" on Justia Law
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