Cutrone v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.

Plaintiffs filed a putative class action against MERS in state court asserting claims related to MERS's facilitation of the provision of "Esign" mortgages to consumer-borrowers. MERS appealed the district court's grant of a motion to remand to New York state court on the ground that MERS's notice of removal was untimely. The court reversed and held that, in Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) cases, the 30-day removal periods of 28 U.S.C. 1446(b)(1) and (b)(3) are not triggered until the plaintiff serves the defendant with an initial pleading or other paper that explicitly specifies the amount of monetary damages sought or sets forth facts from which an amount in controversy in excess of $5,000,000 can be ascertained. The court also held that where a plaintiff's papers failed to trigger the removal clocks of sections 1446(b)(1) and (b)(3), a defendant may remove a case when, upon its own independent investigation, it determines that the case is removable. Therefore, the 30-day removal periods of sections 1446(b)(1) and (b)(3) are not the exclusive authorizations for removal in CAFA cases. In this instance, plaintiffs never served MERS with a complaint or subsequent document explicitly stating the amount in controversy or providing MERS with sufficient information to conclude the threshold amount in controversy was satisfied. Therefore, the removal clocks of section 1446(b)(1) and (b)(3) did not commence. After MERS determined upon its independent investigation that section 1332(d) conveyed CAFA federal jurisdiction because the amount in controversy, number of plaintiffs, and minimal diversity requirements were satisfied, it properly removed the case by alleging facts adequate to establish the amount in controversy in its notice of removal. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "Cutrone v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc." on Justia Law

United States v. Allen

Defendant plead guilty to charges of transporting, receiving, and possessing child pornography. On appeal, defendant challenged the district court's determination that his prior state court conviction for Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree in violation of N.Y. Penal Law 130.60(2) subjected him to increased penalties under 18 U.S.C. 2252A(b)(1) and (b)(2) because it constituted a prior conviction under a state law "relating to aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, or abusive sexual conduct involving a minor or ward." Applying the categorical approach, the court had little trouble concluding that defendant's prior conviction subjected him to enhanced sentencing. The court carefully considered defendant's remaining arguments and found them to be without merit. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "United States v. Allen" on Justia Law

Krys v. Pigott

Plaintiffs, Joint Official Liquidators of the SPhinX Funds, filed suit against defendants, alleging that defendants aided and abetted fraud and breached their fiduciary duty to Refco, the brokerage and financial services firm that entered bankruptcy in 2005, and whose demise led to the bankruptcies of SPhinX and its investment manager, PlusFunds. The court concluded that the claims against defendants were properly dismissed for failure of the Amended Complaint to contain sufficient allegations that defendants had actual knowledge of Refco's fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. The district court did not abuse its discretion by dismissing the claims without leave to amend where amendment could not cure the absence of factual allegations as to actual knowledge on the part of defendants sufficient to state a claim against them for aiding and abetting Refco's fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court and denied the request for leave to amend the Amended Complaint. View "Krys v. Pigott" on Justia Law

Tze Wung Consultants, Ltd. v. Bank of Baroda

Tze Wung and related appellants moved the bankruptcy court to eliminate or suspend discharge under the bankruptcy plan of a judgment by Trendi Sportswear against debtor, Indu Craft. The bankruptcy court denied the motions and subsequently denied appellants' motions for reconsideration. Appellants then appealed to the district court, which affirmed the bankruptcy court's orders. Tze Wung later appealed the district court's denial of its motion to reconsider under Rule 59(e) after the district court entered its judgment and past the 30-day time limit that was prescribed by Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(1)(A) and incorporated into bankruptcy appeals through Rule 6(b)(1). Bank of Baroda moved to consolidate the three separate appeals, but Bank of Baroda made no mention of the fact that Tze Wung's appeal was untimely. The court concluded that Rule 6(b)(1) is a nonjurisdictional rule. Where an opposing party fails to object to an untimely appeal to a court of appeals from a bankruptcy appellate panel or district court exercising appellate jurisdiction, the opposing party forfeits the objection, and the court has jurisdiction over the untimely appeal. Because Bank of Baroda waived its objection to Tze Wung's untimely appeal by failing to make such an objection, the court acted within its jurisdiction in allowing Tze Wung's appeal to proceed along with that of the other appellants in this matter. View "Tze Wung Consultants, Ltd. v. Bank of Baroda" on Justia Law

United States v. Crandall

Defendant appealed his conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, arguing that his due process rights were violated because a hearing impairment allegedly prevented him from exercising his Sixth Amendment rights to, inter alia, be present, assist in his defense, and confront witnesses against him. The court held that the Sixth Amendment requires reasonable accommodations for hearing-impaired criminal defendants during judicial proceedings and that such accommodations must be commensurate with the severity of the hearing impairment. Where a criminal defendant does not notify the district court of the impairment, however, he was only entitled to accommodations commensurate with the degree of difficulty that was, or reasonably should have been, clear or obvious to the district court. In this case, the court held that defendant received accommodations commensurate with the degree of difficulty that was, or reasonably should have been, clear or obvious to the district court. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "United States v. Crandall" on Justia Law

United States v. Miles

Defendant appealed his conviction and sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm following a bench trial on stipulated facts. Defendant was sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of fifteen years under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e). The court concluded that the district court did not clearly err by denying the defense of entrapment by estoppel where a defendant charged with violating a federal crime must show reliance on the advice or authority of federal officials or agents to invoke the defense. In this instance, defendant argued that his federal prosecution was precluded by representations made to him in connection with state and local government programs offering "cash for guns." The court concluded that the district court correctly held that on the facts averred by defendant he would be unable to assert an "innocent possession" defense; there was probable cause to arrest and frisk defendant; defendant's state conviction for robbery in the third degree qualified as a violent felony under the ACCA; and defendant's remaining arguments were without merit. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "United States v. Miles" on Justia Law

Schoenefeld v. State of New York, et al.

Defendants appealed the district court's grant of plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment and declaring New York Judiciary Law 470 unconstitutional as violative of the Privileges and Immunities Clause. The court reserved decision and certified a controlling question of state law to the New York Court of Appeals: Under New York Judiciary Law 470, which mandates that a nonresident attorney maintain an "office for the transaction of law business" within the state of New York, what are the minimum requirements necessary to satisfy that mandate? View "Schoenefeld v. State of New York, et al." on Justia Law

Widomski v. Orange County Community College

Plaintiff filed suit against OCCC, alleging claims of discrimination on the basis of a "perceived disability" and retaliation in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq. The district court concluded that plaintiff, who was enrolled in OCCC's medical Laboratory Technology program, failed to establish that OCCC perceived his shaking hands to substantially limit a major life activity, and granted the motion for summary judgment in favor of OCCC as to the ADA discrimination claim. The district court also granted summary judgment in favor of OCCC on the retaliation claim because plaintiff had not presented any evidence that OCCC's good faith belief that plaintiff had falsified documents was a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the disciplinary referral. The court concluded that plaintiff failed to demonstrate that OCCC perceived him as having an impairment that substantially limited a major life activity; plaintiff failed to demonstrate that OCCC's explanation for its decision to bring disciplinary proceedings against him was pretext for retaliation; and plaintiff's remaining arguments were without merit. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Widomski v. Orange County Community College" on Justia Law

Wadsworth v. Allied Professionals Ins.

Plaintiff filed suit against APIC, a nondomiciliary risk retention group, under New York's direct action statute, N.Y. Ins. Law 3420, to recover an unsatisfied state court judgment that had been entered against APIC's insured. The insured was a chiropractor that plaintiff had sought treatment from and who had pled guilty to third-degree assault for his inappropriate touching of plaintiff. At issue was whether the Liability Risk Retention Act of 1986, 15 U.S.C. 3901 et seq., preempted the application of section 3420(a)(2) to APIC, which was domiciled in Arizona, but issued insurance policies in New York. The court held that any construction of New York law that would impose section 3420's direct action requirements on foreign risk retention groups was preempted by section 3902(a)(1) of the LRRA. View "Wadsworth v. Allied Professionals Ins." on Justia Law

Psihoyos v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Plaintiff filed suit against publisher Wiley under the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq., based on Wiley's publication of textbooks containing eight of plaintiff's photographs. The district court concluded that the applicable three-year statute of limitations barred none of plaintiff's infringement claims because plaintiff, exercising reasonable diligence, did not discover the infringements until fewer than three years prior to bringing the suit. Nonetheless, the district court granted Wiley's motion for summary judgment as to several of the infringement claims on the ground that plaintiff had failed to register the relevant photographs with the Copyright Office prior to instituting suit pursuant to section 411(a). The court held that copyright infringement claims did not accrue until actual or constructive discovery of the relevant infringement and that the Act's statute of limitations did not bar any of plaintiff's infringement claims; the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment dismissing plaintiff's claims relating to the Narcoleptic Dog and Dinamation photos where the district court acted within its discretion to partially deny plaintiff leave to amend his complaint; the court discerned no error in the district court's denial of Wiley's motion for remittitur or a new trial; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to alter the jury's award of statutory damages. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Psihoyos v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc." on Justia Law