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

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This appeal requires the court to determine whether Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) has the capacity to challenge a New York State claim-revival statute as unconstitutional under the New York State Constitution. The court certified the following questions to the New York Court of Appeals: (1) Before New York State’s capacity‐to‐sue doctrine may be applied to determine whether a State‐created public benefit corporation has the capacity to challenge a State statute, must it first be determined whether the public benefit corporation “should be treated like the State,” see Clark‐Fitzpatrick, Inc. v. Long Island R.R. Co., 516 N.E.2d 190, 192 (N.Y. 1987), based on a “particularized inquiry into the nature of the instrumentality and the statute claimed to be applicable to it,” see John Grace & Co. v. State Univ. Constr. Fund, 375 N.E.2d 377, 379 (N.Y. 1978), and if so, what considerations are relevant to that inquiry?; and (2) Does the “serious injustice” standard articulated in Gallewski v. H. Hentz & Co., 93 N.E.2d 620 (N.Y1950), or the less stringent “reasonableness” standard articulated in Robinson v. Robins Dry Dock & Repair Co., 144 N.E. 579 (N.Y. 1924), govern the merits of a due process challenge under the New York State Constitution to a claim‐revival statute? View "In re: World Trade Center Lower Manhattan Disaster Site Litigation" on Justia Law
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After plaintiffs' convictions for rape and murder were vacated and they had served eighteen years in prison, plaintiff filed suit alleging, inter alia, malicious prosecution and denial of fair trial claims. Defendant, as executrix of the Estate of Joseph Volpe, appealed the district court's judgment for plaintiffs. Volpe was a homicide detective that investigated the rape and murder case. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that a new trial was warranted; the court rejected defendant's evidentiary challenges; the court rejected defendant's argument that a conflict of interest deprived Volpe of a fair trial; the district court correctly denied Volpe's request for a setoff; the court denied Volpe's motion for remittitur and concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in holding that the jury award did not shock the conscience or materially deviate from what would be reasonable compensation; and the court affirmed the district court's award of attorney fees. Because the court found no basis for reversal, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Restivo v. Hessemann" on Justia Law

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Several environmentalist organizations and state, provincial, and tribal governments filed suit challenging the EPA's Water Transfers Rule. The Rule formalized the EPA's stance to take a hands‐off approach to water transfers, choosing not to subject them to the requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program. The district court ultimately concluded that the Rule represented an unreasonable interpretation of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 1251, and was therefore invalid under the deferential two‐step framework for judicial review established in Chevron, U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. The federal government and intervenors appealed. At step one of the Chevron analysis, the court agreed with the district court that the Clean Water Act does not speak directly to the precise question of whether NPDES permits are required for water transfers, and that it is therefore necessary to proceed to Chevronʹs second step. At step two, the court concluded that the Rule's interpretation of the Clean Water Act is reasonable. The court explained that the EPAʹs promulgation of the Rule is precisely the sort of policy-making decision that the Supreme Court designed the Chevron framework to insulate from judicial second‐ (or third‐) guessing. The court stated that the Rule's interpretation of the Act is supported by valid considerations where the Act does not require that water quality be improved whatever the cost or means, and the Rule preserves state authority over many aspects of water regulation, gives regulator flexibility to balance the need to improve water quality with the potentially high costs of compliance with an NPDES permitting program, and allows for several alternative means for regulating water transfers. Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment. View "Catskill Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Inc. v. EPA (Catskill III)" on Justia Law
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TAL challenges the district court's grant of summary judgment to the Chugh Defendants. The district court held that TAL's claims for breach of fiduciary duty by Chugh had previously been determined in Chugh's favor in a prior proceeding and thus TAL was collaterally estopped from asserting them. The court concluded that Chapter 15 of the Bankruptcy Code does not apply when a court in the United States simply gives preclusive effect to factual findings from an otherwise unrelated foreign liquidation proceeding, as was done here; the district court properly applied the doctrine of collateral estoppel where the affirmative defenses in the wind-up proceeding are based in substance on the same allegations made in the Third Amended Complaint; TAL's contention that findings of fact made by the Cayman court cannot have preclusive effect in the district court proceeding are meritless; and TAL's comity argument also lacks merit. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Trikona Advisers Limited v. Chugh" on Justia Law

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CBF, appellants and award-creditors, challenged the district court's two judgments dismissing CBF's initial action to enforce and subsequent action to confirm a foreign arbitral award against appellees as alter-egos of the then defunct award-debtor. The court held that the district court erred in determining that the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and Chapter 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. 201 et seq., require appellants to seek confirmation of a foreign arbitral award before the award may be enforced by a United States District Court, and in holding that appellants’ fraud claims should be dismissed prior to discovery on the ground of issue preclusion as issue preclusion is an equitable doctrine and appellants plausibly allege that appellees engaged in fraud. In No. 15-1133, the court vacated the dismissal of the action to enforce and remanded for further proceedings. In No. 15-1146, the court found the appeal of the district court's order in the action to conform is moot and dismissed the appeal. View "CBF Industria De Gusa S/A v. AMCI Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law

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EDMC challenges the district court's holding that a series of transactions meant to restructure EDMC’s debt over the objections of certain noteholders violated Section 316(b) of the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, 15 U.S.C. 77ppp(b). The district court ordered EDMC to continue to guarantee Marblegate's notes and pay them in full. The court agreed with EDMC that EDMC complied with Section 316(b) because the transactions did not formally amend the payment terms of the indenture that governed the notes. The court concluded that Section 316(b) prohibits only non‐consensual amendments to an indenture’s core payment terms. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's judgment and remanded for further proceedings. View "Marblegate Asset Management v. Education Management Finance Corp." on Justia Law
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Plaintiff, on behalf of herself and her autistic son, filed suit under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq., against the DOE, seeking tuition reimbursement and claiming procedural and substantive violations of the IDEA. The district court affirmed the denial of relief. The court concluded that there were no procedural violations of the IDEA. However, the court concluded that plaintiff's son was denied a free and appropriate education (FAPE) because there were significant deficiencies rendering the individualized education program (IEP) inadequate. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "A.M. v. N.Y.C. Department of Education" on Justia Law
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Petitioner appealed the denial of his habeas petition filed under 28 U.S.C. 2254. The state trial court, during the trial testimony of the undercover officers involved in petitioner's arrest, closed the courtroom to the general public to protect the safety of the officers. Petitioner alleged violation of his Sixth Amendment right to a public trial. The court concluded that the New York Court of Appeals correctly held that a reviewing court may infer from the record that a trial court fulfilled its obligation to consider alternatives to closure, and that the New York Court of Appeals reasonably concluded that the government had established an overriding interest justifying closure. Because the New York Court of Appeals' decision was not contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established law or was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Moss v. Colvin" on Justia Law
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Plaintiff was arrested for speeding wildly while drunk and high, and his Ferrari was impounded. After a neutral magistrate ordered that the vehicle be retained by the County, plaintiff filed a claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that Suffolk County, in retaining his vehicle pendente lite, deprived him of due process. The district court agreed. The court concluded that, at a post‐seizure hearing to determine whether a vehicle should be returned to a title owner pendente lite pursuant to Suffolk County’s DWI Seizure Law, the Due Process Clause permits Suffolk County, after making out a prima facia case that retention is necessary to protect the County’s interests in the financial value of the vehicle and/or in protecting the public from continued unsafe and illegal driving, to shift the burden of going forward to the title owner to identify an alternative measure that would satisfy the County’s interests. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment to plaintiff and remanded with instructions to enter judgment in favor of the County. View "Ferrari v. County of Suffolk" on Justia Law

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Buffalo Transportation seeks review of a final order of the OCAHO finding that it had committed substantive violations of Section 274A(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1324a(b). The OCAHO also affirmed the imposition of fines by ICE. The court agreed with the ALJ's finding that Buffalo Transportation had not timely complied with the requirements of 8 U.S.C. 1324a(b) and related regulations that require employers to verify that an employee is legally authorized to work in the United States through executing a Form I‐9 for each employee within three business days of hire. The court also agreed with the adjustments of ICE's original fine amounts. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Buffalo Transportation Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law
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