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

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Defendants Natal and Morales appealed their sentences and convictions for crimes including arson resulting in death, accessory after the fact to arson, and destruction and concealment of evidence. The court held that testimony on how cell phone towers operate constitutes expert testimony and may not be introduced through a lay witness; the admission in the instant case of lay opinion testimony on the operation of cell phone towers was harmless; the court held that Morales's conviction for destruction and concealment of evidence must be vacated in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Yates v. United States, handed down shortly after Morales filed the instant appeal; the court remanded Morales's case to the district court to vacate Morales's conviction for destruction and concealment of evidence, and, pursuant to United States v. Powers, to conduct de novo resentencing of Morales; and, as part of the district court's calculation of Morales's Guidelines range at the resentencing, Morales's three counts of conviction for accessory after the fact should be grouped pursuant to USSG 3D1.2. The court rejected defendants' other claims. Accordingly, the court upheld all counts of conviction except Morales's conviction for destruction and concealment of evidence, and remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Natal" on Justia Law
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Plaintiffs, 20 state pretrial detainees, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the City and the supervisory officers of a pre-arraignment holding facility were deliberately indifferent to allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement at the holding facility. The district court granted summary judgment for defendants, denied plaintiffs' motion to reconsider; and denied a subsequent motion to reconsider the denial of the motion for reconsideration. The court affirmed the district court's judgment as to claims plaintiffs concede were properly dismissed. However, the court concluded that the district court misapplied this court's precedents in assessing whether plaintiffs had established an objectively serious deprivation. In Willey v. Kirkpatrick, the court recently reiterated that the proper lens through which to analyze allegedly unconstitutional unsanitary conditions of confinement is with reference to their severity and duration, not the detainee's resulting injury. Furthermore, the Supreme Court's decision in Kingsley v. Hendrickson dictates that deliberate indifference be measured objectively in due process cases. In this case, the district court did not analyze the implications of Kingsley in its opinion. Therefore, the court vacated in part and remanded for further proceedings. View "Darnell v. City of New York" on Justia Law

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After the district court granted habeas relief to petitioner based on his Batson v. Kentucky challenge, respondent appealed. The district court held that the New York State Appellate Division, First Department, had unreasonably applied Batson and its progeny when it affirmed the state trial court's finding that petitioner failed to make a prima facie case showing that the prosecution used its peremptory challenges in a discriminatory manner. The court held that the district court incorrectly applied the standard for evaluating a state court's rulings set forth in the Anti‐Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), 28 U.S.C. 2254(d); the Appellate Division's order affirming the trial court's denial of petitioner's Batson challenge was not an unreasonable application of clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; and thus the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "Carmichael v. Chappius" on Justia Law

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Sirius appealed the district court's order denying its motions for summary judgment and reconsideration in regard to Flo & Eddie's copyright infringement suit. The court certified a significant and unresolved issue of New York law that is determinative of this appeal: Is there a right of public performance for creators of pre-1972 sound recordings under New York law and, if so, what is the nature and scope of that right? The New York Court of Appeals answered that New York common law does not recognize a right of public performance for creators of pre-1972 sound recordings. In light of this ruling, the court reversed the district court's denial of summary judgment and remanded with instructions to grant Sirius's motion for summary judgment and to dismiss the case with prejudice. View "Flo & Eddie v. Sirius XM Radio" on Justia Law
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Defendants Barret, Mitchell, and Scarlett were convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute in excess of 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. The court joined its sister circuits in finding that the testimony of a former co‐defendant who pleads guilty during trial and then agrees to testify as a government witness at that same trial is admissible so long as the district court takes steps to avoid undue prejudice to the remaining defendants. The court explained that these steps include limiting testimony to events other than the witness's involvement in joint defense planning and properly instructing the jury regarding the changed circumstances. In this case, the court held that the evidence adduced at trial was sufficient to permit the jury to conclude that Mitchell knowingly joined a conspiracy to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, and that such an amount was reasonably foreseeable to him. Defendants' remaining arguments are addressed in a summary order issued simultaneously with this opinion. The court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Barret" on Justia Law
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Plaintiff filed suit under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq., against his employer, MCU, after he was denied leave to take care of his seriously ill grandfather who, in loco parentis, had raised him as a child. The district court granted MCU's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. The district court reasoned that, although the FMLA provides that an eligible employee may be entitled to take leave in order to care for a person with whom he had an in loco parentis relationship as a child, plaintiff had informed MCU merely that he needed to take care of his grandfather without informing MCU of the in loco parentis relationship. The court concluded that the district court erred in granting summary judgment to MCU on the basis that plaintiff had failed to provide the necessary information, given MCU's denial of plaintiff's request without requesting additional information; vacated the judgment and remanded for further proceedings; rejected MCU's contention that the district court's dismissal of the complaint can be upheld on other grounds; and rejected plaintiff's request that the court order the grant of partial summary judgment on the issue of liability in his favor. View "Coutard v. Municipal Credit Union" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a class action alleging that Takeda prevented competitors from timely marketing a generic version of Takeda’s diabetes drug ACTOS by falsely describing two patents to the FDA. Plaintiffs claimed that these false patent descriptions channeled Takeda’s competitors into a generic drug approval process that granted the first-filing applicants a 180-day exclusivity period, which in turn acted as a 180-day "bottleneck" to all later-filing applicants. 9 out of 10 generic applicants took that route. Teva was prevented from seeking approval via another regulatory mechanism when the FDA announced that all generic manufacturers would be required to take the bottlenecked route. Plaintiffs alleged that they were wrongfully obligated to pay monopoly prices for ACTOS when Takeda's patent on the active ingredient in ACTOS expired when the mass of generic market entry occurred. The district court dismissed plaintiffs' antitrust claims. The court affirmed to the extent that plaintiffs' theory posits a delay in the marketing of generic alternatives to ACTOS by all the generic applicants other than Teva, because plaintiffs' theory presupposes that these applicants were aware of Takeda’s allegedly false patent descriptions when they filed their applications, which is not supported by well-pleaded allegations. However, the court concluded that plaintiffs' theory as to Teva does not require any knowledge of the false patent descriptions. Therefore, the court reached other issues as to Teva and found plaintiffs plausibly alleged that Takeda delayed Teva's market entry. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "In re ACTOS End-Payor Antitrust Litigation" on Justia Law

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Physicians filed suit against Boehringer, a pharmaceutical company, alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, as amended by the Junk Fax Protection Act of 2005 (TCPA), 47 U.S.C. 227. Specifically, Physicians alleged that Boehringer sent an unsolicited advertisement in violation of the TCPA - a fax invitation for a free dinner meeting to discuss ailments relating to Physicians' business. The district court dismissed for failure to state a claim, holding that no facts were pled that plausibly showed that the fax had a commercial purpose. The court held that, while a fax must have a commercial purpose to be an "unsolicited advertisement," the district court improperly dismissed Physicians' complaint where Physicians' allegation is sufficient to state a claim. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "Physicians Healthsource v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals" on Justia Law
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Plaintiff filed suit against MTBank, alleging violations of various state and federal statues by not allowing her to work remotely when she became pregnant. The magistrate judge ruled as a matter of law against plaintiff on a number of claims and the jury found for MTBank on the remaining claims. The court held that the district court abused its discretion in admitting evidence of the reinstatement offer because the offer was, as a matter of law, not unconditional; the district court erred in sua sponte disqualifying the attorneys for both parties, because the disqualification depended on the erroneous admission of evidence relating to the reinstatement offer; the jury instructions were not erroneous; and the court lacked jurisdiction over plaintiff's challenge to the district court's New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), N.Y. Exec. Law 290 et seq., ruling. Accordingly, the court vacated in part in regard to the jury's verdict and the disqualification order, dismissed in part in regard to claims under the NYSHRL, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Jia Sheng v. MTBank Corp." on Justia Law

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After defendant pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, the district court sentenced him to 210 months in prison. Defendant moved for a sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(2), arguing that Amendments 782 and 788 of the Sentencing Guidelines lowered his applicable Guidelines range. The district court denied the motion because a 2011 Amendment to U.S.S.G. 1B1.10(b) prohibited a sentence reduction where the defendant’s initial sentence was below the minimum of the amended Guidelines range. The court affirmed the judgment and held that Amendment 759’s application prohibiting defendant from taking advantage of Amendment 782 does not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause. View "United States v. Ramirez" on Justia Law
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