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

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Defendant appealed her conviction of one count of embezzling funds from her company's 401(k) plan, and the forfeiture order entered against her. The court affirmed the conviction in a summary order issued contemporaneously with this opinion. At issue here was the amount of defendant's forfeiture order. The court held that mandatory criminal forfeiture amounts may not be reduced by the amount of restitution in the absence of specific statutory authorization for such an offset. Because the district court lacked the discretion to reduce defendant's forfeiture order in this case, the court affirmed as to this issue. View "United States v. Bodouva" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, who suffers from a fear of needles (trypanophobia), filed suit against Rite Aid, alleging violation of his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., after he was terminated from his position as a pharmacist because he could not comply with the company's policy that required pharmacists to administer immunization injections to customers. On appeal, Rite Aid challenged the district court's award of substantial damages to plaintiff after a jury trial. Both parties appealed the district court's post-trial order that dismissed plaintiff's failure-to-accommodate claim, granted a new trial unless plaintiff agreed to a remittitur (later accepted), substantially granted plaintiff's claims for interest, and denied defendant's motion for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) on plaintiff's wrongful discharge and retaliation claims. The court explained that because performing immunization injections was an essential job requirement and plaintiff presented no evidence of a reasonable accommodation that would have allowed him to perform immunizations at the time of his dismissal, no juror could reasonably conclude that plaintiff was "qualified to perform the essential functions of his job, with or without reasonable accommodation." Therefore, the court reversed the post-trial denial of the JMOL on plaintiff's federal and state wrongful termination and retaliation claims, affirmed the dismissal of the failure-to-accommodate claim; and remanded for entry of a revised judgment in favor of Rite Aid. View "Stevens v. Rite Aid Corp." on Justia Law

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Petitioner and the Government cross-appealed the tax court's orders relating to petitioner's underreporting of income in his 2003 tax return, principally in connection with a $2 million payment he received from Delta Currency Trading for his role in a now-defunct tax shelter scheme. While petitioner's deficiency proceeding was pending losses reported by Mercato - a partnership of which petitioner was a member - were disallowed in a partnership tax proceeding. The tax court held that it lacked jurisdiction over the added income tax deficiency because I.R.C. 6230 required the Commissioner to apply the results of the Mercato proceeding to petitioner by computational adjustment, rather than in his deficiency proceeding. The tax court also held that petitioner owed the self-employment tax and corresponding penalty. The court held that the tax court erred in concluding that it lacked jurisdiction over the additional income‐tax deficiency attributable to the $2 million Delta payment; section 6751(b)(1) requires written approval of the initial penalty determination no later than the date the IRS issues the notice of deficiency (or files an answer or amended answer) asserting such penalty; and compliance with section 6751(b) is part of the Commissioner's burden of production and proof in a deficiency case in which a penalty is asserted. Therefore, the court vacated the tax court's jurisdictional ruling; remanded to the tax court to enter a revised decision upholding the additional income-tax deficiency, because petitioner concedes that the $2 million payment was fully taxable; affirmed the portion of the tax court's order upholding the self-employment tax deficiency; and reversed the portion of the tax court's order upholding the accuracy-related penalty. View "Chai v. Commissioner" on Justia Law
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Petitioner, born in the Dominican Republic to unwed parents and admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident, sought review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's finding that petitioner was ineligible for derivative citizenship and denial of petitioner's motion to terminate removal proceedings. Petitioner argued that he became a U.S. citizen derivatively when his father was naturalized in 1980, when petitioner was eleven years old. The court agreed with the IJ and BIA that petitioner was not a "child" eligible for derivative citizenship because he was not "legitimated" within the meaning of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1432(a). In this case, the elimination of legal distinctions between children born in and out of wedlock under Dominican law did not occur before petitioner's sixteenth birthday. Furthermore, petitioner failed to identify any legal authority suggesting that New York has eliminated all legal distinctions between children based on the marital status of their parents. Accordingly, the court dismissed the petition for review. View "Gil v. Sessions" on Justia Law
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Defendant was convicted, among other crimes, of coercing and enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity. The court held that the district court did not err in denying defendant's motion to suppress incriminating statements he made to law enforcement because he was not in custody at the time he made the statements; Federal Rule of Evidence 413 does not violate the Due Process Clause; and the district court did not err by permitting the government to introduce portions of four videos that showed defendant committing prior sexual assaults on two minor girls. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Schaffer" on Justia Law
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Carrington appealed the district court's judgment requiring them to pay plaintiff, the indirect purchaser and assignee of a limited prejudgment interest in defendants' fund, damages plus prejudgment interest for breach of the limited partnership agreement. Defendants principally contend that the district court erred in its interpretation of the agreement and should have granted summary judgment in their favor on the issue of liability. Defendants argue that, in any event, permitting plaintiff to withdraw from the fund would have precipitated a sale of fund assets at distressed prices, making it impossible for plaintiff to receive more than a minuscule distribution, if any. The court rejected defendants' challenges to the district court's ruling on the issue of liability. However, the court concluded that there were factual issues to be tried as to the calculation of damages. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "Umbach v. Carrington Investment Partners (US)" on Justia Law

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Defendant plead guilty to conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine, cocaine base, heroin, and marijuana, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The court concluded that defendant's plea was not entered voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently. The court explained that, in the plea hearing, the impression was given that there was a range of sentencing options: the judge spoke of "the potential sentences"; the prosecutor gave an account of multiple maximum and minimum sentences, discussed supervised release, and warned of the forfeiture of rights (including the right to hold public office); and the court and prosecutor discussed Sentencing Guidelines ranges and judicial discretion to weigh the facts and circumstances. Furthermore, the sentencing transcript suggested that defendant's counsel may not have understood the inexorable nature of the sentence either, and defendant's assertion that he would have gone to trial if he knew that a life sentence was foreordained was rendered plausible by the arresting fact that he derived absolutely no benefit or advantage from the plea. Accordingly, the court vacated the plea, directed that the case be reassigned, and remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Johnson" on Justia Law
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Plaintiff filed suit against ZocDoc, alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C. 227. Plaintiff's suit stemmed from two unsolicited telecopies (faxes), it allegedly received from ZocDoc. ZocDoc made a settlement offer to plaintiff as to its individual claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68, but plaintiff rejected the offer. The district court subsequently granted ZocDoc's motion to dismiss the action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on the ground that its offer afforded plaintiff complete relief, thus mooting the action. The court concluded, however, that the action was not and is not moot. The court held that an unaccepted Rule 68 offer of judgment was, regardless of its terms, a legal nullity. In this case, the district court entered a judgment that should not have been entered in the first place, and ZocDoc then more than one year later deposited an amount in satisfaction of that errant judgment in an account payable to plaintiff. Therefore, the court vacated and remanded. View "Radha Geismann, M.D., P.C. v. ZocDoc" on Justia Law

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Defendants Monsalvatge, Byam, and Dunkley appealed their convictions stemming from their armed robberies of two Pay‐O‐Matic check‐cashing stores. A summary order filed simultaneously with this opinion addressed the balance of defendants' claims on appeal. At issue here was Monsalvatge's claims, which Dunkley joined, regarding whether the district court abused its discretion in admitting into evidence at trial four clips from the 2010 film, The Town. The Government argued that defendants altered their modus operandi to carry out the second robbery in a manner resembling robberies depicted in the movie. The court concluded that the district court's ruling to admit the clips was not arbitrary and irrational; the clips were relevant to the issues and defendants in the case and, importantly, they were short and narrowly tailored; and the district court provided not one but two curative instructions to minimize any potential for prejudice from the few differences between the clips and the 2012 robbery. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgments of conviction as to Monsalvatge and Byam; affirmed Counts One, Four, and Five as to Dunkley; and reversed Counts Two and Three as to Dunkley. The court remanded for resentencing as to Dunkley. View "United States v. Monsalvatge" on Justia Law
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Defendants Dey and Finazzo were involved in a conspiracy to use South Bay as a supplier of Aeropostale apparel in exchange for secret payments. Finazzo was a former merchandising executive for Aeropostale, and Dey controlled South Bay, a clothing vendor. Dey plead guilty to conspiracy, and a jury convicted Finazzo of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and to violate the Travel Act, 18 U.S.C. 371, fourteen counts of mail fraud, and one count of wire fraud. The court affirmed the district court's jury instructions regarding the "right to control" property under the mail and wire fraud statutes; concluded that there was sufficient evidence to support the challenged portions of the jury verdict; but, vacated and remanded the district court's restitution order as to Finazzo and Dey. In a simultaneously issued summary order, the court affirmed the remaining issues on appeal. View "United States v. Finazzo" on Justia Law