Holt v. Town of Stonington

Plaintiff filed suit seeking equitable relief to prevent the Town from denying her the ability to build on a lot that she owns in the Town. The district court granted plaintiff an injunction following a bench trial. The Town appealed, arguing that plaintiff did not avail herself to state law proceedings to seek relief concerning her property's zoning status before she filed her municipal estoppel claim in federal court. The court concluded that plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies as required by state law and, therefore, the district court lacked jurisdiction over the case. The court vacated and remanded with instructions to dismiss the complaint. View "Holt v. Town of Stonington" on Justia Law

United States v. Komasa

Defendants appealed from their convictions on multiple counts of mail, wire, and bank fraud, as well as conspiracy. Defendants' convictions stemmed from a mortgage fraud scheme in which defendants purchased and refinanced various residential properties. At issue in this appeal was their challenge to the district court's decision to admit the loan files at issue as self-authenticating under Federal Rule of Evidence 902(11). The court concluded that the district court did not clearly err in excusing the government's lack of written notice because defendants had actual notice of the government's intention to admit the records as self-authenticating. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Komasa" on Justia Law

United States v. Zayac

Defendant appealed his conviction for several counts arising from his involvement in the kidnapping, robbery, and murder of a drug dealer. The court concluded that the evidence was sufficient to convict defendant of the charges; the court rejected defendant's claims of evidentiary errors; and defendant was not entitled to a jury instruction on the affirmative defense of duress with respect to the kidnapping and robbery charges. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "United States v. Zayac" on Justia Law

Boyd v. J.E. Robert Co., Inc.

Plaintiffs filed a putative class action against defendants alleging that defendants violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692 et seq., and New York statutory and common law. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants obtained unauthorized attorneys' fees and costs in connection with actions to foreclose liens on plaintiffs' properties arising out of unpaid municipal property taxes and water and sewer charges. The court held that liens for mandatory water and sewer charges imposed by New York City as an incident to property ownership, which are treated as akin to property tax liens, are not subject to the FDCPA because they do not involve a "debt" as that term is defined in the statute. The court also held that the district court properly declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Boyd v. J.E. Robert Co., Inc." on Justia Law

In Re: World Trade Center

Mishkin appealed the district court's order denying an award of attorneys' fees for services performed as plaintiffs' liaison counsel in the bodily injury, non-respiratory cases arising out of the events of September 11, 2001. The court concluded that the district court abused its discretion in denying Mishkin a fee without further inquiry. Therefore, the court vacated the district court's order and remanded for the district court to determine whether Mishkin kept sufficiently detailed contemporaneous records as to be eligible for a fee award pursuant to New York State Ass'n for Retarded Children, Inc. v. Carey, and if Mishkin kept such records. View "In Re: World Trade Center" on Justia Law

United States v. Mergen

Defendant appealed his conviction for a Travel Act offense as well as various criminal acts. The court rejected defendant's sufficiency challenge to the Travel Act conviction under 18 U.S.C. 1952(a)(3)(A). However, the court vacated the conviction because the district court erred when it excluded, on hearsay and authentication grounds, a recording in which an FBI agent assured defendant that he had done nothing wrong in connection with the underlying arson. The court reversed as to defendant's remaining convictions because the wording of defendant's cooperation agreement did not toll the expired statute of limitations for those offenses. View "United States v. Mergen" on Justia Law

United States v. Gonzalez

Defendant appealed from his conviction on four counts of intentional murder while engaged in a trafficking crime involving five or more kilograms of cocaine. Defendant challenged his convictions on several grounds. The court held that defendant's pre-arraignment inculpatory statements were admissible under the six-hour safe harbor provided by 18 U.S.C. 3501(c), and concluded that defendant's remaining arguments were without merit. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "United States v. Gonzalez" on Justia Law

Terebesi v. Torresso, et al.

This case arose out of a botched SWAT-style raid that resulted in the fatal shooting of plaintiff's houseguest (Gonzalo Guizan) and injury to plaintiff. Plaintiff and Guizan's estate filed suit against law enforcement officers, alleging, inter alia, civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and state tort claims. On appeal, defendants challenged the district court's order granting in part and denying in part defendants' motions for summary judgment based on their assertions of qualified immunity. The court reversed the judgment of the district court insofar as it determined that Chief Solomon was not entitled to qualified immunity from liability for the decision - standing alone - to activate the SWERT tactical team; affirmed the judgment of the district court insofar as it held that plaintiff's claims implicated clearly established constitutional law with respect to the planning and approval of the raid, the use of stun grenades, the actions of Officers Sweeney and Weir, the alleged knock-and-announce violations, and the duty of police to intervene in constitutional violations by fellow officers; and dismissed defendants' arguments in other respects because the appeal relied on disputed facts. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Terebesi v. Torresso, et al." on Justia Law

Goldman, Sachs & Co. v. Golden Empire Sch. Fin. Auth.

In each of these appeals, the district court granted a financial services firm's motion to enjoin a FINRA arbitration brought against the firm by a public financing authority. As a preliminary matter, the court concluded that it had jurisdiction in both appeals and the district court had authority to enjoin arbitration in both appeals. On the merits, the court concluded that the FINRA arbitration rules have been superseded by forum selection clauses requiring "all actions and proceedings" related to the transactions between the parties to be brought in court. Accordingly, the court affirmed both appeals. View "Goldman, Sachs & Co. v. Golden Empire Sch. Fin. Auth." on Justia Law

Garcia v. Does

Plaintiffs filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that they were falsely arrested for participating in a demonstration in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. On appeal, defendants challenged the district court's denial of their motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) based on qualified immunity. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court because the court could not resolve at this early stage the ultimately factual issue of whether certain defendants implicitly invited the demonstrators to walk onto the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge, which would otherwise have been prohibited by New York law. View "Garcia v. Does" on Justia Law