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

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In the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the case revolves around the appeal of Gregory Thomas, who alleges ineffective assistance of counsel due to the failure to file an appeal from his resentencing. Thomas was convicted in 2006 on various counts, including murder for hire, drug-trafficking offenses, and mail fraud. In 2020, he was resentenced to approximately 24 years of imprisonment. No appeal was filed post-resentencing, which Thomas claims was against his explicit instructions to his counsel. He subsequently filed a federal habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which was denied by the district court without conducting any fact-finding.The Court of Appeals found that the district court erred by denying Thomas's petition without conducting a fact-finding inquiry. Citing the precedent set in Campusano v. United States, the court highlighted the necessity of a factual inquiry when a habeas petitioner alleges that his counsel failed to file a requested notice of appeal. The court emphasized that the right to appeal is sacrosanct, especially in cases involving the loss of an entire appellate proceeding. As a result, the court vacated the district court's order and remanded the case for further proceedings, including a fact-finding inquiry into Thomas's allegations. View "Thomas v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York's dismissal of a lawsuit brought by BMG Monroe I, LLC. BMG, a developer, had sued the Village of Monroe, New York, alleging that the Village's denial of its applications for building permits on five lots violated the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Protection Clause due to a discriminatory animus towards the Hasidic Jewish community. The Village denied the applications due to non-compliance with the architectural criteria established in the Smith Farm Project's approval conditions. The Court of Appeals agreed with the district court that the claims were unripe because BMG had not exhausted its administrative remedies. In order to satisfy the finality requirement under ripeness doctrine, BMG needed to appeal the adverse planning-board decision to a zoning board of appeals and submit at least one meaningful application for a variance. BMG could not claim that further actions were futile based on the Village's indication that it would likely not be receptive to a variance request that had yet to be made. View "BMG Monroe I, LLC v. Village of Monroe" on Justia Law

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In this case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the plaintiffs were U.S. investors who purchased Mexican government bonds. They alleged that the defendants, Mexican branches of several multinational banks, conspired to fix the prices of the bonds. The defendants sold the bonds to the plaintiffs through non-party broker-dealers. The defendants moved to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction, and the District Court granted the motion, concluding that it lacked jurisdiction as the alleged misconduct, price-fixing of bonds, occurred solely in Mexico.Upon appeal, the Second Circuit vacated and remanded the case. The court found that the defendants had sufficient minimum contacts with New York as they had solicited and executed bond sales through their agents, the broker-dealers. The plaintiffs' claims arose from or were related to these contacts. The court rejected the defendants' argument that the alleged wrongdoing must occur in the jurisdiction for personal jurisdiction to exist, stating that the defendants' alleged active sales of price-fixed bonds through their agents in New York sufficed to establish personal jurisdiction. The court remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with its opinion. View "In re: Mexican Government Bonds Antitrust Litigation" on Justia Law

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The plaintiff, Dr. Misty Blanchette Porter, had been a staff physician at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) since 1996. She specialized in reproductive medicine and was highly regarded in her field. In November 2015, Dr. Porter developed a medical condition that required her to take a medical leave of absence and subsequently work reduced hours. In 2017, DHMC decided to close the Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Division (REI) where Dr. Porter worked and terminate her employment. Dr. Porter claimed that her termination was due to her disability and her whistleblowing activity, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, and the laws of Vermont and New Hampshire.The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found that the district court erred in granting summary judgment to DHMC. The court found that there was direct evidence that the decision to terminate Dr. Porter's employment was based, in whole or in part, on her disability. The court also found that a jury could reasonably infer that Dr. Edward Merrens, the chief decision-maker in the termination, was aware of Dr. Porter's whistleblowing activity. The case was affirmed in part, vacated and remanded in part. View "Porter v. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center" on Justia Law

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The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled in a complex environmental case involving an entity known as the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust (RACER), which was created to manage the environmental cleanup of former General Motors (GM) properties. RACER sought recovery of costs related to environmental cleanup under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) from multiple defendants who had also contributed to the pollution. The district court had dismissed RACER's claims, concluding that a 2011 consent decree had resolved RACER's liability for the area in question. On appeal, the Second Circuit vacated the decision, ruling that the 2011 consent decree did not resolve RACER's liability for the entire area. The court held that the extent of RACER's liability under the 2011 consent decree is a factual question that could not be resolved at the pleading stage. The case was remanded for further proceedings. View "Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust v. National" on Justia Law

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The case involves the appeal of Defendant-Appellant Dewey K. Sims from a sentencing judgment entered in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York. Sims had pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm after a prior felony conviction. The district court imposed a term of imprisonment followed by a term of supervised release. The release was subject to a special condition that prohibited Sims from associating with "any member, associate, or prospect of the Jungle Junkies, or any other criminal gang, club, or organization", a condition which Sims challenged as lacking support for its imposition from the district court or the record itself, and being impermissibly overbroad and vague. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agreed that neither the district court’s comments during the sentencing hearing nor the record showed that it fulfilled the requirements necessary to impose the special condition of supervised release in question. Therefore, the Court vacated the special condition and remanded the case for the limited purpose of allowing the district court to further explain its reasoning or develop the record as needed. View "United States of America v. Sims" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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A group of 18 pension and retirement funds and other investors alleged that 10 large banks conspired to rig U.S. Treasury auctions and boycott the emergence of direct, "all-to-all" trading between buy-side investors on the secondary market for Treasuries. The alleged conspiracies violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act. The investors failed to demonstrate that the banks formed an anticompetitive agreement, which is necessary to plead their antitrust claims. The allegations of wrongful information-sharing amounted to inconsequential market chatter and their statistical analyses were not sufficiently focused on the defendant banks. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the lawsuit, agreeing that the investors failed to plausibly allege that the banks engaged in a conspiracy to rig Treasury auctions or to conduct a boycott on the secondary market. View "In re Treasury Securities Auction Antitrust Litigation" on Justia Law

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The case involves an appeal by a plaintiff against the dismissal of his lawsuit against the City of Buffalo and some of its police officers. The plaintiff was arrested and charged with violating a city noise ordinance after he shouted at a police officer, who was driving without headlights, to turn his lights on. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit, asserting that his arrest violated his First Amendment right to free speech and amounted to false arrest and malicious prosecution.The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found that the district court erred in ruling that the plaintiff's shout was not protected by the First Amendment, given that it was a warning about a public safety issue. The court further concluded that there were genuine issues of fact concerning whether there was probable cause to arrest the plaintiff, which should have been resolved by a jury rather than at summary judgment.The court vacated the part of the district court's judgment dismissing the plaintiff's claims of false arrest, malicious prosecution, and First Amendment retaliation, as well as his claims related to failure to intervene and respondeat superior. The court affirmed the part of the district court's dismissal of the plaintiff's claim that the noise ordinance was unconstitutional as applied to him. The case was remanded for trial on the reinstated claims. View "Rupp v. City of Buffalo" on Justia Law

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This case is about a dispute between Richard Roe and St. John’s University (SJU) and Jane Doe. Roe, a male student at SJU, was accused of sexually assaulting two female students, Doe and Mary Smith, on separate occasions. SJU's disciplinary board found Roe guilty of non-consensual sexual contact with both Doe and Smith and imposed sanctions, including a suspension and eventual expulsion. Roe then sued SJU, alleging that his rights under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and state contract law had been violated. He also sued Doe for allegedly defaming him in an anonymous tweet accusing him of sexual assault. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York dismissed Roe's Title IX and state law claims, and declined to exercise jurisdiction over his defamation claim. On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the district court's decision, holding that Roe's complaint failed to state a plausible claim of sex discrimination under Title IX. The court found that, while Roe had identified some procedural irregularities in SJU's disciplinary proceedings, these were not sufficient to support a minimal plausible inference of sex discrimination. Furthermore, the court ruled that Roe's hostile environment claim was fatally deficient, as the single anonymous tweet at the center of his claim was not, standing alone, sufficiently severe to support a claim of a hostile educational environment under Title IX. View "Roe v. St. John's University" on Justia Law

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In this case before the United States Court of Appeals For the Second Circuit, two investment firms, held debt securities issued by FriendFinder Networks, Inc., and an affiliate. Several years later, FriendFinder’s founder, through a trust in his own name, unilaterally reduced the securities’ payment terms under the governing Indenture. The investment firms sued, alleging that the Trust Indenture Act (TIA) barred FriendFinder and its founder from changing the payment terms without their consent. The district court dismissed the case, holding that the TIA did not protect this Indenture because the underlying exchange offer was a private placement under the Securities Act of 1933, and the TIA does not apply to private placements. On appeal, the Second Circuit affirmed the district court's decision. The court held that, since the securities were issued through a private offering rather than a public one, the TIA did not apply. Therefore, the no-action clause in the Indenture, which barred the plaintiffs' lawsuit unless certain conditions were met, was not invalidated by the TIA. The court also determined that the plaintiffs' claim did not fall within the payment carve-out from the no-action clause, which allows suit for the enforcement of the right to receive payment of principal or interest on the securities. The court concluded that the plaintiffs' lawsuit was barred by the no-action clause and that the TIA did not invalidate that clause. View "Chatham Capital Holdings, Inc. v. Conru" on Justia Law