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The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's convictions for prostituting two minors, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1591, and for employing a minor in the creation of a sexually explicit video, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2251. The court held that section 1591 was not unconstitutionally vague and rejected defendant's overbreadth challenge; the statutory language in section 1591 requires that the defendant know or recklessly disregard the fact that a minor was younger than 18 years old; and it did not mandate, to support the increased punishment in subsection (b), that the government prove that a defendant knew or recklessly disregarded that a minor was under the age of fourteen.  The court rejected defendant's venue challenge to his conviction under section 2251 where the jury was entitled to find that venue for prosecution lay in the Eastern District of New York. View "United States v. Thompson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Leopard Marine sought a declaratory judgment that a maritime lien held by Easy Street, a Cypriot fuel supply company, has been extinguished by laches. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's decision to decline to abstain on grounds of international comity and issued a declaration that laches barred exercise of the lien. The court held that the federal courts have jurisdiction to declare a maritime lien unenforceable, even where the vessel was not present in the district, so long as its owner consents to adjudication of rights in the lien. In this case, the court held that abstention on the basis of international comity was not required and thus the district court did not abuse its discretion in ruling that laches barred exercise of the lien. View "Leopard Marine & Trading, Ltd. v. Easy Street Ltd." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the order of the district court to the extent it denied petitioner's motion to vacate his sentence under 28 U.S.C. 2255. The court held that petitioner's claim did not rely on the rule announced in Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015), that New York third‐degree robbery was a crime of violence under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), because his sentence was clearly enhanced pursuant to the force clause of the ACCA. View "Massey v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Second Circuit reversed a petition seeking leave to subpoena the defendant law firm, Shell's United States counsel, for documents belonging to a foreign company, Royal Dutch Shell. The court held that it was an abuse of discretion for a district court to grant a 28 U.S.C. 1782 petition where the documents sought from a foreign company's U.S. counsel would be unreachable in a foreign country. The court cautioned in Application of Sarrio, S.A., 119 F.3d 143 (2d Cir. 1997), that an order compelling American counsel to deliver documents that would not be discoverable abroad, and that are in counsel's hands solely because they were sent to the United States for the purpose of American litigation, as in this case, would jeopardize the policy of promoting open communications between lawyers and their clients. View "Kiobel v. Cravath, Swain & Moore, LLP" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit reversed the district court's denial of Defendant Emmons and Wallace's post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law, and the corresponding entry of judgment following a jury verdict in favor of plaintiff on his claims against defendants for tortious interference with contract under New York law. The court held that there was insufficient evidence for a reasonable juror to have found at least two elements of plaintiffs claims where the jury's intent finding that defendants purposefully targeted particular contracts was wholly without support, and there was no evidence that anyone stopped performing under a specific contract because of anything said or done by defendants. Accordingly, the court remanded with directions to enter judgment for defendants. View "Conte v. Emmons" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The Second Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court's denial of defendants' motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on grounds of foreign sovereign immunity and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) pursuant to the act of state doctrine. The court held that it had subject matter jurisdiction over the case under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) where Argentina asserted control over its stake in YPF via expropriation; Argentina incurred a separate commercial obligation under the bylaws to make a tender offer for the remainder of YPFʹs outstanding shares; and Peterson claimed it was injured by repudiation of that commercial obligation. Therefore, the repudiation was an act separate and apart from Argentinaʹs expropriation of Repsolʹs shares, and Peterson's action against Argentina fell within the direct-effects clause of the FSIA. Petersenʹs claims against YPF also fell within the direct‐effect clause of the FSIAʹs commercial activity exception. The court declined to reach the portion of this appeal challenging the district court's ruling on defendants' act of state defense. View "Petersen Energia Inversora, SAU v. Argentine Republic" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) complaint for failure to state claims for which relief can be granted. Plaintiffs challenged the conduct of twelve banks and their affiliates in the FX market from January 2003 through 2014. On de novo review, the court held that plaintiffs failed to state plausible ERISA claims because the facts alleged do not show that defendants exercised the control over Plan assets necessary to establish ERISA functional fiduciary status. Furthermore, the court found no abuse of discretion in the district court's denial of adjournment or leave to file a fourth amended complaint. View "Allen v. Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: ERISA

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The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction of possession of ammunition after having been dishonorably discharged from the military, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(6). The court held that defendant's conviction under section 922(g)(6) did not violate the Second Amendment because, even assuming without deciding that plaintiff can claim any Second Amendment protections, those protections did not preclude his conviction. The court held that those who, like defendant, have been found guilty of felony‐equivalent conduct by a military tribunal are not among those "law‐abiding and responsible" persons whose interests in possessing firearms are at the Amendment's core; although defendant's interests were outside the core protections of the Second Amendment, it was burdened substantially and intermediate scrutiny was applicable in his case; and section 922(g)(6) was substantially related to the government's interest of maintaining public safety. The court noted that there was no reason to think that defendant was more likely to handle a gun responsibly just because his conviction for dealing drugs and stolen military equipment (including firearms) occurred in a military tribunal rather than in state or federal court. View "United States v. Jimenez" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment to the DOC in an action alleging that the DOC's policy of not accommodating the dietary restrictions imposed by plaintiff's Nazarite Jewish faith violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA). The court held that, in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Holt v. Hobbs, 135 S. Ct. 853 (2015), the district court failed to appreciate the substantial showing that the government must make to justify burdening an individual plaintiff's practice of a sincerely held religious belief. In this case, fact questions remain as to whether the DOC's interest was compelling and its means were the least restrictive in light of plaintiff's suggested alternatives. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings and denied the DOC's motion to vacate the judgment and remand as moot. View "Williams v. Annucci" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the Vessel on a competing maritime lien claim brought against it by ING and Chemoil under the Commercial Instruments and Maritime Liens Act (CIMLA), 46 U.S.C. 31301. The claims arose from the provision of bunkers (marine fuel) to the Vessel. The district court also reduced the principal amount and interest rate posted by Cobelfret, the charterer of the Vessel, to secure the Vessel's release from arrest. The court held that, where, as here, security was posted and a vessel was released, Civ. P. Admiralty Supp R. E(5)(a) empowered the court to reduce security. In this case, the district court found that Cobelfret had shown good cause for reducing security. The court held that the district court committed no legal error in imposing an interest rate other than the 6% rate mentioned in Rule E(5), nor did the district court abuse its discretion in determining that there was "good cause shown" for reducing the interest rate to 3.5%. View "ING Bank N.V. v. M/V Maritime King" on Justia Law