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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's motions for supervised release or bail pending resolution of his motion to vacate his sentence under 28 U.S.C. 2255. The court held that a certificate of appealability was not required when appealing from orders in a habeas proceeding that are collateral to the merits of the habeas claim itself, including the denial of bail. In this case, the absence of a COA was not a bar to petitioner's appeal from the district court's order denying his motion for supervised release or bail pending resolution of his habeas petition. The court also held that petitioner's motion lacked merit because it did not present substantial questions and petitioner failed to demonstrate extraordinary circumstances. View "Illarramendi v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit held that a petition filed in New York Supreme Court under N.Y. C.P.L.R. 3102(c) was not a "civil action" removable to federal court under 28 U.S.C. 1441, 1446. The court affirmed the district court's grant of petitioner's motion to remand the case to state court. In this case, the district court held that it lacked federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1331 over a New York Civil Practice Law and Rules 3102(c) special proceeding for pre‐action disclosure and that diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1332 was barred under 28 U.S.C. 1441(b)'s "forum defendant" rule. View "Teamsters Local 404 Health Services & Insurance Plan v. King Pharmaceuticals, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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A 1988 consent order settled a suit brought by plaintiff against past and then present members of the rock band known as Lynyrd Skynyrd, seeking to clarify each party's rights with respect to the use of the name "Lynyrd Skynyrd" and their rights to make films about the band and their own lives. In this case, the Second Circuit vacated the district court's judgment and vacated its permanent injunction prohibiting distribution of a film about the band and other related activities, holding that the terms of the consent order were inconsistent, or at lease insufficiently precise, to support an injunction. The court reasoned that, even though the injunction has allegedly been imposed as a result of private contract rather than government censorship, it nonetheless restrained the viewing of an expressive work prior to its public availability, and courts should always be hesitant to approve such an injunction. The court held that the injunction restricted the actions of an entity that was not a party to the contract that was alleged to be the source of the restriction; Cleopatra in this case. Furthermore, the film told a story about the history of the band, as well as the experience of Artimus Pyle with the band. The court held that provisions of a consent decree that both prohibit a movie about such a history and also permit a movie about such an experience were sufficiently inconsistent, or at least insufficiently specific, to support an injunction. View "Ronnie Van Zant, Inc. v. Cleopatra Records, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of the government's motion under Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 35 for a reduction in sentence. The court held that the district court applied the proper two-step test in evaluating the Rule 35(b) motion. In this case, although defendant provided substantial assistance to the government, he had already received the benefit of his cooperation, he continued to engage in criminal activity while on presentence release, and he lied to the court with respect to his substantial additional criminal conduct. The court also held that the district court did not err in considering the 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) factors in step two in deciding whether to reduce defendant's sentence in light of his cooperation. View "United States v. Katsman" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act of 1986 was not unconstitutionally vague as applied to defendants' charges of conspiracy to deal in "controlled substance analogues." The Second Circuit held that the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions, but that Defendants Snell and Gambuzza were prejudiced by improper jury instructions on the knowledge element of the Act. Furthermore, Gambuzza was prejudiced by the receipt of inadmissible hearsay evidence. Accordingly, the court affirmed Defendant Demott's conviction on his guilty plea; vacated Snell and Gambuzza's convictions; and remanded for retrial. View "United States v. Demott" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant appealed his conviction of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress physical evidence recovered during an investigatory stop. The court held that the district court correctly determined this case presented unusual circumstances that justified the use of handcuffs, because the officer's conduct was reasonable considering the late night investigatory stop in a remote wooded area where three suspects had appeared to meet, and the choice to handcuff defendant was a less intimidating and less dangerous means of ensuring the officer's safety than holding defendant at gunpoint. Finally, the court declined to rule on defendant's ineffective assistance of counsel claim. View "United States v. Fiseku" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Plaintiff brought a derivative action as a shareholder of Qlik, alleging that the Cadian Group owned more than ten percent of Qlik and engaged in short-term swing transactions in violation of Section 16(b) of the Securities Exchange Act. While the action was stayed, Qlik was bought out, causing plaintiff to lose any financial interest in the litigation. The Cadian Group subsequently moved to dismiss the action for lack of standing. The district court found that plaintiff's lack of standing deprived it of jurisdiction and that Qlik could not be substituted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 17. The Second Circuit reversed, holding that, when plaintiff lost her personal stake in the litigation, the only jurisdictional question was whether the case had become moot. The court held that a district court has jurisdiction to determine whether substituting a plaintiff would avoid mooting the action, and that Rule 17(a)(3) allows substitution of the real party in interest so long as doing so does not change the substance of the action and does not reflect bad faith from the plaintiffs or unfairness to the defendants. In this case, the district court should have substituted Qlik and denied Cadian Group's motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. View "Klein v. Cadian Capital Management, LP" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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Plaintiffs, former employees of a Manhattan restaurant, filed suit against BLCH, the restaurant owner and operator, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New York Labor Law (NYLL). Although the district court found in favor of plaintiffs, the court held that they were not entitled to a double recovery of liquidated damages and that a shareholder of the employer was not personally liable. The Second Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court properly declined to award cumulative liquidated damages. In this case, plaintiff's argument for double recovery was foreclosed by the court's recent decision in Rana v. Islam, 887 F.3d 118, 123 (2d Cir. 2018), which vacated a judgment under the FLSA in favor of a larger judgment under the NYLL on the ground that the FLSA did not allow duplicative liquidated damages. The court applied the Carter factors and held that the shareholder was not personally liable where only the fourth Carter factor -- maintaining of employment records -- was partially satisfied. View "Tapia v. Blch 3rd Ave LLC" on Justia Law

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A group of electrical generators and trade groups of electrical generators challenged the constitutionality of New York's Zero Emissions Credit (ZEC) program. The ZEC program subsidizes qualifying nuclear power plants with ZECs: state‐created and state‐issued credits certifying the zero‐emission attributes of electricity produced by a participating nuclear plant. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal and held that the ZEC program was not field preempted because plaintiffs failed to identify an impermissible "tether" under Hughes v. Talen Energy Marketing, LLC, 136 S. Ct. 1288, 1293 (2016), between the ZEC program and wholesale market participation; the ZEC program was not conflict preempted because plaintiffs have failed to identify any clear damage to federal goals; and plaintiffs lacked Article III standing to raise a dormant Commerce Clause claim. View "Coalition for Competitive Electricity v. Zibelman" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's grant of defendant's 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion and resentence to a lesser term of imprisonment than was initially imposed. The court held that defendant failed to meet his heavy burden of demonstrating a miscarriage of justice where frustration of a sentencing judge's subjective intent did not, by itself, render a sentence a miscarriage of justice to support a cognizable collateral challenge to that sentence. In this case, defendant pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly and intentionally distributing cocaine base, a schedule II controlled substance. In accordance with the plea agreement, defendant was sentenced to 112 months in prison. After defendant was sentenced, his conviction on a predicate offense was vacated and then became the basis of his section 2255 motion. View "United States v. Hoskins" on Justia Law