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Plaintiff pro se appealed the district court's dismissal, under 28 U.S.C. 1915A, his amended complaint for failure to comply with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and 20. Plaintiff alleged 42 U.S.C. 1983 claims against various medical personnel at the Health Center and Correctional Institution for failure to adequately treat his health condition. The Second Circuit held that the amended complaint substantially complied with Rule 8 by adequately putting defendants on notice of the claims specifically asserted against each of them, and Rule 20 by including allegations arising from the alleged failure of the named defendants to adequately treat his condition before his first surgery. However, the court held that the complaint failed to state a claim of any wrongdoing against three defendants. Accordingly, the court held that dismissal was improper except with respect to the three defendants. View "Harnage v. Lightner" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's denial of U.S. Bank's motion to retransfer the action to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, where it was instituted, and grant of judgment on the pleadings to Bank of America. The court disagreed with the district court's conclusion that Bank of America was not subject to the jurisdiction of the Indiana court, and therefore necessarily concluded that the Indiana court's transfer to New York was not authorized under 28 U.S.C. 1631. Nonetheless, the court affirmed the New York district court's denial of U.S. Bank's motion to retransfer to Indiana, treated the original transfer as one made under 28 U.S.C. 1404(a), and vacated the judgment of dismissal rendered on the ground that the suit was untimely under the laws of New York. View "U.S. Bank National Ass'n v. Bank of America N.A." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's order granting defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings and dismissing the complaint, which alleged constitutional and other deficiencies in the manner in which guardianship proceedings are conducted in New York Surrogate's Court under Article 17A of the Surrogate's Court Procedure Act. The district court did not reach the merits of the complaint, abstaining pursuant to Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), and OʹShea v. Littleton, 414 U.S. 488 (1974). In this case, the requested relief would effect a continuing, impermissible "audit" of New York Surrogate's Court proceedings, which would offend the principles of comity and federalism. The court held that it had no power to intervene in the internal procedures of the state courts, and could not legislate and engraft new procedures upon existing state practices. Therefore, the district court correctly abstained from exercising jurisdiction in this case. The court noted that abstention was supported by the availability of other revenues of relief where any aggrieved individuals would be able to obtain sufficient review in state court and, if needed, the Supreme Court of the United States. View "Disability Rights New York v. New York" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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Defendant appealed his sentence after he pleaded guilty to an information charging securities fraud, mail fraud, and obstruction and impeding the Internal Revenue Laws. Defendant, a former registered investment broker, perpetrated fraud on the clients of ELIV Group, an unregistered investment and consulting group that he owned and operated. The Second Circuit vacated in part the district court's sentence of incarceration as procedurally unreasonable because of an incorrect criminal history finding. Accordingly, the court remanded as to this issue. The court affirmed the district court's imposition of the amended restitution order where the district court corrected the restitution amount during resentencing. View "United States v. Valente" on Justia Law

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In this redacted case, petitioner appealed the district court's judgment after filing a petition of error coram nobis seeking to vacate his earlier conviction. Petitioner argued that defense counsel was ineffective in affirmatively assuring him that there should be no immigration consequences for pleading guilty when, in fact, the crime to which he pleaded was an aggravated felony resulting in mandatory removal. The Second Circuit held that the district court improperly denied petitioner's coram nobis petition and reversed its judgment. Because the district court neither employed the correct legal standard nor examined whether petitioner was prejudiced under Strickland v. Washington, the court analyzed the question itself. In this case, the government conceded that counsel's actions were objectively unreasonable. The court held that petitioner showed that counsel's immigration misadvice was prejudicial because he had a reasonable probability either of negotiating a different plea of going to trial or litigating the loss amount. Furthermore, petitioner provided sufficient reasons to justify his delay in seeking to vacate his conviction. The court remanded with instructions for the district court to grant the writ, vacate petitioner's plea and conviction, and transfer the case. View "Doe v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Plaintiff filed a pro se action against Phillip Morris, alleging Connecticut state law liability claims on behalf of her late husband's estate. The district court dismissed some of plaintiff's claims based on its determination that Connecticut law would not allow her to represent the estate pro se. In this case, Connecticut law and federal law conflict on the issue of whether plaintiff can represent the estate pro se. The Second Circuit held that the district court misread both Erie R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64 (1938), and Guest v. Hansen, 603 F.3d 15 (2d Cir. 2010), in concluding that Connecticut's rule controlled the circumstances in which a party may appear pro se in federal court. The court held that 28 U.S.C. 1654, and federal rules interpreting it, are procedural in nature and therefore must be applied by federal courts in diversity cases. The court explained that, who may practice law before a federal court is a matter of procedure—which Congress and the federal courts have the power to regulate—notwithstanding contrary state law. In this case, Connecticut's substantive law will not be affected by permitting plaintiff to file motions, conduct depositions, or represent the estate at trial. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's judgment insofar as it dismissed plaintiff's claims under Connecticut law and the derivative consortium claims. The court affirmed the dismissal of the remaining claims based on statute of limitation grounds. View "Pappas v. Philip Morris, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit reversed the district court's denial of a petition for habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. 2254. Petitioner was convicted of second degree murder. The court held that, notwithstanding a limiting instruction by the trial court, a detective's testimony that an accomplice had stated that petitioner paid him to commit the murder violated the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment. Therefore, the state court's ruling to the contrary constituted an objectively unreasonable application of clearly established federal law. The court remanded with instructions to grant the petition. View "Orlando v. Nassau County District Attorney's Office" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant challenged the district court's revocation of his supervised release, principally arguing that the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress and admitting evidence of postarrest statements. The Second Circuit found no merit in defendant's Fourth Amendment challenges to the stop and search of the vehicle. However, the court held that evidence of statements by the driver that incriminated defendant without incriminating the driver did not fall within the hearsay exception provided by Rule 804(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Evidence for statements against the interest of the declarant, and that the district court did not perform the analyses required under Rule 804(b)(3)(B) or under Rule 32.1(b)(2)(C) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, in order to determine the admissibility of the declarant's other statements. Accordingly, the court vacated the judgment, remanding for further proceedings. View "United States v. Ojudun" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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US Bank appealed the district court's dismissal of its second amended consolidated complaint as untimely. The Second Circuit affirmed and held that ACE Secs. Corp. v. DB Structured Prods., Inc., 25 N.Y.3d 581 (2015), and Deutsche Bank Nat'l Tr. Co. v. Quicken Loans Inc., 810 F.3d 861, 868 n.8 (2d Cir. 2015), governed U.S. Bank's contractual claims in this case. The court held that the district court properly granted summary judgment to GreenPoint where the first two causes of action for breach of contract were untimely under settled New York law, because they were filed over six years after the statute of limitations began running. The court also held that the district court properly dismissed the third cause of action for indemnification under section 9 of the Flow Mortgage Loan Purchase and Warranties Agreement, because U.S. Bank's claim was in reality a repackaged version of its breach of contract claims. Finally, the court held that the fourth cause of action for breach of the indemnification agreements did relate back to the original filing for claims based on any of the Trusts, and was therefore untimely asserted. View "Lehman XS Trust v. Greenpoint Mortgage Funding, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the Academy, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Articles 6 and 19 of the New York Labor Law (NYLL). The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of judgment on the pleadings. The court held that individuals enrolled in a for‐profit vocational academy, who are preparing to take a state licensure examination and who must first fulfill state minimum training requirements, fulfill those requirements by working under Academy supervision for a defined number of hours, without pay; the primary beneficiary test in Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., 811 F.3d 528, 536‐537 (2d Cir. 2015), governs in the for‐profit vocational training context; and plaintiff, as a former student of the Academy, was the primary beneficiary of the relationship, thus excusing the latter from potential compensation obligations under FLSA or NYLL related to plaintiff’s limited work there as a trainee. View "Velarde v. GW GJ, Inc." on Justia Law