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The Second Circuit reversed the district court's denial of the City's motion for summary judgment in an action challenging the City's rules banning advertisements in for-hire vehicles (FHVs) absent authorization from the Taxi and Limousine Commission. The district court concluded that the City's rules banning advertisements in for‐hire passenger vehicles, such as Ubers and Lyfts, violate the First Amendment, primarily because the City permits certain advertising in taxicabs. The court held that the City's prohibition on advertising in FHVs did not violate the First Amendment under the Central Hudson test. In this case, the City's asserted interest in improving the overall passenger experience is substantial, the prohibition "directly advances" that interest, and the prohibition was no more extensive than necessary to serve that interest. The court held that the City's determination that banning ads altogether is the most effective approach was reasonable. View "Vugo, Inc. v. City of New York" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The court held that the police did not violate defendant's Fourth Amendment rights by returning to search his car, because both searches of defendant's car were valid inventory searches; contrary to defendant's argument, the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to admit his post‐arrest statements denying ownership of the gun; and defendant's arguments regarding the inadmissibility of the evidence of his gang affiliation and willingness to assist the police either (a) failed because the evidence was properly admitted pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b) and was not unfairly prejudicial or (b) were waived. View "United States v. Williams" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment, holding that when jurisdiction‐granting class‐action allegations are removed from a complaint, a district court is divested of Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) jurisdiction and the action must be dismissed. In this case, a Connecticut attorney filed suit against a group of title insurance companies for allegedly violating a Connecticut law that allows only Connecticut attorneys to act as title agents in the state. After plaintiffs amended the complaint to remove all class action allegations, the district court concluded that the withdrawal of the class‐action allegations divested it of CAFA jurisdiction and dismissed the amended complaint. View "Gale v. Chicago Title Insurance Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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Tweed, seeking to expand its primary runway, filed suit to invalidate a Connecticut statute that had limited the runway's length. As a preliminary matter, the Second Circuit held that Tweed had Article III standing because it established an injury in fact, the injury was caused by the Runway Statute, and a favorable decision will likely redress Tweed's fear of the statute's enforcement. The court joined the Fifth and Tenth Circuits in holding that a subdivision may sue its state under the Supremacy Clause. Therefore, Tweed, as a political subdivision of Connecticut, may bring suit against Connecticut. On the merits, the court held that the Runway Statute was preempted by the Federal Aviation Act where the Act's preemption applies to airport runways and the Runway Statute falls within the scope of that preemption. Furthermore, Congress intended the Act to occupy the entire field of air safety including runway length. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for entry of judgment in favor of Tweed. View "Tweed-New Haven Airport Authority v. Tong" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's decision declining to reconsider its original decision granting the Town's motion to dismiss the amended complaint alleging claims of, inter alia, breach of contract, innocent misrepresentation, and fraud in connection with plaintiff's loan to a licensee of the Town that was allegedly secured by the Town. The court held that PHL's arguments with regard to dismissals of the unjust enrichment and negligent misrepresentation claims were not properly before the court. Even if they were properly before the court, the court would still reject PHL's arguments. The court also held that PHL's amended complaint failed to state a claim on which relief can be granted for breach of contract or equitable relief because it failed to plausibly allege a valid contract; PHL's claims for misrepresentation failed because PHL failed to allege that it reasonably or justifiably relied on the misrepresentation; and there was no merit to PHL's contention that it should have been allowed to file a second amended complaint. View "PHL Variable Insurance Co. v. Town of Oyster Bay" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Contracts

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President Trump engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination by utilizing Twitter's blocking function to limit certain users' access to his social media account, which is otherwise open to the public at large, because he disagrees with their speech. The First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise‐open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees. In this case, the government concedes that individual plaintiffs were blocked from President Trump's Twitter account after they criticized the President or his policies, and that they were blocked as a result of their criticism. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs and entry of a declaratory judgment that the blocking of the individual plaintiffs from the account because of their expressed political views violates the First Amendment. View "Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University v. Trump" on Justia Law

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The four-level sentencing enhancement under USSG 2G2.2(b)(4) may be applied based on images of sexual activity that would cause the depicted minor to experience mental, but not physical, pain. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment on the question of the four-level enhancement but remanded to the district court for further consideration of defendant's special condition of supervised release that broadly prohibits him from having contact with minors without pre-approval from the Probation Office. In this case, the district court plainly erred by adequately justifying its imposition of the special condition. View "United States v. Bleau" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction of securities fraud and wire fraud, finding no errors in the district court's jury instructions, admission of lay testimony, and calculation of loss. The court also held that, as a matter of law, forfeiture is not limited to the amount of funds acquired through illegal transactions in an insider‐trading scheme; rather, forfeiture may extend to appreciation of those funds. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's forfeiture calculation and order. Finally, Lagos v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 1684 (2018), was decided after defendant's sentence and addressed the categories of fees recoverable under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act. Therefore, the court held that a limited remand to recalculate the restitution was appropriate. View "United States v. Afriyie" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's denial of petitioner's application for asylum and related relief based on the IJ's finding that petitioner was not credible. The court held that the asserted inconsistencies between the details of his encounter with police following his attack and the severity of his father's injuries after an assault did not amount to inconsistent statements at all. Furthermore, petitioner's inconsistent statements regarding the dates when he received medical treatment after he was assaulted -- on its own -- did not justify an adverse credibility finding. In any event, remand to the agency would not be futile. Accordingly, the court vacated the order of removal and remanded. View "Gurung v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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Intervenors appealed the district court's order denying their respective motions to unseal filings in a defamation suit. The Second Circuit vacated the district court's order and held that the district court failed to conduct the requisite particularized review when ordering the sealing of the materials at issue. Nevertheless, the court recognized the potential damage to privacy and reputation that may accompany public disclosure of hard‐fought, sensitive litigation. Therefore, the court clarified the legal tools that district courts should use in safeguarding the integrity of their dockets. The court remanded for the district court to conduct a particularized review of the remaining sealed materials. View "Brown v. Maxwell" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure