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

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's order setting aside a jury's verdict finding defendant guilty of narcotics conspiracy. The court held that, although it was unfortunate that the jury was not afforded an opportunity to reconsider its findings, the verdict was inconsistent with the jury's findings and the appropriate remedy for the inconsistency was to set aside the guilty verdict, especially in view of the government's unhelpful role in the proceedings. View "United States v. Pierce" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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At issue are motions by several news organizations to intervene in a pending appeal and to unseal an unredacted letter filed by Deutsche Bank on August 27, 2019. Deutsche Bank filed the letter in an appeal from an order denying a preliminary injunction sought by President Trump and others to prevent compliance with subpoenas seeking production of numerous documents, including tax returns. The Second Circuit granted the motions to intervene, because news media have a right to intervene to seek unsealing of documents filed in a court proceeding. However, the court denied the motions for unsealing, because the sealed letter was not relevant to any issue in the underlying appeal and thus it was not a judicial document within the meaning of the decisions requiring unsealing of documents with a court. Furthermore, the letter was not a record of any court which, absent special circumstances, would be available for public scrutiny. View "Trump v. Deutsche Bank AG" on Justia Law

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Petitioners filed two applications in the Southern District of New York under 28 U.S.C. 1782 seeking discovery from Santander and its New York‐based affiliate, SIS, concerning the financial status of BPE. Santander had acquired BPE after a government-forced sale. The Second Circuit held that the language in section 1782 that requires that a person or entity "resides or is found" within the district in which discovery is sought, extends section 1782's reach to the limits of personal jurisdiction consistent with due process. Nonetheless, the court held that Santander's contacts with the Southern District of New York were insufficient to subject it to the district court's personal jurisdiction. The court also held that there was no per se bar to the extraterritorial application of section 1782, and the district court may exercise its discretion as to whether to allow such discovery. Therefore, the court held that the district court acted within its discretion in this case by allowing discovery from SIS. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's orders. View "In re del Valle Ruiz" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
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A supervisee does not have the right to expand allocution by presenting mitigation witnesses at a revocation hearing. The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence following a second revocation-of-supervised-release hearing. The court held that the district court did not plainly err by denying defendant's mother an opportunity to address the district court at a revocation hearing; the district court did not impermissibly delegate its judicial authority to the probation office in imposing a curfew as a special condition of supervised release; even if the probation office exceeded its lawfully delegated supervisory authority by unilaterally imposing a two-day lockdown, defendant failed to demonstrate that his violations of this condition affected the outcome of his revocation hearing; and defendant's sentence was not substantively unreasonable. View "United States v. Degroate" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Second Circuit held that the government was entitled to a detention hearing under 18 U.S.C. 3142(f)(1)(A) or 3142(f)(1)(E) of the Bail Reform Act. The court rejected defendant's vagueness challenge to the residual clause in the Bail Reform Act's definition of "crime of violence;" held that possession of ammunition by a convicted felon is categorically a crime of violence under the residual clause, and therefore satisfies section 3142(f)(1)(A); and held that, pursuant to a conduct-specific injury, defendant's offense also involved the possession or use of a firearm under section 3142(f)(1)(E) because he discharged the ammunition from a firearm. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's decision affirming a detention order and denied defendant's motion for bail. View "United States v. Watkins" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Second Circuit reversed the district court's judgment for plaintiffs on their 42 U.S.C. 1983 false arrest claim. The longstanding exemption from municipal limitations on sidewalk vending for disabled veterans, codified in New York General Business Law 35, entitles "any honorably discharged member of the armed forces of the United States who is physically disabled as a result of injuries received while in the service of said armed forces" to vend in "any street, avenue, alley, lane or park" of the City, so long as he or she has been issued a license to do so. The court held that New York General Business Law 35‐a(7)(i) does require curbside vending. In this case, plaintiffs, five disabled veterans, alleged a claim of false arrest on the theory that they were in compliance with section 35‐a(7)(i) such that there was no probable cause to issue summonses. The summonses were issued by officers for plaintiffs' failure to comply with orders to relocate their vending carts, because plaintiffs were operating their carts more than three feet from the curb. Because of the curbside vending requirement, the officers did not lack a basis to issue the summonses. View "Crescenzi v. City of New York" on Justia Law

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This case arose from plaintiffs' action against NYU, alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in connection with two retirement plans sponsored by NYU (Sacerdote I). After the district court dismissed most, but not all of the causes of action, plaintiffs filed this action against affiliates of NYU and Cammack, an independent investment management company (Sacerdote II). The district court dismissed all claims against defendants. The Second Circuit dismissed the district court's judgment, holding that the district court erred by determining that Cammack and NYU were in privity such that the rule against duplicate litigation applied to bar recovery against Cammack in Sacerdote II. In this case, Cammack and NYU's interests were not sufficiently identical to support a finding of privity; the bases for liability for NYU and Cammack were not necessarily the same; and it was possible that one party could be found liable and the other not. Cammack and NYU had separate and distinct responsibilities as co-fiduciaries to the plans at issue, and could be found liable for plaintiffs' injuries for separate reasons. Finally, the court held that the representative suit exception to a plaintiff's right to sue each defendant separately did not apply here. View "Sacerdote v. Cammack Larhette Advisors, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure, ERISA
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The Times filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), seeking five DOJ memoranda and accompanying exhibits. The requested documents detail DOJ's legal reasoning and factual analysis in making the determinations, first, that it would formally investigate only two of more than one hundred alleged instances of abuse of detainees allegedly held overseas in the custody of the CIA and that it would not bring criminal charges in either of the two cases. At issue are the two public statements made by the then-Attorney General Eric Holder. The district court granted The Times' motion for summary judgment, holding that Attorney General Holder's public statements expressly adopted the memoranda by relying on their reasoning. The Second Circuit held American Civil Liberties Union v. National Security Agency, clarified that the "express adoption" exception to Exemption 5 does not apply in the instant context. The court also held that the government waived the privilege over the sections of the memoranda and exhibits relating to the conclusion that a number of the detainees investigated were not in CIA custody. Because Holder referenced this fact in both of his public statements, the court's holding applies to all five of the memoranda and associated exhibits. However, the court held that none of the remaining three statements at issue divulges the content of the memoranda with enough specificity to constitute waiver of the work product privilege. The court also held that Holder’s references to U.S. Attorney John Durham's reports, although clearly spoken with an intent to explain the Department's decision not to prosecute, did not constitute "testimonial use" of the reports and therefore did not waive the work product privilege over the documents. Furthermore, Holder's use of Durham's memoranda was not so unfair as to implicate the same concerns in John Doe Co. v. United States. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "The New York Times Co. v. United States Department of Justice" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's denial of petitioner's application for asylum and for withholding and deferral of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court held that petitioner's second‐degree assault conviction under NYPL 120.05(2) qualifies as an aggravated felony crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. 16(a). Therefore, petitioner was removable and ineligible for asylum. The court rejected petitioner's remaining claims, which challenged the BIA's determination that his assault was a particularly serious crime and his CAT deferral, as lacking in merit. View "Singh v. Barr" on Justia Law

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In this interlocutory appeal, defendants challenged the district court's denial of their motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction a complaint alleging that Connecticutʹs redistricting plan, which counts incarcerated individuals in the district in which their prison is located rather than the district in which they permanently reside, violates the ʺone person, one voteʺ principle of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Second Circuit affirmed in part the district court's order to the extent it held that the Eleventh Amendment bar on suits against states does not apply to plaintiffsʹ claim and denied defendantsʹ motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. However, the court held that the district court lacked jurisdiction to deny defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, because this case involves a challenge to the constitutionality of the apportionment of a statewide legislative body, which must be heard by a three-judge district court under 28 U.S.C. 2284(a). Therefore, because this case falls within section 2284(a) and plaintiffs' claim presents a substantial federal question, the court remanded for the district court to refer the matter to a three-judge court for further proceedings. View "NAACP v. Merrill" on Justia Law