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

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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 motion to terminate removal proceedings, his applications for a waiver of inadmissibility and readjustment of status, and ordering him removed. The court held that petitioner's conviction for attempted possession of a sexual performance by a child, in violation of New York Penal Law 263.16, is an aggravated felony, and his remaining arguments failed to raise a colorable constitutional claim or question of law. View "Quito v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's award of summary judgment in favor of Aetna, plaintiff's employer. The court held that, when interpreting the scope of a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exemption, courts must give the exemption a fair reading and shall not construe it narrowly against the employer seeking to assert the exemption. The court also held that the first prong of the professional exemption's primary duty test requires courts to: (A) identify what qualities or skills are characteristic of the work of the profession at issue; and (B) determine if the employee's primary duty reflects those qualities or skills; central to the profession of registered nursing is the ability to act independently, or under limited supervision, on the basis of collected clinical data; and the district court did not err in concluding that plaintiff's job satisfied the first prong. In this case, plaintiff's primary duty as an appeals nurse consultant—to conduct utilization review and approve insurance coverage for medically necessary services under minimal supervision—reflects the discretion and requires the judgment characteristic of other registered nurses. Therefore, plaintiff's job as an appeals nurse consultant required the use of advanced nursing knowledge. The court also held that, in cases where, as here, the employer requires the possession of an advanced academic degree, the third prong of the primary duty test for the professional exemption of the FLSA requires courts to: (A) identify the job's primary duty which requires the use of advanced knowledge; and (B) determine if that duty is consistent with the employer's minimum academic qualifications. The court held that the district court did not err in concluding that plaintiff's job satisfied the third prong. Accordingly, the undisputed facts demonstrated that plaintiff was properly classified as exempt under the FLSA's overtime-pay requirements. View "Isett v. Aetna Life Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Officer May and the city, alleging excessive force, giving rise to a claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983, and various state law claims. A jury found in favor of plaintiff, awarding him compensatory and punitive damages. The district court granted the city's motion with respect to the punitive damages award but denied the motion with respect to the compensatory damages award. The Second Circuit reversed and remanded, holding that the district court should have granted the city's motion with respect to all damages. The court agreed with the city that the district court misapplied CONN. GEN. STAT. 7‐465 because, in awarding punitive damages, the jury found that Officer May's actions in causing plaintiff's injuries were wilful or wanton, triggering an exception to section 7‐465's assumption of liability requirement for all damages attributable to Officer May's conduct. View "Edwards v. Hartford" on Justia Law

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Defendant was sentenced to 120 months in prison for federal drug offenses and the district court recommended that his federal sentence run concurrently with a yet-to-be-imposed state sentence for a parole violation. Defendant appealed, arguing that the district court erroneously assumed that it lacked the authority to impose a sentence that was concurrent or consecutive with the state sentence. The government consented to a partial remand to the district court because the district court erroneously assumed that it lacked authority to impose rather than merely recommend concurrent or consecutive sentences with respect to the yet‐to‐be‐imposed state sentence. However, the government did not consent to a remand for the district court to reconsider a related Guidelines issue, arguing that defendant waived his right to appeal procedural sentencing errors as part of his plea agreement. The Second Circuit vacated the sentence and remanded for the district court to consider both issues because they were closely related and it was within the court's discretion to control the scope of its mandate. View "United States v. Anderson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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Plaintiff appealed the district court's decision affirming the denial of her application for supplemental security income. The Second Circuit vacated, holding that the ALJ erred in assuming that plaintiff's ability to complete a probationary period was irrelevant to her ability to perform significant numbers of jobs in the national economy. Accordingly, the court remanded the matter to the Commissioner for further development of the evidence. View "Sczepanski v. Saul" on Justia Law

Posted in: Public Benefits
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Metz appealed the district court's judgment vacating an arbitration award that held that interest rate assumptions for purposes of withdrawal from a multiemployer pension plan liability are those in effect on the last day of the year preceding the employer's withdrawal. The district court held, however, that section 4213 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) does not require actuaries to calculate withdrawal liability based on interest rate assumptions used prior to an employer's withdrawal from a plan, and that interest rate assumptions must be affirmatively reached and may not roll over automatically from the preceding plan year. The Second Circuit vacated the district court's judgment, holding that interest rate assumptions for withdrawal liability purposes must be determined as of the last day of the year preceding the employer's withdrawal from a multiemployer pension plan. Furthermore, absent any change to the previous plan year's assumption made by the Measurement Date, the interest rate assumption in place from the previous plan year will roll over automatically. Accordingly, the court remanded with directions to enter judgment for Metz and to remand any remaining issues to the arbitrator. View "The National Retirement Fund v. Metz Culinary Management, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's convictions for wire fraud, Title 18 securities fraud, conversion of U.S. property, and conspiracy, arising from the misappropriation of confidential information from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The federal wire fraud, securities fraud, and conversion statutes, are codified at 18 U.S.C. 1343, 1348, and 641, respectively. The court held that confidential government information may constitute "property" for purposes of the wire fraud and Title 18 securities fraud statutes. The court also held that the "personal-benefit" test announced in Dirks v. SEC, 463 U.S. 646 (1983), does not apply to those Title 18 fraud statutes. Finally, the panel found no prejudicial error with respect to the remaining issues presented on appeal. View "United States v. Blaszczak" on Justia Law

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BBVA appealed the district court's judgment entered following the Second Circuit's mandate in Vera v. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A., 729 Fed. App'x 106 (2d Cir. 2018). The judgment rendered final several of its previous orders requiring BBVA to turn over funds to petitioners from a blocked electronic fund transfer originated by the Cuban Import‐Export Corporation, an instrumentality of the Republic of Cuba. The turnover orders rested on the district court's grant of full faith and credit to default judgments that petitioners secured against Cuba in the Florida state courts. The Florida state courts had jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). The court reversed the judgment, vacated the turnover orders, and remanded with instructions, holding that the district court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the enforcement proceeding under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). In this case, petitioners failed to show under 28 U.S.C. 1605A either that (1) Cuba was designated as a state sponsor of terrorism "as a result" of the pre‐1982 acts underlying their judgments or that (2) the acts underlying their judgments occurred after 1982. Therefore, without either showing, the state-sponsored terrorism exception did not permit the district court to exercise jurisdiction over Cuba's assets under section 201(a) of TRIA. View "Vera v. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A." on Justia Law

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Personal jurisdiction exists whenever an individual, charged with a crime over which the Federal court has subject matter jurisdiction, is brought before that court. The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction of obstruction of Government administration for making false statements to the IRS. The court held that the district court had personal jurisdiction over defendant where the district court had jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case: an alleged violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001. In this case, the indictment charged defendant and defendant was present before the district court. Therefore, the judgment was valid. View "United States v. McLaughlin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Government appealed the substantive reasonableness of defendant's sentence for conspiring to provide material support to ISIS and attempting to murder a federal agent in the name of ISIS. The Second Circuit held that defendant's sentence of 17 years' imprisonment—which constitutes an 80% reduction from his recommended Guidelines range of 85 years—was substantively unreasonable in light of his exceptionally serious conduct involving a domestic terrorist attack against law enforcement in the name of ISIS; where a district court has accepted a defendant's guilty plea and his allocution to the elements of each charged offense, it cannot make findings of fact during sentencing that contradict or otherwise minimize the conduct described at defendant's plea hearing; where a sentencing court opts to compare the relative culpability of co‐defendants, it cannot selectively rely on a factor when it serves a mitigating function in one case, but then subsequently ignore the same factor when it serves an aggravating function in the other case; a defendant's legally‐required compliance with institutional regulations during his term of pre‐trial and pre‐sentencing detention is not a substantially mitigating factor for purposes of sentencing; and, at defendant's resentencing, the district court shall accord substantially greater weight to the specified 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) factors. Accordingly, the court remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Mumuni" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law