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

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' second amended complaint alleging that Dunkin Donuts deceptively marketed two of its trademarked products -- the Angus Steak & Egg Breakfast Sandwich and the Angus Steak & Egg Wake-Up Wrap. Plaintiffs alleged that through representations made in labeling and television advertisements, Dunkin Donuts deceived consumers into believing that the Products contained an "intact" piece of meat when the Products actually contained a ground beef patty with multiple additives. The district court dismissed claims based on lack of general personal jurisdiction in New York and failure to state a claim. The court held that, under New York law, the act of registering to do business under section 1301 of the New York Business Corporation Law does not constitute consent to general personal jurisdiction in New York. The court rejected plaintiffs' arguments that Dunkin Donuts' contacts with New York were sufficient to subject it to general personal jurisdiction in the state, and agreed with the district court that plaintiff failed to allege a plausible violation of sections 349 and 350. View "Chen v. Dunkin' Brands, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision denying petitioner's application for deferral or removal under the Convention Against Torture. Petitioner contended that, if he was removed to Jamaica, he would be killed in retaliation for his earlier cooperation with law enforcement. The court held that the jurisdictional provision in 8 U.S.C. 1252(a)(2)(C), which limits this court's jurisdiction, applies only to cases where the IJ has found a petitioner removable based on covered criminal activity, and that it does not apply where a petitioner's order of removal is based solely on unlawful presence. The court also held that the IJ and BIA discounted petitioner's credible testimony without proper explanation, failed to consider substantial and material evidence that petitioner is likely to be killed if removed to Jamaica, and erroneously placed a burden on petitioner to prove he could not internally relocate in order to avoid torture. Accordingly, the court remanded petitioner's application for deferral of removal for further proceedings. View "Manning v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's vacatur of defendant's sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act and the district court's decision to resentence defendant to time served. The court held that the district court properly concluded that New York first-degree manslaughter is not a predicate crime of violence because it can be committed by omission and therefore without the use of force, as defined in Curtis Johnson v. United States, 559 U.S. 133 (2010). The court also held that New York first-degree manslaughter does not match any of the generic offenses enumerated in the Career Offender Guideline. Therefore, defendant did not have the requisite predicate offenses and could not be sentenced under the Career Offender Guidelines. View "United States v. Scott" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion as untimely. The district court held that petitioner could not show that his motion was timely under section 2255(f)(3) because the Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), did not recognize a retroactive right not to be sentenced based upon the residual clause in the Career Offender Guideline of the pre-Booker Sentencing Guidelines. The court held that Johnson did not itself render the residual clause of the pre-Booker Career Offender Guideline unconstitutionally vague and thus did not recognize the right petitioner asserted. Therefore, the district court properly denied the petition. View "Nunez v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the United States in a trip-and-fall case. Plaintiff tripped at a TSA checkpoint at JFK Airport when her suitcase's wheels locked up as she attempted to roll it over a thick mat that TSA placed in the flow of foot traffic. The court held that, under New York's trivial defect doctrine, any identified defect in the condition or placement of the mat was trivial and hence non-negligent as a matter of law. In this case, the presence of a floor mat placed on the floor, even a one-inch thick black mat on a black floor, is—under the triviality doctrine—simply not a sufficiently dangerous condition to constitute negligence. View "Coyle v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's multiple orders granting summary judgment in favor of plaintiff and holding Defendant March liable for interest at a default rate of 24 percent per annum dating back to February 1, 2008. In this case, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Madison Street; the district court's order confirming the interest calculations of the court-appointed referee; and the district court's denial of reconsideration or to adjust its award of per diem interest to Madison Street based on the delayed "entry of judgment." The court considered defendant's remaining arguments and concluded that they were either forfeited or without merit. View "1077 Madison Street, LLC v. March" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a legal permanent resident, sought review of an agency order of removal based on a finding that he committed an "aggravated felony" within the meaning of 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(G). Under section 1101(a)(43)(G), to establish an aggravated felony, the government must show by clear and convincing evidence that a noncitizen committed a "theft offense" that resulted in a term of imprisonment of "at least one year." Petitioner was a member of the U.S. Army when he pleaded guilty to four violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), one of which was larceny of military property. Under the military's customary practice of unitary sentencing at the time, the military judge issued a general sentence that imposed a punishment for all four of petitioner's convictions for 30 months' confinement. The Second Circuit held that, under the military's traditional unitary sentencing scheme, a military judgment in which a single sentence of confinement is imposed in connection with multiple counts of conviction may not be presumed to be equivalent to equal, full‐term, concurrent sentences as to each count of conviction. Because the government has not carried its burden, the court granted the petition for review and remanded for further proceedings. View "Persad v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint against the BOP and Warden Quay in an action alleging that defendants' curtailment of inmate-attorney visits at the MDC in early 2019 violated the Administrative Procedure Act, and the constitutional right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment. The court held that the district court erred in dismissing plaintiff's APA claim by failing to consider applicable BOP regulations in its zone-of-interests analysis. Furthermore, the district court misconstrued plaintiff's Sixth Amendment claim. Plaintiff brought this claim under the federal courts' inherent equitable powers, but the district court treated the claim as purporting to arise directly under the Sixth Amendment. The court thought it was prudent to defer ruling on the merits of the Sixth Amendment claim because plaintiff raised novel questions of constitutional law. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings and directed the district court to consider appointing a master to mediate the parties' differences at the earliest possible time to ensure that plaintiff has meaningful, continuous access to clients. View "Federal Defenders of New York, Inc. v. Federal Bureau of Prisons" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a putative class action under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA), alleging that defendant failed to provide plaintiff with a copy of the written authorization he gave online for recurring monthly charges to his debit card. The Second Circuit affirmed in part, holding that Webloyalty satisfied its obligation under the EFTA by providing plaintiff with an email containing the relevant terms and conditions of that authorization. In this case, the EFTA did not require Webloyalty to provide plaintiff with a duplicate of the webpage on which he provided authorization for recurring fund transfers, and Webloyalty's email to plaintiff was sufficient. However, the court held on a separate claim arising under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, that the district court erroneously dismissed the claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court considered plaintiff's remaining arguments and concluded that they were meritless. The court vacated in part and remanded for further proceedings. View "L.S. v. Webloyalty, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit seeking to recover unpaid principal amounts of defaulted Argentine sovereign debt. Plaintiffs are subscribers to the Republic of Argentina's 1994 sovereign debt offering who enrolled their bonds in a governmental tax‐credit program just prior to Argentina's 2001 default on the bonds. On appeal, plaintiffs challenged the district court's dismissal of their complaint on multiple alternative grounds. The Second Circuit held that the relevant question is not whether plaintiffs "own" the bonds but whether they may sue to enforce them. Moreover, the court held that, although the court has discretion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 44.1 to decide the relevant question of Argentine law in the first instance, the court also has discretion to remand so that the district court — which is better situated in these circumstances to implement Rule 44.1's flexible procedures for determining foreign law — may do so. Furthermore, the court did not think that the district court's reliance on the doctrine of adjudicative international comity as an alternative ground for dismissal was appropriate in these circumstances. Therefore, the court vacated the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' damages claim. However, the court affirmed the dismissal of plaintiffs' claim for injunctive relief. View "Bugliotti v. Republic of Argentina" on Justia Law