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

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Petitioners challenged the SEC's denial of whistleblower awards following a $50 million settlement the SEC reached with Deutsche Bank AG. The Second Circuit denied the petitions for review, holding that it was not arbitrary or capricious for the SEC to conclude that Petitioner Doe's submissions did not provide "original information to the Commission that led to" a successful enforcement action, because Doe's submissions were not used by the Deutsche Bank team. Therefore, the SEC was not equitably estopped from denying Doe's award. The court also held that the SEC did not violate Doe's due process rights by failing to provide Doe with certain materials, and the SEC did not act arbitrarily or capriciously by favoring Claimant 2's submissions over Doe's. Furthermore, petitioners were not entitled to an award for the information they submitted in their Form TCR. Finally, the court held that petitioners' remaining claims were without merit. View "Kilgour v. SEC" on Justia Law

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King Mountain appealed the district court's judgment granting partial summary judgment for the State on its claims that King Mountain violated state laws on cigarette sales, and enjoining future violations. The State cross-appealed from the district court's dismissal of its claims under the Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act (CCTA) and the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT Act). The Second Circuit reversed with respect to the district court's grant of summary judgment for King Mountain and the denial of summary judgment for the State on the PACT Act claim. The court agreed with the State that Congress's decision to separately define "Indian country" and "State" in the PACT Act evidenced Congressional intent to expand the traditional understanding of "interstate commerce" rather than narrow it. The court held that the definition of "commerce between a State and any place outside the State," encompassed King Mountain's sales from the Yakama reservation in Washington State to Indian reservations in New York. The court agreed with the district court's holding that King Mountain, which was organized under the laws of the Yakama Nation, wholly owned by a member of the Yakama Nation, and located on the Yakama reservation, qualified as an "Indian in Indian Country," and thus was exempt from the CCTA. The court held that King Mountain failed to establish a violation of the dormant Commerce Clause; there was no error in the district court's determination that the State's third claim for relief was not barred by res judicata; the district court correctly granted summary judgment for the State on its third claim for relief; and, to the extent King Mountain's argument related to trade, there was no right to trade in the Yakama Treaty. Therefore, the court affirmed in all other respects. View "New York v. Mountain Tobacco Co." on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed the district court's denial of his challenge to an administrative forfeiture. In this opinion, the Second Circuit addressed and rejected defendant's argument that the Government failed to provide him with adequate notice of the administrative forfeiture action while he was in prison, in violation of his due process rights. The court affirmed the district court's judgment and held that the Government generally must demonstrate the existence of procedures reasonably calculated to ensure that a prisoner receives notice of the forfeiture action. The court agreed with the district court that the Government showed that its notice to the county jail where defendant was detained was reasonably calculated under all the circumstances to apprise defendant of the pendency of the cash forfeiture. View "United States v. Brome" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The State and City of New York filed suit charging UPS with violating the Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act (CCTA), the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT Act), and New York Public Health Law 1399-ll (PHL 1399-ll), as well as breaching its settlement agreement, the Assurance of Discontinuance (AOD), with the New York State Attorney General. The court held that UPS did not honor the AOD and was therefore subject to liability under the PACT Act and PHL 139-ll; UPS was liable for violations of the AOD's audit requirement; and UPS violated the CCTA by knowingly transporting more than 10,000 unstamped cigarettes. In regard to damages and penalties awards, the court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in allowing plaintiffs to present their damages case nor did it clearly err in making factual findings based on record evidence; the district court erred in awarding plaintiffs only half of the unpaid taxes on cigarettes UPS unlawfully shipped; and the district court abused its discretion in awarding per-violation penalties under both the PACT Act and PHL 1399-ll. Therefore, the court affirmed the judgment of liability and attendant penalties under PHL 1399-ll; affirmed the judgment of liability, but vacated the imposition of the penalties under the PACT Act; affirmed the judgment of liability, but modified the award of damages under the CCTA; affirmed the judgment of liability, but modified the award of penalties under the AOD; and affirmed the judgment as modified. View "New York v. United Parcel Service, Inc." on Justia Law

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This appeal stemmed from the jury's award of damages against Ritz-Craft for violation of the Vermont Consumer Protection Act in selling and constructing a modular home that plaintiffs purchased for their retirement. The Second Circuit certified a question of state law to the Vermont Supreme Court: whether a court may grant prejudgment interest to private litigants who are awarded compensatory damages under the Vermont Consumer Protection Act, Vt. Stat. Ann., tit. 9, 2461(b). The court resolved the remaining claims in the appeal and cross-appeal in a separate summary order. View "Brennan-Centrella v. Ritz-Craft Corporation of Pennsylvania" on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law
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Biocad, a private pharmaceutical company based in Russia, filed suit seeking damages and other relief for anticompetitive conduct by foreign entities in a foreign country that purportedly has delayed or prevented its entry into the United States market for cancer treatment drugs. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of Biocad's claims, holding that Biocad's Sherman Act claims were barred by the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (FTAIA), because the foreign nature of Biocad's alleged injuries placed its claims beyond the reach of United States antitrust laws. Based on the language, structure, and purpose of the FTAIA, the court held that the import exclusion applies when a defendantʹs actions immediately impact the United States import market and not merely when a defendant subjectively intends to affect the United States import market in the future. Declining to consider Biocad's theory of injury under the domestic effects exception of the FTAIA, the court held that Biocad failed to plausibly allege that defendants' purportedly anticompetitive conduct in Russia fell within the exception for conduct involving import commerce under the FTAIA. Furthermore, because Biocad has not stated a plausible claim for relief under the Sherman Act, its claim under the Donnelly Act also failed. View "Biocad JSC v. F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd." on Justia Law

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Presidential immunity does not bar the enforcement of a state grand jury subpoena directing a third party to produce non‐privileged material, even when the subject matter under investigation pertains to the President. President Trump filed suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent the District Attorney of New York County from enforcing a grand jury subpoena served on a third-party custodian of the President's financial records. The district court dismissed the complaint under Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), abstaining from exercising jurisdiction. In the alternative, the district court held that the President was not entitled to injunctive relief. The Second Circuit held that Younger abstention did not apply to the circumstances here, because the President raised novel and serious claims that were more appropriately adjudicated in federal court. The court held, however, that any presidential immunity from state criminal process did not extend to investigative steps like the grand jury subpoena in this case. Accordingly, the court affirmed as to the immunity question, vacated as to the Younger abstention issue, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Trump v. Vance" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated defendant's conviction of traveling interstate for the purpose of engaging in illicit conduct with a minor in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2423(b). Defendant had pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea agreement stipulating that when he was 25 years old, he traveled from Rhode Island to Connecticut for the purpose of having sexual intercourse with a young girl he told detectives he believed to be 16 years old when in fact she was younger than 16 but older than 13. The Second Circuit held that 18 U.S.C. 2423(b) is not a strict liability crime. The court held that the statute criminalizes interstate travel "for the purpose of" engaging in a sexual act with someone aged at least 12, not yet, 16, and at least four years the defendant's junior. In this case, defendant believed he was going to have sexual intercourse with a 16 year old and was thus not guilty of violating section 2423(b). The court remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Murphy" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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Plaintiff appealed the district court's grant of Healthport's motion for summary judgment in an action involving claims of excessive charges for medical records under the New York Public Health Law. The Second Circuit vacated the district court's judgment, because the court anticipates certifying certain questions to the New York Court of Appeals after a final judgment is entered, and wishes to avoid multiple, unnecessary proceedings. Therefore, the court remanded to the district court with instructions to reinstate Beth Israel as a party and to adjudicate the case to a final judgment. The court also remanded along the lines of the procedures set out in United States v. Jacobson, 15 F.3d 19, 22 (2d Cir. 1994), so that any new appeal will be referred to this panel. View "Ruzhinskaya v. HealthPort Technologies, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's finding that petitioner was removable for an aggravated felony. The court held that petitioner's conviction for first‐degree robbery in violation of Connecticut General Statutes 53a‐134(a)(4) is a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. 16(a) and therefore an aggravated felony under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii), 1101(43)(F). View "Wood v. Barr" on Justia Law