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

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's order denying the Unions' request for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the implementation of three Executive Orders relating to federal labor-management relations. The Orders and Guidances issued by President Trump address collective bargaining, work time for representational activities, and discipline and discharge.After an independent review of the record and relevant case law, the court affirmed for substantially the reasons set forth by the district court in its carefully reasoned December 10, 2019 decision and order. The district court held that (1) it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the Unions' substantive Administrative Procedure Act (APA) claim; and (2) the Unions' procedural APA claim was unlikely to succeed on the merits because the Guidances were not subject to notice-and-comment rulemaking as the Orders were "presumptively legally binding" and the Guidances "did nothing more than summarize the legally binding . . . Orders." View "Service Employees International Union Local 200 v. Trump" on Justia Law

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After Plaintiffs Moya and Ruiz applied to become naturalized citizens of the United States and the government denied their requests for disability exemptions from the civics and English testing requirements, they filed suit in federal court claiming that the naturalization process is unlawful.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' claims, holding that the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) does not allow Moya and Ruiz to seek judicial review of their denial of their applications until after completion of the available administrative review procedures, and thus Moya and Ruiz did not exhaust their administrative remedies. The court also held that the district court correctly found that the other plaintiff in this appeal, YMPJ, had Article III standing to sue, but did not fall within the zone of interests of the INA, the Administrative Procedure Act, or the Due Process Clause. Therefore, YMPJ, a non-profit organization that assists applicants for naturalization, could not bring a cause of action on its own behalf. View "Moya v. United States Department of Homeland Security" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion for a reduction in sentence under the First Step Act of 2018. The court held that the First Step Act does not require that an eligible defendant receive a plenary resentencing, and it does not obligate a district court to recalculate an eligible defendant's Guidelines range, except to account for those changes that flow from Sections 2 and 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, when considering as a discretionary matter whether (or by how much) to grant a sentence reduction. The court also held that the district court's minor factual misstatement regarding the timing of one of defendant's prison disciplinary infractions does not require remand because the error did not affect his substantial rights. View "United States v. Moore" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Second Circuit reversed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress a firearm discovered after police officers pat-frisked defendant during a traffic stop. The court held that the officers lacked an objectively reasonable belief that defendant was armed and dangerous. The court stated that, at most, the officers had reason to believe that defendant possessed something illicit, but the Constitution requires that the officers have reason to believe this something was dangerous. Therefore, the suppression of the firearm was warranted as the fruit of an illegal search conducted in violation of the Fourth Amendment. View "United States v. Weaver" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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New York State appealed from the district court's consolidated judgments invalidating the State's Opioid Stewardship Act (OSA), which requires opioid manufacturers and distributors to make an annual payment to fund statewide opioid-related services but prohibits them from passing the costs of those payments through to their customers.The Second Circuit held that the OSA's opioid stewardship payment is a tax within the meaning of the Tax Injunction Act (TIA), and that the district court should have dismissed plaintiff's challenges to the payment under the TIA for lack of jurisdiction. After considering the factors in Entergy Nuclear Vt. Yankee, LLC v. Shumlin, 737 F.3d 228, 232–33 (2d Cir. 2013), and San Juan Cellular Telephone Co. v. Public Service Commission, 967 F.2d 683, 685 (1st Cir. 1992), the court concluded that the primary purpose of the opioid stewardship payment is to raise revenue, not to punish or regulate plaintiffs and other licensees who are required to make the payment. Accordingly, the court reversed the judgments, except insofar as they relate to the pass-through prohibition, which is not before the court. View "Association for Accessible Medicines v. James" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law
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On January, 2020, the Supreme Court stayed a preliminary injunction issued by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York enjoining DHS from implementing a final rule setting out a new agency interpretation of immigration law that expands the meaning of "public charge" in determining whether a non-citizen is admissible to the United States. While the appeal of that preliminary injunction was pending before the Second Circuit, the district court issued a new, nationwide, preliminary injunction preventing DHS from enforcing that same rule based on the COVID-19 pandemic.The Second Circuit granted DHS's motion to stay the second preliminary injunction, holding that DHS has shown a likelihood of success on the merits based primarily on the district court’s apparent lack of jurisdiction to issue the preliminary injunction during the appeal of its prior, virtually identical injunction (coupled with DHS's showing of irreparable harm resulting from its inability to enforce its regulation). The court also doubted whether the nationwide application of the injunction was proper in light of the considerations the court set forth in New York v. Dep't of Homeland Sec., which was not available to the district court at the time it issued the second injunction. Finally, the court concluded that DHS has shown irreparable injury from the district court's prohibition on effectuating the new regulation. View "New York v. Department of Homeland Security" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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Defendant was convicted of charges related to his attempted robbery of a convenience store. After a bifurcated trial where the jury convicted him of all counts, the district court dismissed the violence-in-Hobbs Act robbery count as duplicative of the Hobbs Act robbery count and then rejected the government's argument that the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) mandated imposition of a 15-year minimum incarceratory sentence on defendant.The Second Circuit held that defendant's arguments with respect to Count Three, the firearm-in-crime-of-violence count, are foreclosed by the court's opinion in United States v. Hill, 890 F.3d 51, 60 (2d Cir. 2018), in which the court held that Hobbs Act robbery qualifies, categorically, as a crime of violence under the elements clause of 18 U.S.C. 924(c); defendant's jurisdictional challenge to his conviction on Count Four, the felon-in-possession count, is similarly foreclosed by United States v. Balde, 943 F.3d 73, 92 (2d Cir. 2019), and he cannot establish that the asserted evidentiary and other failures on the part of the government and the district court amount to plain error requiring vacatur or reversal; and the district court acted well within the permissible bounds of its discretion in its various evidentiary rulings and in denying defendant's motion for a new trial.In regard to the government's cross-appeal, the court held that its recent precedents confirm that New York Robbery in the Second Degree falls within the ACCA's definition of "violent felony" and that thus resentencing is required. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of conviction and remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Walker" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal, based on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), of plaintiff's amended complaint alleging that defendants violated Connecticut and District of Columbia law in entering into a licensing agreement with respect to a group plan for Medicare supplement insurance. Plaintiff claimed that defendants' royalty fee arrangement constituted an unlawful "premium rebate" in violation of Connecticut and District of Columbia anti-rebating insurance laws.The court held that plaintiff did not state an unlawful rebate claim under Connecticut or D.C. law because he failed to plausibly allege any ascertainable loss or injury as a result of his purchase of Medicare supplement insurance ("Medigap") or the AARP royalty fee. Likewise, the court held that plaintiff failed to plausibly allege a cognizable claim based on his purchase of Medigap insurance through the AARP-UnitedHealthcare plan. In regard to plaintiff's consumer protection claims, he failed to show any concrete and particularized injury because he paid only the regulator-approved rate and received the Medigap insurance he contracted for. Finally, plaintiff failed to plausibly allege the requisite elements for his remaining common law claims and his statutory theft claim under Connecticut law. View "Dane v. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant on remand of the Government's petition to enforce two Internal Revenue Service summonses, one sent to defendant in his personal capacity and one sent to him in his capacity as a trustee, based on the foregone conclusion and collective entity exceptions to the Fifth Amendment's self-incrimination clause. Defendant's appeal stemmed from the IRS's efforts to investigate his use of offshore bank accounts to improperly conceal federally taxable income.The court agreed with the district court that the Government has shown with reasonable particularity the documents' existence, defendant's control of the documents, and an independent means of authenticating the documents such that the foregone conclusion doctrine applies. The court also agreed with the district court that, as a matter of first impression in this Circuit, a traditional trust is a collective entity subject to the collective entity doctrine. View "United States v. Fridman" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for (1) conspiring to submit false voter registrations and buying voter registrations in violation of 18 U.S.C. 371 and 52 U.S.C. 10307(c) and (2) conspiring to violate the Travel Act by paying bribes for voter registrations and votes, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 371 and 1952. Defendant's convictions stemmed from his involvement in a criminal voting scheme to further a real estate development project.The court held that 52 U.S.C. 10307(c) applied to defendant's conduct because it exposed future federal elections to corruption. In this case, the prohibitions in section 10307(c) apply to any voter registration practices that expose federal elections – present or future – to corruption, regardless of whether any federal candidate is on the immediate ballot. The court explained that New York's registration process is unitary and thus defendant's fraudulent conduct has the potential to affect future federal elections.The court also held that defendant's payment to influence voter conduct fits within the generic definition of bribery and thus violated the Travel Act. The court explained that, because Travel Act bribery is construed broadly, the lack of a precise fit between New York Election Law 17-142 and the New York bribery statute does not matter. View "United States v. Smilowitz" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law