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

Articles Posted in Civil Procedure
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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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Conn. Genn. Stat. 4‐183(c) supplies an "explicit time limitation" of forty‐five days for appeals of final agency decisions under section 1415(i)(2)(B) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' complaint under the IDEA as time-barred. In this case, plaintiffs waited ninety days to commence their action and thus the district court properly concluded that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the case. View "P.M.B. v. Ridgefield Board of Education" on Justia Law

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Atlantic sought a declaratory judgment that the insurance policy it had issued to Coastal was void ab initio or, in the alternative, that there was no coverage for the loss of the barge or damage to an adjacent pier. District Court Judge Wexler passed away prior to issuing his findings of fact and conclusions of law. The case was transferred to Judge Azrack, who, after no party requested the recall of any witness under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 63, issued findings of fact and conclusions of law in her role as successor judge and entered judgment finding Atlantic liable to Coastal under the terms of the policy. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a)(6), factual findings of successor judges who have certified their familiarity with the record are subject to the "clearly erroneous" standard of review. The Second Circuit also held that, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 63, a successor judge is under no independent obligation to recall witnesses unless requested by one of the parties. In this case, the court found no reversible error in Judge Azrack's findings of fact and conclusions of law, including findings that Coastal did not breach its duty of uberrimae fidei, and thus the policy was not void; Atlantic failed to prove that the vessel was unseaworthy; the loss of the vessel was due to a "peril of the sea" and was covered by the policy; Coastal was entitled to damages for contractual payments withheld by its contractor for repairs to a pier; and Coastal proved its damages using only a summary spreadsheet of invoices, as evidence. View "Atlantic Specialty Insurance Co. v. Coastal Environmental Group Inc." on Justia Law

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After plaintiff filed suit against her employer for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime provisions, the employer made an offer of judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68(a) and plaintiff accepted. Before the judgment was entered, the district court sua sponte ordered the parties to submit the settlement agreement to the court for a fairness review and judicial approval, which the district court believed was required under the Second Circuit's decision in Cheeks v. Freeport Pancake House, Inc., 796 F.3d 199 (2d Cir. 2015). The court held, however, that judicial approval was not required of Rule 68(a) offers of judgment settling FLSA claims. The court considered amici's other arguments and found them to be without merit. Accordingly, the court reversed and vacated the district court's order, remanding with instructions. View "Mei Xing Yu v. Hasaki Restaurant, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's grant of Navidea's motion to dismiss on grounds that Platinum-Montaur lacked Article III standing. The court held that the district court erred by failing to determine whether there was complete diversity of citizenship between the parties and thus it was unclear whether it had subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1332. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Platinum-Montaur Life Sciences, LLC v. Navidea Biopharmaceuticals, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
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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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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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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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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