Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

by
Vera sued the Republic of Cuba for the extrajudicial killing of his father in 1976. In 2008, Vera obtained a default judgment against Cuba in Florida state court, relying on the “terrorism exception” to sovereign immunity, 28 U.S.C. 1605A(a)(1). Vera then secured a default judgment against Cuba in a U.S. District Court in New York, which granted full faith and credit to the Florida judgment. Vera served information subpoenas on the New York branches of various foreign banks, including BBVA, which refused to comply with the subpoena’s request for information regarding Cuban assets located outside the U.S. BBVA moved to quash the subpoena, contending that Vera’s judgment was void for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. 1602. The Second Circuit reversed in favor of BBVA. The district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Vera’s action against Cuba because Cuba was not designated a state sponsor of terrorism at the time Vera’s father was killed. Vera failed to establish that Cuba was designated a state sponsor of terrorism as a result of his father’s death. The FSIA’s terrorism exception to sovereign immunity—the only potential basis for subject matter jurisdiction— did not apply. Cuba was immune from Vera’s action. View "Vera v. Republic of Cuba" on Justia Law

by
In 2015, Swain was fired from his job with Hermès managing the company’s New Jersey boutique at the Mall at Short Hills. Swain, a New Jersey resident, sued Hermès in New Jersey state court, asserting claims under New Jersey state law for discrimination and hostile work environment on the basis of sexual orientation, retaliation, and breach of contract. Swain named Hermès, and Bautista, who worked with Swain at the Short Hills Hermès store, as defendants. Asserting federal jurisdiction based on diversity of citizenship, Hermès filed a petition in federal district court to compel arbitration under Federal Arbitration Act section 4, naming Swain as the only respondent and citing a dispute resolution protocol that he had allegedly signed. The Second Circuit affirmed, in favor of Hermès. Swain did not contest the arbitrability of his dispute or that Swain and Hermès were citizens of different states. The court rejected Swain’s argument that it should “look through” the petition to the underlying dispute, as defined in Swain’s New Jersey lawsuit, and conclude that complete diversity is lacking because Swain and Bautista, who is adverse to Swain in his state court litigation in New Jersey, are both citizens of that state. View "Hermès of Paris, Inc. v. Swain" on Justia Law

by
The Second Circuit vacated the district court's determination that plaintiff asserted claims only under federal law, its dismissal of claims against the individual defendants, and its dismissal of plaintiff's hostile work environment claim. At issue in this appeal was whether a pro se litigant forfeits her claims under New York state and local discrimination law where she has alleged facts supporting such claims, but fails to check a blank on a form complaint indicating that she wishes to bring them. The court held that such a bright-line rule runs counter to the court's policy of liberally construing pro se submissions, and that plaintiff's complaint in this case should have been read by the district court to assert claims under New York state and local discrimination law as well as under federal law. The court addressed the balance of plaintiff's claims on appeal in a summary order issued simultaneously with this opinion, and remanded for further proceedings. View "McLeod v. The Jewish Guild for the Blind" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit after the county refused to return her longarms that had been seized in connection with a New York Family Court temporary order of protection issued against her, even though the order was no longer in effect. The Second Circuit held that, because the litigation had not terminated on the merits, the district court's order was not final, and thus not appealable under 28 U.S.C. 1291. However, under 28 U.S.C. 1292, the the court had jurisdiction to review the district court's grant of injunctive relief. The court held, consistent with the district court's decision in the instant case, and the decision in Razzano v. Cty. of Nassau, 765 F. Supp. 2d 176, 180 (E.D.N.Y. 2011), that persons in plaintiff's situation were entitled to a prompt post-deprivation hearing under the four conditions set forth by the district court in this case and in Razzano. Accordingly, the court affirmed the order insofar as it granted plaintiff an injunction and directed the County to hold a post-deprivation hearing. The court dismissed in all other respects. View "Panzella v. Sposato" on Justia Law

by
HSBC and the government appealed the district court's grant of a motion by a member of the public to unseal the Monitor's Report in a case involving a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with HSBC. The Second Circuit held that the Monitor's Report is not a judicial document because it is not relevant to the performance of the judicial function. By sua sponte invoking its supervisory power at the outset of this case to oversee the government's entry into and implementation of the DPA, the court explained that the district court impermissibly encroached on the Executive's constitutional mandate to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." Furthermore, even assuming arguendo that a district court could revoke a speedy trial waiver were it to later come to question the bona fides of a DPA, the presumption of regularity precludes a district court from engaging in the sort of proactive and preemptive monitoring of the prosecution undertaken here. View "United States v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A." on Justia Law

by
The Second Circuit vacated the district court's order denying plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees and costs incurred in litigating an appeal and cross-appeal under 42 U.S.C. 1988. After the court affirmed on the merits, the district court awarded a reduced award of attorneys' fees. The court affirmed the award in a summary order, stating that each side was to bear its own costs. The district court then denied plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees. The court held that its reference to "costs" in the context of Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 39 did not include attorneys' fees. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Hines v. City of Albany" on Justia Law

by
MGM filed suit claiming that Special Act 15‐7 of the Connecticut General Assembly placed it at a competitive disadvantage in the state's gaming industry. The Act creates a special registration pathway for the state's two federally recognized Indian tribes to apply to build commercial casinos on non‐Indian land. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, holding that any competitive harms imposed by the Act were too speculative to support Article III standing. In this case, MGM failed to allege any specific plans to develop a casino in Connecticut. View "MGM Resorts International Global Gaming Development, LLC v. Malloy" on Justia Law

by
Benjamin Ashmore appealed the district court's order dismissing him as the plaintiff in a whistleblower action under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 18 U.S.C. 1514A. Instead, the trustee of Ashmore's bankruptcy estate was substituted as plaintiff. The Second Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction because the district court's dismissal of the case as to Ashmore and the substitution of the trustee as plaintiff were interlocutory orders that were not immediately appealable. The court vacated the temporary stay of the district court proceedings and denied Ashmore's pending motion to stay as moot. View "Ashmore v. CGI Group, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The Water District appealed from the district court's judgment in a consolidated multidistrict litigation granting summary judgment to BP and Shell on the ground that the Water District's suit was barred by res judicata arising from 2002 and 2005 settlements. Claims against BP and Shell for MTBE contamination had been brought by the Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) in 1999 and were settled in 2002 and 2005 respectively. The Second Circuit vacated and remanded the Water District's claims against BP and Shell, holding that the Water District and OCDA were not in privity. View "In re Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBA) Products Liability Litigation" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed a putative class action alleging that grocery stores in New York operated by Whole Foods systematically overstated the weights of pre‐packaged food products and overcharged customers as a result.  The district court dismissed the complaint based on plaintiff's lack of Article III standing. The Second Circuit vacated and remanded, holding that the district court did not draw all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor. In this case, plaintiff plausibly alleged a nontrivial economic injury sufficient to support standing. According to the DCA's investigation, Whole Foods packages of cheese and cupcakes were systematically and routinely mislabeled and overpriced, and plaintiff regularly purchased Whole Foods packages of cheese and cupcakes throughout the relevant period. Therefore, the complaint satisfied the low threshold required to plead injury in fact. View "John v. Whole Foods Market Group" on Justia Law