Justia U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Class Action
Elisa W. v. City of New York
Plaintiffs-appellants, nineteen children in New York City’s foster care system, filed suit alleging “systemic deficiencies” in the administration of the City’s foster care system in violation of federal and state law. The named Plaintiffs moved to represent a class of all children who are now or will be in the foster care custody of the Commissioner of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services and two subclasses. As remedies, they sought injunctive and declaratory relief to redress alleged class-wide injuries caused by deficiencies in the City’s administration—and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services’ oversight—of foster care. The district court denied Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. Plaintiffs appealed, arguing that the district court erred in its analysis of the commonality and typicality requirements under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a). The Second Circuit vacated the district court’s order denying class certification and remanded. The court held that the district court erred in its analysis of commonality and typicality under Rule 23. The court explained that the district court did not determine whether commonality and typicality exist with respect to each of Plaintiffs’ claims. Instead, it concluded that commonality was lacking as to all alleged harms because “Plaintiffs’ allegations do not flow from unitary, non-discretionary policies.” The court held that this approach was legal error requiring remand. Further, the court wrote that here, the district court largely relied upon its commonality analysis to support its finding that typicality was not satisfied. Thus, the deficiencies identified in its commonality inquiry can also be found in its handling of typicality. View "Elisa W. v. City of New York" on Justia Law
Kyros Law P.C. v. World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.
Appellants-Cross-Appellees Konstantine W. Kyros and his law firm, Kyros Law P.C. (together, “Kyros”), appealed from a judgment imposing sanctions for litigation misconduct under Rules 11 and 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In 2014 and 2015, Kyros brought several lawsuits against Appellees-Cross-Appellants World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. and Vincent K. McMahon (together, “WWE”). Subsequently, the district court imposed sanctions against Kyros in the amount of $312,143.55—less than the full amount requested by WWE. Kyros now appeals these final sanctions determinations. On cross-appeal, WWE challenged the district court’s reduction of the requested fee award by application of the “forum rule,” under which a court calculates attorney’s fees with reference to the prevailing hourly rates in the forum in which the court sits. The Second Circuit affirmed. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by imposing Rule 11 sanctions on Kyros. WWE’s sanctions motions and the district court’s order that reserved ruling on those motions gave abundant notice to Kyros of the repeated pleading deficiencies that risked imposition of sanctions, and he was afforded sufficient opportunity to be heard. The district court did not abuse its discretion by imposing Rule 37 sanctions on Kyros because Kyros failed to make a good-faith effort to comply with the district court’s order compelling responses to WWE’s interrogatories. The district court did not abuse its discretion by applying the forum rule to award WWE less than the requested amount of sanctions. View "Kyros Law P.C. v. World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc." on Justia Law
Bohnak v. Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc.
Plaintiff filed this nationwide class action on behalf of herself and others similarly situated after her personally identifying information (“PII”), including her name and Social Security number, which had been entrusted to Defendants, were exposed to an unauthorized third party as a result of a targeted data hack. At issue is the proper framework for evaluating whether an individual whose PII is exposed to unauthorized actors, but has not (yet) been used for injurious purposes such as identity theft, has suffered an injury in fact for purposes of Article III standing to sue for damages. The Second Circuit reversed and remanded. The court concluded that with respect to the question of whether an injury arising from risk of future harm is sufficiently “concrete” to constitute an injury, in fact, TransUnion controls; with respect to the question whether the asserted injury is “actual or imminent,” the McMorris framework continues to apply in data breach cases like this. Thus, the court concluded that Plaintiff’s allegation that an unauthorized third party accessed her name and Social Security number through a targeted data breach gives her Article III standing to bring this action against Defendants to whom she had entrusted her PII. View "Bohnak v. Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc." on Justia Law
Maribel Moses v. The New York Times Company
Objector-Appellant appealed from a district court judgment approving a settlement award, attorneys’ fee award, and incentive award in a class action lawsuit. Plaintiff-Appellee, on behalf of similarly situated subscribers in California, sued Defendant-Appellee The New York Times (“NYT”), claiming that NYT automatically renewed NYT subscriptions without providing the disclosures and authorizations required by California’s Automatic Renewal Law (the “ARL”). The parties negotiated a settlement agreement whereby class members dropped their claims in exchange for NYT’s reformation of its business practices and either Access Codes for one-month NYT subscriptions or pro rata cash payments. The settlement agreement also provided for the payment of substantial attorneys’ fees to class counsel and an incentive award to the class representative. Appellant objected to the proposed settlement, primarily arguing that the settlement is unfair, the attorneys’ fees calculation improperly exceeds limits set by the coupon settlement provisions of the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), and the incentive award is not authorized by law. The district court disagreed, certifying a class and approving the settlement, $1.25 million attorneys’ fees, and a $5,000 incentive award. On appeal, the Second Circuit agreed with Appellant that the district court exceeded its discretion when it approved the settlement based on the wrong legal standard in contravention of Rule 23(e). The court also agreed that the Access Codes are coupons, which subject the attorneys’ fees calculation to CAFA’s coupon settlement requirements. Because the district court’s conclusions are intertwined, the court vacated the district court’s judgment in its entirety and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings. View "Maribel Moses v. The New York Times Company" on Justia Law
Ark. Tchr. Ret. Sys. v. Goldman Sachs Grp., Inc.
Shareholders of Defendant-Appellant Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. brought this class action lawsuit against Goldman and several of its former executives, claiming defendants committed securities fraud in violation of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b–5 promulgated thereunder by misrepresenting Goldman’s ability to manage conflicts of interest in its business practices. After a number of appeals and subsequent remand, including an appeal to the Supreme Court, the district court once again certified a shareholder class under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3). The Second Circuit reversed the district court’s class certification decision with instructions to decertify the class. The court held that the district court clearly erred in finding that Goldman failed to rebut the Basic presumption by a preponderance of the evidence and, therefore, abused its discretion by certifying the shareholder class. The court explained that there is an insufficient link between the corrective disclosures and the alleged misrepresentations. Defendants have demonstrated, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the misrepresentations did not impact Goldman’s stock price and, by doing so, rebutted Basic’s presumption of reliance. Thus, the district court clearly erred in concluding otherwise and therefore abused its discretion in certifying the shareholder class. View "Ark. Tchr. Ret. Sys. v. Goldman Sachs Grp., Inc." on Justia Law
In re: Kimberly Bruce
Defendants Citigroup Inc. and Citibank, N.A. (collectively, “Citi”) appealed from the bankruptcy court’s order granting in part and denying in part Citi’s motion, pursuant to Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 7012, to dismiss Plaintiff’s amended complaint, or, alternatively, to strike or dismiss the nationwide class action allegations therein. On appeal, Citi advanced s two primary arguments. First, Citi argues that a bankruptcy court’s civil contempt power is limited to the enforcement of its own orders and, therefore, that the Bankruptcy Code does not authorize one bankruptcy court to adjudicate the claims of a nationwide class of former debtors seeking to hold Citi in contempt of discharge orders entered by other bankruptcy courts across the country. Second, Citi argues that Plaintiff’s claim for violation of her discharge order and injunction under 11 U.S.C. Section 524(a)(2) fails to satisfy the civil contempt standard under Taggart v. Lorenzen, 139 S. Ct. 1795 (2019).The Second Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the bankruptcy court’s order and remanded the case to the bankruptcy court. The court explained that the Bankruptcy Code does not authorize a bankruptcy court to enforce another bankruptcy court’s discharge injunction. Further, the court wrote that there is no Section 524 “affirmative act” deficiency here. An intentional and systematic refusal to update the credit report upon the debtor’s request constitutes “an act to collect” under Section 524(a)(2), where, objectively, it has the practical effect of improperly coercing the debtor into paying off a discharged debt. View "In re: Kimberly Bruce" on Justia Law
Roberts v. Genting
On January 6, 2014, Defendant Genting New York LLC, d/b/a Resorts World Casino New York City ("Genting"), closed the Aqueduct Buffet (the "Buffet"), a restaurant located inside the Resorts World Casino (the "Casino") where Plaintiffs worked. Genting gave Plaintiffs no notice of the closure, which took effect the same day and resulted in 177 employees being laid off. The next week, Plaintiffs filed a putative class action against Genting, alleging that its failure to provide notice violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (the "WARN Act"), and New York Labor Law Section 860 et seq. (the "New York WARN Act"). On cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court denied Plaintiffs' motion and granted Genting's. On appeal, Plaintiffs argue that the district court erred in granting summary judgment for Genting because, they claim, a reasonable jury could only conclude that the Buffet was either an operating unit or a single site of employment under the WARN Acts. The Second Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part. The court explained that Genting is not entitled to summary judgment because a reasonable finder of fact could conclude that the Buffet was an operating unit. Likewise, there is also evidence in the record to support the conclusion that the Buffet was not an operating unit. It will be for the finder of fact at trial to weigh the evidence comprising the "somewhat mixed" record in this case to answer the question. The court concluded that the district court erred in granting summary judgment for Genting and in dismissing Plaintiffs' claims under the WARN Acts. View "Roberts v. Genting" on Justia Law
MSP v. Hereford
Plaintiff, MSP Recovery Claims, Series LLC (“MSP”) appealed from the district court’s judgment dismissing for lack of standing its putative class action against Defendant Hereford Insurance Company (“Hereford”) and denying leave to amend. MSP has brought several lawsuits around the country seeking to recover from insurance companies that allegedly owe payments to Medicare Advantage Organizations (“MAOs”) under the Medicare Secondary Payer Act (the “MSP Act”). In the putative class action brought here, MSP charges Hereford with “deliberate and systematic avoidance” of Hereford’s reimbursement obligations under the MSP Act. The Second Circuit affirmed. The court concluded that MSP lacked standing because its allegations do not support an inference that it has suffered a cognizable injury or that the injury it claims is traceable to Hereford. The court also concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied MSP leave to amend based on MSP’s repeated failures to cure. The court explained that the plain language of Section 111 provides that when a no-fault insurance provider such as Hereford reports a claim pursuant to Section 111, it does not thereby admit that it is liable for the claim. The statutory context of the section’s reporting obligation and the purpose of the reporting obligation confirms the correctness of this interpretation. Because MSP’s argument that the payments made by EmblemHealth are reimbursable by Hereford rests entirely on its proposed interpretation of Section 111, MSP has not adequately alleged a “concrete” or “actual” injury or that the injury it alleges is fairly traceable to Hereford. View "MSP v. Hereford" on Justia Law
Contant v. AMA Cap., LLC
AMA Capital, LLC (“AMA”) is a claimant in an antitrust class-action settlement. The settlement agreement at issue required that each claimant substantiate its claims with such documents as class counsel and the claims administrator, in their discretion, deemed acceptable. The settlement agreement also provided each claimant with the opportunity to (1) remedy deficiencies in its claims before the claims administrator issued its decision and (2) if the claims administrator rejected its claims in whole or in part, contest the claims administrator’s decision within twenty days of the mailing of the rejection notice. In this case, the claims administrator rejected most of AMA’s claims because, among other things, AMA repeatedly failed to provide the requisite transactional records to support its claims. The district court agreed and also denied AMA’s motion for reconsideration based on documents it submitted subsequent to the claims administrator’s rejection. On appeal, AMA argues primarily that the district court erred by failing to consider documents it submitted during the post-rejection contest process and by denying its claims on the basis of improper evidentiary requirements. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s order holding that the claims administrator was not required to accept records during the contest process that were previously available to AMA, which is akin to a motion for reconsideration, and that the district court did not err by denying AMA’s claims. Moreover, because AMA has standing as a class member to appeal any denial of its claims, the court dismissed as moot the appeal in No. 22-19, which challenges the district court’s denial of AMA’s motion to intervene. View "Contant v. AMA Cap., LLC" on Justia Law
Michael Matzell v. Anthony J. Annucci et al.
Plaintiff, a former New York State prisoner, sued defendants-appellants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 for purportedly violating his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments when they denied his judicially ordered enrollment in New York's Shock Incarceration Program, thereby potentially extending his period of confinement. The district court denied the motion for judgment on the pleadings, holding that Plaintiff plausibly alleged that Defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity because they violated clearly established law. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings as to the Fourteenth Amendment claim, reversed the district court's denial of Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings as to the Eighth Amendment claim, and remanded for further proceedings. The court explained that Plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment claim fails at the second prong of the qualified immunity analysis: it was not clearly established at the time of Defendants' conduct that denying a prisoner the opportunity to obtain early release from his sentence of confinement by denying judicially ordered entry into the Shock program would violate the Eighth Amendment. Moreover, the court held that given the liberty interest at stake and the clarity of the statutory law, Plaintiff plausibly alleged that Defendants' actions were egregious, shocking to the conscience, and unreasonable. View "Michael Matzell v. Anthony J. Annucci et al." on Justia Law