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

Articles Posted in Constitutional Law
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Plaintiff filed suit alleging claims against two dentists, two unidentified Department of Corrections officials, and several municipal defendants for medical malpractice under state law and violations of his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights under 42 U.S.C. 1983. Plaintiff's claims stemmed from a gum condition that he alleges that was not adequately addressed.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint for failure to state a claim, concluding that plaintiff failed to plead that defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. The court concluded that plaintiff's claims against Defendant Greenman failed because he did not allege that Greenman acted with deliberate indifference. Rather, plaintiff disagreed with Greenman's assessment of the severity of plaintiff's condition and recommendation for treatment. The court also concluded that plaintiff's claim of deliberate indifference under the Eighth Amendment against Defendant Hamilton failed for similar reasons. In this case, the allegations failed to establish that Hamilton possessed a sufficiently culpable state of mind where, even if the court were to assume that a dental cleaning was inadequate and that plaintiff should have known this, a complaint that a physician has been negligent in diagnosing or treating a medical condition does not state a valid claim of medical mistreatment under the Eighth Amendment. Finally, plaintiff failed to allege that the Doe Defendants acted with deliberate indifference because he does not allege any personal involvement in alleged constitutional deprivations. View "Darby v. Greenman" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appeals the district court's judgment challenging the dismissal of his claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for false arrest, malicious prosecution, and the denial of the right to a fair trial against Defendants New York City Police Department Detective Rudy Anzalone and Lieutenant John Ryan, as well as his state law malicious prosecution claims against the City of New York, Detective Anzalone, and Lieutenant Ryan. Plaintiff's claims stemmed from his arrest for violations of state drug laws and the subsequent dismissal of his charges based on speedy trial grounds.The Second Circuit concluded that the district court properly granted summary judgment on plaintiff's false arrest claim because probable cause existed for his arrest on the charge of loitering for the purpose of gambling. In regard to the federal malicious prosecution claim, the court held that the district court erred in concluding that the dismissal of plaintiff's underlying narcotics charges on speedy trial grounds could not satisfy the "favorable termination" element for that claim. The court also found that the record evidence raises disputed issues of material fact that preclude summary judgment on the issue of probable cause for the federal and state malicious prosecution claims, and that the district court's dismissal of these claims on summary judgment against the City and Detective Anzalone was unwarranted. Likewise, the court concluded that there was sufficient evidence to overcome summary judgment on the fair trial claim based upon allegedly fabricated evidence conveyed to the prosecutors. Accordingly, the court vacated the dismissal of the malicious prosecution claims against Detective Anzalone and the City and the fair trial claim against Detective Anzalone and Lieutenant Ryan; affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in all other respects; and remanded for further proceedings. View "Kee v. City of New York" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs Horn and Jackson filed civil rights actions against the City of New Haven and law enforcement officials under 42 U.S.C. 1983. Plaintiffs each served more than 17 years in prison for a robbery and murder that they did not commit. Plaintiffs alleged that a police forensic examiner violated their due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment by withholding exculpatory ballistics reports in contravention of Brady v. Maryland.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of the examiner's motion to dismiss both actions, concluding that he cannot make out a defense of either qualified immunity or absolute immunity. In this case, the examiner is not entitled to qualified immunity where it was clearly established that a police forensic examiner, whether an analyst or technician fulfilling any of the roles associated with forensic analysis, in 1999 reasonably would have understood that he or she was required to turn over exculpatory information to the prosecutor. Furthermore, the examiner is not entitled to absolute immunity where, even if the court concluded that adjusting the margin of error in a General Rifling Characteristics (GRC) Report constituted prosecutorial advocacy, the complaint nowhere alleges that the examiner was asked or instructed to create a new GRC Report using a larger margin of error. View "Horn v. Stephenson" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction against defendants for alleged violations of the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), the New York State Clinic Access Act (State Act), and the New York City Access to Reproductive Health Care Facilities Act (City Act).The court held that the district court did not abuse its considerable discretion in denying a preliminary injunction. At this stage and as to the violations the district court found, the district court concluded that the Attorney General had not demonstrated irreparable harm. In this case, many of the issues are close ones and the court cannot say that the district court abused its considerable discretion in denying a preliminary injunction. Because the court did not disrupt the district court's determination that a preliminary injunction should not issue at this time, the court did not reach defendants' cross-appeal challenging the Attorney General's standing under the City Act or their constitutional challenges to FACE, the State Act, and the City Act. View "New York ex rel. James v. Griepp" on Justia Law

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FASORP brought suit against the NYU Defendants, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. In an Amended Complaint, FASORP pleads that its members have standing to challenge the Law Review's article-selection and editor-selection processes, as well as the Law School's faculty-hiring processes, all of which FASORP alleges violated Title VI and Title IX by impermissibly considering sex and race in its selection and hiring decisions.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint without prejudice and held that FASORP does not have standing to sue NYU because it has failed to demonstrate injuries to its members. In this case, even if FASORP's pleadings were found to sufficiently identify members who have suffered the requisite harm, FASORP fails to demonstrate that those members have experienced an invasion of a legally protected interest that is certainly impending or that there is a substantial risk that the harm will occur. The court explained that, without any "description of concrete plans" to apply for employment, submit an article, or of having submitted an article, that will or has been accepted for publication, FASORP's allegations exhibit the kind of "some day intentions" that cannot "support a finding of [] actual or imminent injury." View "Faculty, Alumni, and Students Opposed to Racial Preferences v. New York University" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants in an action brought by a certified class of individuals with disabilities, together with six disability-rights organizations, alleging that the failure to adequately maintain subway-station elevators violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act (RA), and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).As a preliminary matter, the court rejected the MTA's argument that this case is nonjusticiable, and the MTA's argument that the court must consider the accessibility of the transit system as a single unit that includes subways, buses and paratransit. The court concluded that there are genuine disputes of material fact as to whether frequent and inconvenient elevator outages deprive at least some passengers with disabilities of adequate access to the subway. However, the court explained that summary judgment would nonetheless be proper if it can be determined as a matter of law that reasonable accommodations are provided during those outages. Because the district court did not reach the issue of reasonable accommodations and did not sufficiently consider the NYCHRL claim, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled v. Metropolitan Transportation Authority" on Justia Law

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An organization that is not directly regulated or affected by a challenged law or regulation cannot establish injury-in-fact for purposes of organizational standing absent a showing that it suffered an involuntary and material burden on its established core activities.CTPU filed suit alleging that Connecticut's standards regarding the racial composition of its interdistrict magnet schools violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, concluding that CTPU has not established an injury-in-fact for purposes of demonstrating organizational standing. In this case, CTPU is an organization that is not directly regulated or affected by the challenged standards and CTPU has failed to show that it suffered an involuntary, material burden on its core activities. View "Connecticut Parents Union v. Russell-Tucker" on Justia Law

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An organization that is not directly regulated or affected by a challenged law or regulation cannot establish injury-in-fact for purposes of organizational standing absent a showing that it suffered an involuntary and material burden on its established core activities.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of CTPU's complaint alleging that Connecticut's standards regarding the racial composition of its interdistrict magnet schools violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The court concluded that the district court properly dismissed the complaint based on lack of Article III standing. In this case, because CTPU is an organization that is not directly regulated or affected by the challenged standards and because CTPU has failed to show that it suffered an involuntary, material burden on its core activities, the court concluded that CTPU has not established an injury-in-fact for purposes of demonstrating organizational standing. View "Connecticut Parents Union v. Russell-Tucker" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, who were prescribed a metered-dose inhaler manufactured by defendant and approved by the FDA to alleviate symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, filed suit alleging violations of state law premised on defendant's allegedly deceptive labeling or defective design and manufacture of the metered-dose inhaler.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the claims as preempted by federal law. The court explained that plaintiffs' state law design and manufacturing defect claims are preempted to the extent that they would require any change listed in 21 C.F.R. 314.70(b)(2). In this case, the modifications that plaintiffs' claims would require under state law constitute "major" changes, and therefore those claims are preempted by federal law. Finally, the complaint failed to state any non-preempted claim and plaintiffs' remaining arguments are without merit. View "Ignacuinos v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc." on Justia Law

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Perez was born in rural Mexico in 1989 and entered the U.S. without authorization at age 13. He has two children, who were born in the U.S., whom he visits and helps support financially. In July 2016, Perez was attending a barbeque when a violent fight broke out. Several young men wielding bats and machetes were attacking a member of a rival gang. Perez borrowed a firearm from an acquaintance and fired several shots into the air. Hearing the gunshots, the young men scattered, and Perez returned to the barbeque and returned the gun to his acquaintance. Days later, the NYPD obtained a video recording of the incident, identified Perez, and identified the firearm.Perez was charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition while being an alien illegally and unlawfully in the U.S., 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(5). Perez unsuccessfully moved to dismiss the indictment, arguing that section 922(g)(5) on its face violated the Second Amendment by erecting a categorical bar on the possession of firearms by illegal or unlawful aliens. The Second Circuit affirmed. Assuming without deciding that, even as an undocumented alien, Perez is entitled to Second Amendment protection, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(5), as applied to Perez, withstands intermediate scrutiny. View "United States v. Perez" on Justia Law