Justia U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Personal Injury
Rich v. Fox News Network, LLC
Plaintiffs appealed the district court's dismissal of their state tort claims against defendants, alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress, tortious interference with contract, and negligent supervision or retention. Plaintiffs' claims stemmed from the actions of Fox News employees after their son, Seth Rich, was murdered during a botched robbery. A Fox News Reporter, Malia Zimmerman, and a Fox News commentator, Ed Butowsky, recruited a contributor to infiltrate the Rich family in order to find information to give credence to a conspiracy theory that Seth had leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks and was assassinated for doing so. Applying de novo review, the Second Circuit held that the allegations in the complaint sufficiently stated a claim for intentional or reckless "extreme and outrageous" conduct against the Riches on the part of defendants; the complaint plausibly alleged that defendants tortiously interfered with the contract between the Riches and the contributor, who the Riches hired as a private investigator to look into the circumstances of Seth's death; and an amended complaint could likely cure any defect in plaintiffs' claim of negligent supervision or retention regarding the employment relationship between Fox News and Zimmerman and Wheeler. The court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "Rich v. Fox News Network, LLC" on Justia Law
Havlish v. 650 Fifth Avenue Co.
The Second Circuit held that the district court violated the mandate the court issued in a previous decision instructing it not to send the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) claims to trial, and that the district court violated the law of the case by finding that 650 Fifth Avenue Company is a foreign state under the FSIA. Without reaching the merits of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) claims, the court held that the district court abused its discretion by precluding two of defendants’ witnesses from testifying at trial. Finally, the court held that TRIA section 201 litigants lack the right to a jury trial in actions against a state sponsor of terrorism, including its agencies or instrumentalities. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for a new trial on section 201 claims. View "Havlish v. 650 Fifth Avenue Co." on Justia Law
Kirschenbaum v. Assa Corp.
The Second Circuit held that Assa must turn over substantial real and financial property interests to hundreds of terrorism victims holding default judgments against the Islamic Republic of Iran. The court held that the district court had subject matter jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) because Assa is an alter ego of Iran. The court also held that the district court had subject matter jurisdiction under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) because Assa is both an alter ego and agency or instrumentality of Iran and its property constituted blocked assets. Therefore, the court held that the district court correctly held that Assa’s property is subject to attachment and execution under section 201 of the TRIA. View "Kirschenbaum v. Assa Corp." on Justia Law
Siegel v. HSBC North America Holdings, Inc.
Plaintiffs, victims or representatives of victims in terrorist attacks in Amman, Jordan, filed suit alleging that defendants aided and abetted the attackers, in violation of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act by providing banking services to Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabiaʹs largest commercial bank, which was thought by some to have ties to al‐Qaeda in Iraq, the terrorist organization responsible for the November 9 attacks. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The court held that plaintiffs' civil aiding and abetting claim failed because plaintiffs failed to adequately allege that HSBC was generally aware of its role as part of an overall illegal or tortious activity at the time that it provided the assistance, and that HSBC knowingly and substantially assisted the principal violation. View "Siegel v. HSBC North America Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law
Force v. Facebook, Inc.
Plaintiffs, U.S. citizens of Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel, appealed the district court's dismissal of their federal civil antiterrorism and Israeli law claims against Facebook, alleging that Facebook unlawfully assisted Hamas in the attacks. Plaintiff argued that Hamas used Facebook to post content that encouraged terrorist attacks in Israel during the time period of the attacks. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment as to the federal claims, holding that 42 U.S.C. 230(c)(1) bars civil liability claims that treat a provider or user of an interactive computer service as a publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider. In this case, plaintiffs' claims fell within Facebook's status as the publisher of information within the meaning of the statute, and Facebook did not develop the content of the postings at issue. Therefore, section 230(c)(1) applied to Facebook's alleged conduct in this case. The court also held that applying section 230(c)(1) to plaintiffs' claims would not impair the enforcement of a federal criminal statute; the Anti-Terrorism Act's civil remedies provision, 18 U.S.C. 2333, did not implicitly narrow or repeal section 230(c)(1); and applying section 230(c)(1) to plaintiffs' claims would not be impermissibly extraterritorial. Finally, in regard to the foreign law claims, the court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction sua sponte to cure jurisdictional defects and therefore dismissed these claims. View "Force v. Facebook, Inc." on Justia Law
Sokolow v. Palestine Liberation Organization
After Congress enacted the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA), plaintiffs moved the DC Circuit to recall the mandate issued after the court's decision holding that the federal courts lacked personal jurisdiction over the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority (defendants). The court denied plaintiffs' motion and held that plaintiffs failed to show circumstances that warrant the extraordinary remedy of recalling the mandate. The court considered all of the arguments and, to the extent not specifically addressed, they were either moot or without merit. View "Sokolow v. Palestine Liberation Organization" on Justia Law
Kashef v. BNP Paribas S.A.
Plaintiffs filed suit under New York tort law, alleging that defendants conspired with and aided and abetted the Sudanese regime in its commission of widespread atrocities. The Second Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of the complaint under Civil Rule of Procedure 12 (b)(6), holding that the district court misapplied the act of state doctrine and erroneously determined that the adult plaintiffs' claims were untimely. In this case, considering the lack of evidence introduced by defendants that genocide is the official policy of Sudan, and the countervailing evidence that genocide blatantly violates Sudan's own laws, the court held that there was simply no "official act" that a court would be required to "declare invalid" in order to adjudicate plaintiffs' claims. Furthermore, the court held that the atrocities to which defendant asked the court to defer can never be the basis of a rule of decision capable of triggering the act of state doctrine, because circuit precedent prohibits the court from deeming valid violations of non-derogable jus cogens norms irrespective of the consent or practice of a given state. The court also held that plaintiffs' claims under the act of state doctrine were timely. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Kashef v. BNP Paribas S.A." on Justia Law
Eliahu v. Jewish Agency for Israel
The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' amended complaint in part for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and in part for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). Plaintiffs' claims arose from their dissatisfaction with the outcome of divorce proceedings in Israel and subsequent efforts by their ex‐wives, with the assistance of the charitable organizations, to collect child support from them. The court held that the district court properly dismissed all claims against the Israeli Officials for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because, as foreign government officials acting in their official capacity, they were entitled to immunity. With respect to the remaining defendants, plaintiffs failed to satisfy the domestic injury requirement of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in barring Plaintiffs Eliahu and Weisskopf from filing future related actions against defendants without its permission. In this case, the court considered the anti-filing injunction factors such as Eliahu and Weisskopf's history of vexatious litigation, their improper motives for pursuing the litigation, and the expense to defendants and burden on the courts. Furthermore, the court saw no reason to grant Eliahu and Weisskopf the latitude usually granted to pro se litigants, and concluded that other sanctions against them would be inadequate. View "Eliahu v. Jewish Agency for Israel" on Justia Law
Gibbons v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
In this multi-district litigation, plaintiffs brought a series of products liability actions against the makers of Eliquis for injuries they or their decedents suffered while taking the drug. In the multi-district litigation, the district court denied motions to remand many of the actions to state court and then dismissed 64 suits. The Second Circuit affirmed, holding that 28 U.S.C. 1441(b)(2) was no barrier to the removal of the transferred actions at issue. The court held that a home‐state defendant may in limited circumstances remove actions filed in state court on the basis of diversity of citizenship, was authorized by the text of Section 1441(b)(2), and was neither absurd nor fundamentally unfair. The court also affirmed the dismissal of plaintiffs' negligence and strict liability claims as preempted by the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act. In this case, plaintiffs' claims consisted of conclusory and vague allegations and did not plausibly allege the existence of newly acquired information. Therefore, plaintiffs' allegations were insufficient to state a claim that was not preempted. View "Gibbons v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co." on Justia Law
Cooke v. United States
The mailbox rule is inapplicable to claims brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's amended complaint alleging tort claims under the FTCA after CBP wrongfully detained and assaulted her at a highway checkpoint stop. The district court held that plaintiff failed to administratively exhaust her claims, and the claims therefore were barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Plaintiff argued that the common law mailbox rule applied. The court declined to reach the question of whether the requirements of the mailbox rule were met in this case and held that the mere mailing of a notice of claim did not satisfy the FTCA's presentment requirement. View "Cooke v. United States" on Justia Law