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

Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law
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This case arose from defendants' ownership in a manufacturing facility that used and disposed perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) which contaminated the water supply in the Village of Hoosick Falls, New York. Plaintiff, a construction company operating in the Village and the property owner, filed suit alleging property damage resulting from defendants' negligence in using and disposing of PFOA. On appeal, defendant challenged the district court's denial of defendants' motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) to dismiss the claims that defendants' negligence caused the corporate plaintiff to lose revenues and caused the individual plaintiff to suffer devaluation of his land.The Second Circuit held that the district court properly denied the motion to dismiss the claim of the property owner but erred in denying the motion to dismiss the claim of the company. The court saw no error in the district court's conclusion that the principle of 532 Madison Ave. Gourmet Foods, Inc. v. Finlandia Center, Inc., 96 N.Y.2d 8 280, 727 N.Y.S.2d 49 (2001), is inapposite to the claim of the owner, because he alleged physical contamination of his property, and thus is entitled to seek damages not only for that intrusion but also for the diminution in value of the property. Therefore, the motion to dismiss the owner's negligence claim was properly denied. However, the company's negligence claim to recover its purely economic damages should have been dismissed. The court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that the remaining claims lacked merit. View "R.M. Bacon, LLC v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp." on Justia Law

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This case arose from defendants' ownership in a manufacturing facility that used and disposed perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) which contaminated the water supply in the Village of Hoosick Falls, New York. On appeal, defendants challenged the district court's denial of their motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).For the reasons discussed in the Second Circuit's opinion issued on the same day in Benoit v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., Nos. 17-3941, etc., which was argued in tandem with the present appeal and involved the same issues, the court rejected defendants' contentions that the district court erred in denying their motion to dismiss plaintiffs' claims of personal injury and requests for medical monitoring as relief for such injuries, and in denying their motion to dismiss plaintiffs' claims of property damage. The court held that the district court's ruling that medical monitoring is available relief for claims solely of property damage is not an order that meets the criteria for immediate review under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). Therefore, the court dismissed, as improvidently allowed, so much of the appeal as seeks reversal of that part of the district court's order. View "Baker v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp." on Justia Law

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This case arose from defendants' ownership in a manufacturing facility that used and disposed perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) which contaminated the water supply in the Village of Hoosick Falls, New York. On appeal, defendants challenged the district court's order denying their Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motion, in 16 temporarily consolidated actions, to dismiss plaintiffs' claims.The Second Circuit held that the district court properly denied defendants' motion to dismiss the claims of injury to persons or property, and for medical monitoring with respect to personal injury. In regard to the district court's ruling that costs of medical monitoring can be awarded on the basis solely of injury to property, the court held that because plaintiffs request various types of relief in addition to medical monitoring, the ruling that medical monitoring is available relief for property damage is not one that meets the criteria for immediate review under 28 U.S.C. 1292(b). Therefore, the court dismissed, as improvidently allowed, so much of the appeal as seeks review of that part of the district court's order. View "Benoit v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's multiple orders granting summary judgment in favor of plaintiff and holding Defendant March liable for interest at a default rate of 24 percent per annum dating back to February 1, 2008. In this case, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Madison Street; the district court's order confirming the interest calculations of the court-appointed referee; and the district court's denial of reconsideration or to adjust its award of per diem interest to Madison Street based on the delayed "entry of judgment." The court considered defendant's remaining arguments and concluded that they were either forfeited or without merit. View "1077 Madison Street, LLC v. March" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's award of statutory damages to plaintiffs under the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990. Defendants are developers who destroyed aerosol artwork that plaintiff painted on buildings owned by defendants. The site was known as 5Pointz in Long Island City, New York, and evolved into a major global center for aerosol art, attracting thousands of visitors, numerous celebrities, and extensive media coverage.The court held that the district court correctly determined that temporary artwork may achieve recognized stature so as to be protected from destruction by VARA and that plaintiffs' work had achieved that stature. The court also held that the district court did not err in finding defendants' violations of VARA to be willful and that the district court's award of statutory damages was not an abuse of discretion. View "Castillo v. G&M Realty L.P." on Justia Law

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In a foreclosure action, the Second Circuit certified the following two questions to the New York Court of Appeals: (1) Where a foreclosure plaintiff seeks to establish compliance with RPAPL 1304 through proof of a standard office mailing procedure, and the defendant both denies receipt and seeks to rebut the presumption of receipt by showing that the mailing procedure was not followed, what showing must the defendant make to render inadequate the plaintiff's proof of compliance with section 1304? (2) Where there are multiple borrowers on a single loan, does RPAPL 1306 require that a lender's filing include information about all borrowers, or does section 1306 require only that a lender's filing include information about one borrower? View "CIT Bank N.A. v. Schiffman" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit challenging four amendments to the Village of Pomona's zoning law as violations of federal and New York law. The district court dismissed Tartikov's complaint in part and later resolved certain claims in defendants' favor. The remaining claims concluded with a verdict in favor of Tartikov. Defendants appealed the final judgment and Tartikov appealed the earlier orders dismissing certain claims.The Second Circuit held that Tartikov lacked Article III standing to pursue its free exercise, free speech,and free association claims under the federal and New York constitutions, Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) substantial burden and exclusion and limits claims, Fair Housing Act (FHA) claims, and common law claims related to the Berenson doctrine claims. Therefore, the court vacated the judgment with respect to those claims, remanding for instructions for dismissal. In regard to the remaining claims that went to trial, the court reversed the district court's judgment to the extent the claims invoke two of the challenged laws and affirmed insofar as the claims invoked the remaining two. Finally, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the as-applied challenges and challenges to the RLUIPA equal terms and total exclusion provisions. View "Congregation Rabbinical College of Tartikov, Inc. v. Village of Pomona" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit held that a landlord may be liable under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) for intentionally discriminating against a tenant who complains about a racially hostile housing environment that is created by and leads to the arrest and conviction of another tenant. In this case, the landlord allegedly refused to take any action to address what it knew to be a racially hostile housing environment created by one tenant targeting another, even though the landlord had acted against other tenants to redress prior, non‐race related issues. In holding that a landlord may be liable in those limited circumstances, the court adhered to the FHA's broad language and remedial scope. The court also held that post-acquisition claims that arise from intentional discrimination are cognizable under section 3604 of the FHA. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claims under the FHA and analogous New York State law, as well as his claims under 42 U.S.C. 1981 and 82. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Francis v. Kings Park Manor, Inc." on Justia Law

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At issue in this civil forfeiture appeal was whether the district court erred by exercising subject matter jurisdiction over a foreign state's property or abused its discretion by rejecting defendants' statute‐of‐limitations defense sua sponte. The Second Circuit held that the district court had jurisdiction because the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) does not foreclose in rem civil‐forfeiture suits against a foreign state's property.In this case, however, the district court abused its discretion by sua sponte resolving the statute‐of‐limitations issue without providing defendants notice or an opportunity to defend themselves. Finally, an accompanying summary order considered and rejected defendants' additional challenges. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Assa Co. Ltd." on Justia Law

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The United States filed a civil action seeking forfeiture of property owned by the claimant. The jury ultimately found for the government and the district court entered judgment ordering forfeiture of the claimants' property.The Second Circuit held that the district court abused its discretion by denying the claimants' motion for discovery on their statute-of-limitations defense and erroneously granted the government's motion for summary judgment on the timeliness issue; the district court erroneously denied claimants' motion to suppress by incorrectly concluding that the exclusionary rule's good‐faith exception forgave the warrant's defects and by applying the wrong legal standard for the inevitable‐discovery exception; and the district court abused its discretion in its orders forbidding the former Alavi board members from testifying at trial, allowing the government to play the videotaped Fifth Amendment invocations, and prohibiting the claimants from mounting their preferred defense. Accordingly, the court reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "In re 650 Fifth Avenue & Related Properties" on Justia Law