Articles Posted in U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals

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Plaintiffs, cleaning workers who purportedly were exposed to toxic contaminants while working in buildings on the periphery of the World Trade Center site following the September 11, 2001, attacks, filed suit against defendants, owners of various buildings in lower Manhattan that were damaged or destroyed in the attacks. At issue on appeal are two district court orders: 1) the district court's grant of summary judgment dismissing the claims of 211 plaintiffs who answered "none" to an interrogatory asking plaintiffs to identify "diagnosed" conditions, injuries, and diseases for which they were seeking recovery; and 2) the district court's dismissal of the claims of another 31 plaintiffs for failure to prosecute because they did not certify their interrogatory responses by a court ordered deadline. The court concluded that the district court erred in granting summary judgment to plaintiffs based solely on their answer "none" to the "diagnosed" condition interrogatory without considering the record as a whole. However, the district court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the claims of the 31 plaintiffs for failure to prosecute. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. View "In Re: World Trade Center Lower Manhattan Disaster Site Litig." on Justia Law

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The United States appealed defendant's sentence imposed after he pled guilty to one count of filing a false corporate tax return. The court held that the district court failed to conduct a meaningful review of the 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) sentencing factors and that the cost of incarceration, much less a political phenomenon styled a "government shut-down," was not a permissible factor to consider in determining whether to impose a term of imprisonment. The court held that the probationary sentence imposed was substantively unreasonable in light of the need for deterrence and just punishment and the district court's own remarks suggesting that a term of imprisonment was warranted. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Park" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, representatives of hundreds of Americans killed in multiple Iran-sponsored terrorist attacks, have billions of dollars of unpaid compensatory damages judgments against Iran stemming from these attacks. The district court awarded turnover of $1.75 billion in assets under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 (TRIA), 28 U.S.C. 1610, and a statute enacted specifically to address the assets at issue in this case, 22 U.S.C. 8772. Because Iran concedes that the statutory elements for turnover of the assets under section 8772 have been satisfied, the court rejected Iran's arguments that section 8772 conflicts with the Treaty of Amity, 8 U.S.T. 899, between the United States and Iran, violates separation of powers, and effects an unconstitutional taking. The court also concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in issuing an anti-suit injunction to protect its judgment. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Peterson v. Islamic Republic of Iran" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, an Italian citizen, sought the return of his two sons from the United States from their Italian citizen mother under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, T.A.S. No. 11, 670, 1343 U.N.T.S. 89, as implemented in the United States by the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, 42 U.S.C. 11601-10. The court affirmed the district court's holding that returning the children would pose a grave risk of harm under Article 13(b) to one of the sons, who has severe autism, and that separating the siblings would pose a grave risk of harm to both of them. The court held, however, that the district court's decision to deny the petition without prejudice to renewal was error and amended the judgment to deny the petition with prejudice. View "Ermini v. Vittori" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, seeking disclosure of records held by NARA of archived presidential and vice-presidential materials submitted by or on behalf of former President George W. Bush and former Vice-President Richard B. Cheney. The court concluded that the records are protected by FOIA's Exemption 6, which permits the withholding of personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. The records requested in this case were made for purposes of private speech, perhaps for preparation of memoirs, and reveal preliminary thinking and personal matters. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to NARA. View "Cook v. Nat'l Archives & Records Admin." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the denial of her application for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income. The district court granted the Commissioner's motion for judgment on the pleadings, finding that the ALJ's denial of benefits was supported by substantial evidence. The court concluded that, although the ALJ erred in posing an incomplete hypothetical question, the error was harmless because the hypothetical question posed to the vocational expert implicitly (and sufficiently) accounted for plaintiff's particular non-exertional limitations. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "McIntyre v. Colvin" on Justia Law

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VRLC is a non-profit corporation and VRLC-FIPE is a political committee formed under Vermont law. VRLC challenged three disclosure provisions of Vermont's election laws as unconstitutionally vague and violating freedom of speech. The court concluded that the Vermont statutory disclosure provisions concerning electioneering communications and mass media activities are constitutional and did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment's due process guarantee due to vagueness nor the First Amendment's free speech guarantee; Vermont's "political committee" definition did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment's due process guarantee because of vagueness nor violate the First Amendment's free speech guarantee; and Vermont may impose contribution limits on VRLC-PC, an entity that makes contributions to candidates, and the statute's contribution limits were constitutionally applied to VRLC-FIPE, which claims to be an independent-expenditure-only PAC. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants. View "Vermont Right to Life Committee v. Sorrell, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs appealed the district court's dismissal of their claims against four trusts to which their loans and mortgages were assigned in transactions involving the mortgagee bank, and against those trusts' trustee. The district court granted defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, finding that plaintiffs were neither parties to nor third-party beneficiaries of the assignment agreements and therefore lacked standing to pursue the claims. It is undisputed that in 2009 or 2010, each plaintiff was declared to be in default of his mortgage, and foreclosure proceedings were instituted in connection with the institution of said foreclosure proceedings, the trustee claimed to own each of plaintiff's mortgage and that plaintiffs are not seeking to enjoin foreclosure proceedings. Assuming that these concessions have not rendered plaintiffs' claims moot, the court affirmed the district court's ruling that plaintiffs lacked standing to pursue their challenges to defendants' ownership of the loans and entitlement to payments. Plaintiffs neither established constitutional nor prudential standing to pursue the claims they asserted. View "Rajamin v. Deutsche Bank Nat'l Trust Co." on Justia Law

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After the jury returned a verdict in favor of ING on its breach of contract claims, the jury awarded ING attorney's fees under Georgia law. UPS moved under Rule 59(e) to amend the judgment to set aside the award of attorney's fees or, alternatively, for a new trial on the issue of attorney's fees. The court held that the district court erred in setting the verdict aside in light of UPS's failure to move for relief under Rule 50(a) and the existence of evidentiary support in the record for the jury's verdict. The court also concluded that a new trial was not warranted. Accordingly, the court reversed the order granting UPS's motion and remanded with instructions to reinstate the verdict and resolve ING's motion to set attorney's fees. View "ING Global v. United Parcel Service Oasis Supply Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the district court's dismissal of his original complaint against DIL and his amended complaint against DIL's wholly-owned subsidiary, Daikin America. Plaintiff, a white male of United States origin, alleged that DIL and Daikin discriminated against him on the basis of his race and national origin. Plaintiff claimed that, for discriminatory reasons, Daikin America did not consider terminating any of the Japanese rotational employees or any employees of Japanese national origin who had been hired directly by Daikin America. The court concluded that, under the standards articulated in Cook v. Arrowsmith Shelburne, Inc., plaintiff sufficiently alleged that DIL was part of a "single integrated enterprise" with Daikin America to be properly named as a codefendant; plaintiff plausibly alleged a claim of race and national origin discrimination against both defendants; and, therefore, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing plaintiff's breach of contract claim because he failed to allege that either defendant maintained a written policy of terminating employees only for cause. View "Brown v. Daikin America Inc." on Justia Law