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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of a permanent injunction enjoining the government from continuing to apply the requirement that government funds assisting plaintiffs' efforts to fight HIV/AIDS abroad could not be used to provide assistance to any group or organization that does not have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking. In Agency for Int'l Dev. v. Alliance for Open Soc. Int'l, Inc., 570 U.S. 205 (2013), the Supreme Court concluded that the requirement compelled speech in violation of the First Amendment. Applying the Supreme Court's reasoning in AOSI to this case, the court held that the speech of a recipient who rejects the government's message was unconstitutionally restricted when it has an affiliate who is forced to speak the government's contrasting message. The court rejected the remaining claims and held that the district court did not abuse its discretion. View "Alliance for Open Society International v. United States Agency for International Development" on Justia Law

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An interpleader defendant, NuStar, appealed the district court's partial final judgment rejecting its claims of entitlement to maritime liens against two chartered vessels. The district court ruled that NuStar was not entitled to maritime liens under the Commercial Instruments and Maritime Liens Act (CIMLA). The Second Circuit affirmed and held that the district court did not err in interpreting the CIMLA or ruling that maritime liens may not properly be granted based on principles of equity. The court held that NuStar's contentions as to the proper interpretation of the CIMLA was foreclosed by the court's recent decision in ING Bank N.V. v. M/V TEMARA, 892 F.3d 511 (2d Cir. 2018). Furthermore, the district court did not err by concluding that the exception to the general rule against a subcontractor's entitlement to a maritime lien did not apply to NuStar. View "Clearlake Shipping PTE Ltd. v. NuStar Energy Services, Inc." on Justia Law

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USOT appealed the district court's orders and partial final judgments rejecting USOT's claims that it was entitled to assert maritime liens against vessels owned or chartered by Hapag. The district court ruled that USOT's claims were governed by the Commercial Instruments and Maritime Liens Act and that physical suppliers who were subcontractors were not entitled to maritime liens. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment insofar as it concluded that USOT did not adduce evidence that it was ordered to provide the bunkers by Hapag or by an agent authorized by Hapag to order bunkers; affirmed the district court's conclusion that maritime liens cannot properly be conferred on the basis of equitable principles such as unjust enrichment; and vacated and remanded the district court judgment on the issue of whether Hapag directed that USOT be the physical supplier pursuant to the exception to the subcontractor rule. View "U.S. Oil Trading LLC v. M/V VIENNA EXPRESS" on Justia Law

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After Liberty refused to provide High Point a defense pursuant to the terms of insurance policies providing coverage for advertising injuries, the district court granted High Point's motion for partial summary judgment. The underlying litigation stemmed from Buyer's Direct's claim that High Point's Fuzzy Babba slipper infringed on the Snoozie's design patent. The Second Circuit agreed with the district court that as used in the counterclaims and with the additional context of the discovery demands in the underlying litigation, the term "offering for sale" includes advertising, such that Liberty owes High Point a defense. However, the court held that Liberty's duty to provide a defense did not arise until High Point provided Liberty with discovery demands served in the underlying litigation. Therefore, the district court vacated the award of damages and remanded for the district court to determine the amount of legal fees incurred from that point forward. View "High Point Design, LLC v. LM Insurance Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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Petitioner sought review of the BIA's decision affirming his order of removal and an IJ's denial of waiver of the joint filing requirement to remove the conditions on his permanent resident status on the grounds that his marriage had not been entered in good faith. The Second Circuit held that, although the underlying factual findings were subject to clear error review, whether the evidence satisfied a petitioner's burden to prove entitlement to a good faith marriage waiver was a mixed question of law and fact subject to de novo review. Therefore, the court remanded in part because the BIA applied only clear error review. Petitioner also sought review of the denial of his motion to reopen and reconsider. The court held that petitioner's argument was abandoned because he failed to assert a meaningful challenge to the BIA's denial of reopening and reconsideration. Therefore, the court denied in part. View "Alom v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss an action brought by the Sierra Club under the Clean Water Act, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Sierra Club alleged that Construx was engaged in "industrial activity" within the meaning of the Act without a permit. The court held that Construx's business activity, which involved recycling debris and waste and subsequently wholesaling aggregate materials it has crushed from that debris and waste, was "industrial activity" within the meaning of the Act. Therefore, Sierra Club's allegations were sufficient to demonstrate, at the pleading stage, that Construx was engaged in "industrial activity," notwithstanding that part of its business could also be classified as activity not subject to the Act. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Sierra Club v. Con-Strux, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Environmental Law

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The Second Circuit reversed the tax court's decision upholding 2008 tax deficiencies identified by the Commissioner upon application of the substance‐over‐form doctrine to recharacterize various lawful tax‐avoiding transactions as tax‐generating events for petitioners, their adult sons, a family trust, and a family‐controlled corporation. Specifically, petitioners challenged the tax court's decision to uphold a tax deficiency against them based on the Commissioner's recharacterization of Summa's tax‐deductible commission payments to a DISC as taxable dividends to Summa shareholders. The court held that the Commissioner was not precluded from defending the challenged recharacterization, but the substance‐over‐form doctrine did not support recharacterization of Summa's DISC commission payments as constructive dividends to its shareholders. Therefore, the court reversed the portion of the judgment holding petitioners liable for $77,850 in 2008 income taxes. View "Benenson v. Commissioner" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Tax Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's summary judgment dismissal of all claims in the Second Amended Complaint against defendants in an action stemming from construction projects with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The court held that MES's claims failed to articulate any support for its accusations that Safeco breached its contractual obligations or engaged in bad faith or tortious conduct. The court noted that the claim that Safeco acted inappropriately by attending the cure meetings was particularly frivolous. In this case, MES failed to identify any good faith basis, in law or on the basis of the agreements at issue, for its assertion that Safeco had no right to take steps to meet its obligations under the surety bonds. The court sua sponte awarded Safeco double costs. View "M.E.S., Inc. v. Safeco Insurance Co. of America" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence after he was convicted of stalking his victim for seven years. The district court appropriately applied a two-level sentencing enhancement for threatened use of a dangerous weapon under USSG 2A6.2(a), (b)(1)(D)‐(E), and thus defendant's sentence was not procedurally unreasonable. The court also held that defendant's 37 month sentence was substantively reasonable where the district court considered the 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) factors and appropriately accounted for the severity and duration of defendant's conduct and the extent of the harm inflicted on the victim. View "United States v. Yilmaz" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Plaintiffs appealed the district court's holding that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) preempted a two-tiered security bond provision contained in New York City Local Law 62 for the Year 2015, entitled the Car Wash Accountability Law. The law reduced the required bond amount when an applicant seeking a license to operate a car wash in New York City was a party to a collective bargaining agreement providing certain protections. The Second Circuit vacated the district court's order, holding that the district court erred in granting summary judgment on federal preemption prior to the completion of discovery. Accordingly, the court remanded the case so that the parties could take discovery. View "Association of Car Wash Owners Inc. v. City of New York" on Justia Law