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

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Plaintiff appealed the dismissal of his claims against Pfizer for alleged violations of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733, and state law equivalents. The court held that it lacked jurisdiction over the appeal because the court could not discern how much of the complaint the district court intended to dismiss. Accordingly, the court dismissed the appeal. View "United States, ex rel. Dr. Jesse Polansky v. Pfizer, Inc." on Justia Law

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TechnoMarine holds various trademark and copyright registrations for its word mark, logo, and watch dial. At issue in this appeal was whether a prior litigation between TechnoMarine and Giftports resolving claims of trademark infringement and other unfair business practices, and stemming from earlier conduct, bars the present suit of TechnoMarine over similar conduct that occurred after the settlement of the earlier suit. The court concluded that res judicata did not bar the trademark and other unfair business practice claims that arose after the original settlement agreement between the parties; the court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint on the alternative basis that TechnoMarine failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted where TechnoMarine failed plausibly to plead its claims for trademark infringement, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, tortious interference, unfair competition, or copyright infringement; and the court affirmed the district court's denial of TechnoMarine's request to amend its complaint because TechnoMarine failed to indicate how further amendment would cure its pleading deficiencies. View "Technomarine SA v. Giftports, Inc." on Justia Law

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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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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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D'Amico filed suit to enforce an English court's judgment on a forward freight agreement (FFA) between D'Amico and Primera. On appeal, D'Amico challenged the district court's dismissal of its complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The district court granted Primera's motion to dismiss, holding that the suit did not fall under the federal courts' admiralty jurisdiction because the English judgment was not rendered by an admiralty court and the claim underlying the judgment was not deemed to be maritime under English law. The court concluded that, under 28 U.S.C. 1333, United States courts have jurisdiction to enforce a judgment of a foreign non-admiralty court if the claim underlying that judgment would be deemed maritime under the standards of U.S. law. Because the district court did not consider this question, the court remanded to the district court to make that determination in the first instance. Therefore, the court vacated the judgment and remanded. View "D'Amico Dry Ltd. v. Primera Maritime, et al." on Justia Law

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After the attacks of September 11, 2001, thousands of lawsuits were filed against the City, private contractors, and the WTC Captive. Following years of litigation and extensive negotiations, the parties agreed on a comprehensive settlement process. In these consolidated appeals, three of the district court's orders regarding the settlement process are at issue. The court vacated the order of the district court with respect to the Bonus Payment and remanded for further proceedings in this respect; reversed the order of the district court as to the Contingent Payment; affirmed the order of the district court denying a contingency attorneys' fees as to the Bonus Payment; and dismissed the appeal from the order denying a contingency attorneys' fee as to the First Contingent Payment. View "Cirino et al. v. City of New York et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that New York City officers used excessive force when arresting her. On appeal, plaintiff primarily seeks a new trial on damages and challenges portions of the district court's order awarding attorney's fees and costs incurred prior to the date of defendants' Rule 68 Offer. The court concluded that the district court did not err in refusing to give a separate charge as to future damages and plaintiff failed to establish that any potentially improper conduct by defense counsel prejudiced the jury's award of punitive damages. The district court properly applied Rule 68 and did not abuse its discretion by reducing the reasonable hourly rate of plaintiff's lead counsel. The court held that Rule 68 offers need not, as a per se rule, expressly apportion damages among multiple defendants. With respect to apportionment, a Rule 68 offer is operative so long as it is capable of being compared to the prevailing plaintiff's ultimate recovery. Because the Offer meets this standard, the court affirmed the district court's decision. The court rejected plaintiff's claim that the district court erred in reducing the amount of her awardable attorney's fees. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment and order of the district court. View "Stanczyk v. City of New York, et al." on Justia Law

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Sonera, a Dutch holding corporation, filed suit in district court to enforce a final arbitration award against Cukurova, the parent company of a large Turkish conglomerate. The district court held that it had personal jurisdiction over Cukurova based primarily on the New York contacts of several companies with which Cukurova is affiliated. The Supreme Court's decision in Daimler AG v. Bauman reaffirms that general jurisdiction extends beyond an entity's state of incorporation and principal place of business only in the exceptional case where its contacts with another forum are so substantial as to render it "at home" in that state. Even assuming that the activities of Cukurova's affiliates can be ascribed to it for the purpose of general jurisdiction analysis, Cukurova lacks sufficient contacts with New York to render it "at home" there. Accordingly, the court reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. View "Sonera Holding B.V. v. Cukurova Holding A.S." on Justia Law

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The European Community filed suit against RJR, alleging that RJR directed, managed, and controlled a global money-laundering scheme with organized crime groups in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute, 18 U.S.C. 1961 et seq., laundered money through New York-based financial institutions and repatriated the profits of the scheme to the United States, and committed various common law torts in violation of New York state law. The court concluded that the district court erred in dismissing the federal and state law claims; the court disagreed with the district court's conclusion that RICO cannot apply to a foreign enterprise or to extraterritorial conduct; the court concluded that, with respect to a number of offenses that constitute predicates for RICO liability and were alleged in this case, Congress had clearly manifested an intent that they apply extraterritorially; and, as to the other alleged offenses, the Complaint alleged sufficiently important domestic activity to come within RICO's coverage. The court also concluded that the district court erred in ruling that the European Community's participation as a plaintiff in this lawsuit destroyed complete diversity; the European Community is an "agency or instrumentality of a foreign state" under 28 U.S.C. 1603(b) and therefore, qualified as a "foreign state" for purposes of 28 U.S.C. 1332(a)(4); and its suit against "citizens of a State or of different States" came within the diversity jurisdiction. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "European Community v. RJR Nabisco, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a putative class action against MERS in state court asserting claims related to MERS's facilitation of the provision of "Esign" mortgages to consumer-borrowers. MERS appealed the district court's grant of a motion to remand to New York state court on the ground that MERS's notice of removal was untimely. The court reversed and held that, in Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) cases, the 30-day removal periods of 28 U.S.C. 1446(b)(1) and (b)(3) are not triggered until the plaintiff serves the defendant with an initial pleading or other paper that explicitly specifies the amount of monetary damages sought or sets forth facts from which an amount in controversy in excess of $5,000,000 can be ascertained. The court also held that where a plaintiff's papers failed to trigger the removal clocks of sections 1446(b)(1) and (b)(3), a defendant may remove a case when, upon its own independent investigation, it determines that the case is removable. Therefore, the 30-day removal periods of sections 1446(b)(1) and (b)(3) are not the exclusive authorizations for removal in CAFA cases. In this instance, plaintiffs never served MERS with a complaint or subsequent document explicitly stating the amount in controversy or providing MERS with sufficient information to conclude the threshold amount in controversy was satisfied. Therefore, the removal clocks of section 1446(b)(1) and (b)(3) did not commence. After MERS determined upon its independent investigation that section 1332(d) conveyed CAFA federal jurisdiction because the amount in controversy, number of plaintiffs, and minimal diversity requirements were satisfied, it properly removed the case by alleging facts adequate to establish the amount in controversy in its notice of removal. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "Cutrone v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc." on Justia Law