Justia Civil Procedure Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
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Civil Practice Law and Rules section 205(a), New York's "Saving Statute," does not permit a litigant to file an otherwise untimely "new action" within six months of a prior action, where that "prior action" was, itself, only made timely by a previous application of section 205(a).The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's order granting defendant's motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), on the grounds that the complaint was time-barred. In this case, the Second Circuit dismissed the 2018 Federal Action in a summary order dated January 23, 2020; defendant filed his initial complaint in the 2020 Action on July 8, 2020; and the court rejected defendant's contention that because the 2020 Action was filed within six months of the court's dismissal of the 2018 Federal Action (which was, itself, timely based on section 205(a), having been filed within six months of the affirmance of the dismissal of the 2014 Action), the 2020 Action is timely. View "Ray v. Ray" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit denied a petition for review challenging an FCC order removing the Solicited Fax Rule from the Code of Federal Regulations. The order was issued in response to the D.C. Circuit's decision holding that the Solicited Fax Rule was unlawful, and vacating a 2014 order of the FCC that affirmed the validity of the Rule. The court concluded that it is bound by the D.C. Circuit's decision and that the agency did not err by repealing the Rule following the D.C. Circuit's ruling. Pursuant to the Hobbs Act's channeling mechanism, the court explained that the D.C. Circuit became the sole forum for addressing the validity of the Rule. Therefore, once the D.C. Circuit invalidated the 2014 Order and the Rule, that holding became binding in effect on every circuit in which the regulation's validity is challenged. Accordingly, the FCC was bound to comply with the D.C. Circuit's mandate and could not pursue a policy of nonacquiescence. View "Gorss Motels, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New York Labor Law, alleging that she was entitled to unpaid overtime wages, liquidated damages, and attorneys' fees. The Second Circuit certified to the New York Court of Appeals a question regarding what preclusive effect a judgment of the small claims court has on a subsequent wage-and-hour action. Guided by the Court of Appeals' ruling that traditional claim preclusion principles apply to judgments of the small claims court, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's suit on claim-preclusion grounds. The court also held that claim preclusion is a valid defense to an action brought under the FLSA. View "Simmons v. Trans Express Inc." on Justia Law

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In 1974, when Sarkees was 19, he worked for Goodyear for seven months. Sarkees believed he was exposed to the chemical ortho-toluidine (OT). He took chemical samples and unloaded railroad tank cars, the majority of which contained OT, he drove a forklift to load Nailax2 (made with OT), and he manually cleaned Nailax reactors and packaged Nailax. While conducting many of these tasks, Sarkees recognized the smell of OT and experienced chemicals splashing on his skin. He often cleaned the inside of Nailax reactors, wearing “the same contaminated coveralls for the entire work shift.” Sarkees approximated that he cleaned the filters “more than 80 times,” inhaling a “strong chemical smell” and fumes without a respirator. A 2014 Department of Health and Human Services report states, “Epidemiological studies have demonstrated a causal relationship between exposure to o-toluidine and urinary-bladder cancer in humans.” Beginning in 1998, Sarkees participated in a bladder cancer screening program offered by Goodyear to former employees. In 2016, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer.The district court dismissed his suit for negligence and strict products liability, after excluding expert testimony that OT was the specific cause of his cancer. The Second Circuit vacated. In excluding the expert’s opinion, the district court improperly relied on a state court evidence ruling instead of the applicable federal evidence rule. The evidence is admissible under Federal Rule 702 and “Daubert.” View "Sarkees v. E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Co." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit reversed the district court's denial of plaintiff's motion to remand to state court and grant of defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The court concluded that a properly served defendant cannot cure a failure to timely consent to removal by opposing a motion for remand when the opposition is filed after the thirty-day statutory period for removal lapsed. The court explained that, even if it were to assume that Covidien LP eventually consented to removal when it opposed the motion for remand, that consent, which came seventeen days after the thirty-day statutory period for removal lapsed, may not undo or fix the timeliness problem. Nor is the court free to create an exception to the statute's mandatory language requiring timely consent. In this case, the court found remand appropriate and vacated the district court's dismissal of the complaint. View "Taylor v. Medtronic, Inc." on Justia Law

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Landlords challenged Part A of New York’s residential eviction moratorium statute, the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 (CEEFPA), and attempted to challenge the new residential eviction moratorium, (Subpart C(A) 2021), enacted in Sept. 2021, after several provisions of the old moratorium statute expired. The Supreme Court enjoined enforcement of Part A 2020 on August 12, 2021, based on due process defects.The Landlords argued that Subpart C(A) 2021 did not remedy the defect but is merely a continuation of the previous statute. State officials sought dismissal of the appeal as moot, arguing that the challenged provisions of the old statute have expired, Subpart C(A) 2021 does remedy the defect identified by the Supreme Court, and any challenge to the 2021 provisions must be brought in a new lawsuit.The Second Circuit concluded that the due process claims are moot, dismissed them, and remanded the case. With the appeal remanded, the court concluded it lacked jurisdiction to enjoin enforcement of Subpart C(A) 2021. The “mootness is attributable to a change in the legal framework,” so the Landlords “may wish to amend their complaint so as to demonstrate that the repealed statute retains some continuing force or to attack the newly enacted legislation.” View "Chrysafis v. Marks" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claims as time-barred under the two year statute of limitations set forth in the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (Montreal Convention), and denial of plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint. Plaintiff filed suit against American and others, alleging that, while boarding a flight from Paris, France, to Dallas, Texas, on December 28, 2015, a flight attendant struck him, causing injury.The court concluded that, because plaintiff alleged that he was injured while boarding an international flight, his claims fall under the Montreal Convention, a multilateral treaty that "applies to all international carriage of persons, baggage or cargo performed by aircraft." Furthermore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying leave to amend. The court considered plaintiff's remaining arguments and found them to be without merit. View "Cohen v. American Airlines, Inc." on Justia Law

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In 2013, Nike and its subsidiary, Converse, brought a trademark infringement action under the Lanham Act against hundreds of participants in Chinese counterfeiting networks. The district court entered five prejudgment orders, a default judgment, and one postjudgment order against defendants, who never appeared in court. Each order enjoined defendants and all persons acting in concert or in participation with any of them from transferring, withdrawing or disposing of any money or other assets into or out of defendants' accounts regardless of whether such money or assets are held in the U.S. or abroad. In 2019, Nike's successor-in-interest, Next, moved to hold appellees—six nonparty Chinese banks—in contempt for failure to implement the asset restraints and for failure to produce certain documents sought in discovery.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Next's motion for contempt sanctions against the Banks because (1) until the contempt motion, Nike and Next never sought to enforce the asset restraints against the Banks; (2) there is a fair ground of doubt as to whether, in light of New York's separate entity rule and principles of international comity, the orders could reach assets held at foreign bank branches; (3) there is a fair ground of doubt as to whether the Banks' activities amounted to "active concert or participation" in defendants' violation of the asset restraints that could be enjoined under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(d); and (4) Next failed to provide clear and convincing proof of a discovery violation. View "Next Investments, LLC v. Bank of China" on Justia Law

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FASORP brought suit against the NYU Defendants, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. In an Amended Complaint, FASORP pleads that its members have standing to challenge the Law Review's article-selection and editor-selection processes, as well as the Law School's faculty-hiring processes, all of which FASORP alleges violated Title VI and Title IX by impermissibly considering sex and race in its selection and hiring decisions.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint without prejudice and held that FASORP does not have standing to sue NYU because it has failed to demonstrate injuries to its members. In this case, even if FASORP's pleadings were found to sufficiently identify members who have suffered the requisite harm, FASORP fails to demonstrate that those members have experienced an invasion of a legally protected interest that is certainly impending or that there is a substantial risk that the harm will occur. The court explained that, without any "description of concrete plans" to apply for employment, submit an article, or of having submitted an article, that will or has been accepted for publication, FASORP's allegations exhibit the kind of "some day intentions" that cannot "support a finding of [] actual or imminent injury." View "Faculty, Alumni, and Students Opposed to Racial Preferences v. New York University" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a pro se medical malpractice action under the Federal Tort Claims Act, alleging that he suffered dental injuries during several appointments while incarcerated by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) at Federal Correctional Institution Danbury. Plaintiff initially filed suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, which sua sponte transferred the case to the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. That court dismissed the action for insufficient service of process because plaintiff failed to include a certificate stating that after a reasonable inquiry a good faith belief exists that there had been negligence, as required by Connecticut General Statutes 52-190a.The Second Circuit vacated the district court's dismissal of the action for insufficient service of process, concluding that Connecticut General Statutes 52-190a a is a procedural rather than substantive rule and is therefore inapplicable in civil actions in federal court. The court explained that there is no reason to overturn the transfer order. To the extent that plaintiff seeks to have this case transferred back to the Southern District of New York based on his current residence and potential witnesses located in New York, the court stated that he must move for such a transfer in the district court. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Corley v. United States" on Justia Law