Justia Civil Procedure Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
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Plaintiff, a South Asian-American woman, began working for Bloomberg’s Dubai news bureau as a Persian Gulf economy and government reporter. Plaintiff informed Bloomberg that she wished to transfer to its New York or Washington, D.C. bureaus because of her husband’s job location. Plaintiff ultimately obtained a position at Bloomberg L.P. (“Bloomberg”) in the Washington, D.C. bureau reporting on cybersecurity.   When Plaintiff subsequently asked why she had not been considered for the U.N. position, her team leader responded that Plaintiff had never said that she wanted to cover foreign policy; he also advised her that she had to advocate for herself if she wanted to advance at Bloomberg. On behalf of herself and other similarly situated individuals, Plaintiff – now a resident of California – filed a class-action lawsuit in New York state court against Bloomberg and several of its employees; shortly thereafter, she amended her complaint. Thereafter, Bloomberg moved to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). The district court dismissed all of Plaintiff’s claims against Bloomberg, including her NYCHRL and NYSHRL claims based on Bloomberg’s failure to promote her to positions in New York.   The Second Circuit concluded that the issue implicates a host of important state interests. Thus it reversed the district court’s decision and certified the following question: whether a nonresident plaintiff not yet employed in New York City or State satisfies the impact requirement of the New York City Human Rights Law (the “NYCHRL”) or the New York State Human Rights Law (the “NYSHRL”) if the plaintiff pleads and later proves that an employer deprived the plaintiff of a New York City- or State-based job opportunity on discriminatory grounds. View "Syeed v. Bloomberg L.P." on Justia Law

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Smarter Tools Inc. (“STI”) appeals the district court’s judgment denying STI’s petition to vacate an arbitral award and granting Chongqing SENCI Import & Export Trade Co., Ltd.’s and Chongqing AM Pride Power & Machinery Co. Ltd.’s (collectively, “SENCI”) cross-petition to confirm that award. The district court agreed with STI that the arbitrator exceeded his authority by failing to provide a reasoned award as requested by the parties. The district court remanded to allow the arbitrator to issue a reasoned award. On remand, the arbitrator issued a final amended award, which STI again challenged in district court on the grounds that the award was not reasoned and that it reflected a manifest disregard of the law, and which SENCI again cross-petitioned to confirm. The district court denied STI’s petition to vacate the award and granted SENCI’s cross-petition to confirm the award.   STI’s primary argument on appeal is that the district court erred in remanding for the arbitrator to issue a reasoned award, in contravention of the doctrine of functus officio and the Federal Arbitration Act. Absent a finding of ambiguity, or a minor clerical error, STI argues, once the district court determined that the arbitrator exceeded its authority by failing to issue a  reasoned award, the only remedy available was vacatur.   The Second Circuit affirmed. The court explained that the original award was found not to provide the reasoned award the parties bargained for; in its amended award, the arbitrator clarified the original award by including a rationale for rejecting STI’s counterclaims; and this clarification is consistent with the parties’ intent that the arbitrator issue a reasoned award. View "Smarter Tools Inc. v. Chongqing Senci Import & Export Trade Co., Ltd." on Justia Law

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Yale New Haven Hospital (“YNHH”) receives federal funds under the Medicare Act. As part of the statutory formula for determining appropriate funding, the Medicare Act directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the “Secretary”) to “estimate” the “amount of uncompensated care” that each hospital will provide to indigent patients in a given federal fiscal year (“FFY”). Here, YNHH contended that the Secretary failed to conduct adequate notice-and-comment rulemaking before choosing to use only YNHH’s historical data – and not that of a hospital that had recently merged into YNHH – to estimate YNHH’s amount of uncompensated care for FFY 2014. The Secretary moved to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C Section 1395ww(r)(3), which prohibits “judicial review” of “[a]ny estimate of the Secretary.” The district court denied the Secretary’s motion, reasoning that section 1395ww(r)(3) applies only to substantive challenges to estimates, but not to procedural challenges like YNHH’s. The district court subsequently granted summary judgment in favor of YNHH.   The Secretary appealed, disputing (1) the district court’s ruling that it had jurisdiction to consider YNHH’s procedural challenge, and alternatively (2) the district court’s merits ruling that the Secretary’s estimate was procedurally unlawful.   The Second Circuit reversed the district court’s denial of the Secretary’s motion to dismiss YNHH’s procedural challenge for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction; vacated, for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, the district court’s grant of summary judgment for YNHH on its procedural challenge; REMAND the case to the district court with instructions to dismiss the remainder of YNHH’s action for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction; and dismissed YNHH’s cross-appeal disputing the district court’s chosen remedy. View "Yale New Haven Hosp. v. Becerra" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff brought this putative class action against more than twenty banks and brokers, alleging a conspiracy to manipulate two benchmark rates known as Yen-LIBOR and Euroyen TIBOR. He claimed that he was injured after purchasing and trading a Euroyen TIBOR futures contract on a U.S.-based commodity exchange because the value of that contract was based on a distorted, artificial Euroyen TIBOR. Plaintiff brought claims under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”), and the Sherman Antitrust Act, and sought leave to assert claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”).   The district court dismissed the CEA and antitrust claims and denied leave to add the RICO claims. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the district court erred by holding that the CEA claims were impermissibly extraterritorial, that he lacked antitrust standing to assert a Sherman Act claim, and that he failed to allege proximate causation for his proposed RICO claims.   The Second Circuit affirmed. The court explained that fraudulent submissions to an organization based in London that set a benchmark rate related to a foreign currency—occurred almost entirely overseas. Here Plaintiff failed to allege any significant acts that took place in the United States. Plaintiff’s CEA claims are based predominantly on foreign conduct and are thus impermissibly extraterritorial. As such, the district court also correctly concluded that Plaintiff lacked antitrust standing because he would not be an efficient enforcer of the antitrust laws. Finally, Plaintiff failed to allege proximate causation for his RICO claims. View "Laydon v. Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A., et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff alleged that a participant loan program that Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA) offered to her retirement plan is a prohibited transaction under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). After ruling that Haley’s suit could proceed against TIAA as a nonfiduciary under ERISA, the district court certified a class of employee benefit plans whose fiduciaries contracted with TIAA to offer loans that were secured by a participant’s retirement savings. TIAA argues that the district court erred when it found that common issues predominated over individual ones without addressing the effect of ERISA’s statutory exemptions on liability classwide and without making any factual findings as to the similarities of the loans.   The Second Circuit vacated the district court’s decision holding that the predominance inquiry of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) requires that a district court analyze defenses, and the court did not do so here. Further, because the predominance inquiry of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) requires that a district court analyze defenses, and the court did not do so here, the district court did not analyze the exemptions, it also did not engage with the evidence that TIAA submitted to substantiate the purported variations among the plans. A district court cannot simply “take the plaintiff’s word that no material differences exist.” View "Haley v. TIAA" on Justia Law

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Appellant, proceeding pro se and under the pseudonym, “Publius Publicola,” appeals from the district court’s judgment (1) denying his motion to proceed under a pseudonym and (2) dismissing his claims under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 against various state and municipal officials and agencies for actions they took in response to his efforts to seal records pertaining to criminal cases from his youth.   After the Court ordered him to refile his briefs under his real name, with leave to request filing under seal should circumstances justify the filing of a redacted version on the public docket, Appellant submitted a letter indicating his refusal to comply with the Court’s order.   On appeal, the Second Circuit was tasked with deciding (1) whether a litigant may comply with Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32(d) – which requires that “every brief, motion, or other paper filed with the Court of Appeals must be signed by the party filing the paper” – by signing his submissions under a pseudonym; and (2) whether a pro se appellant’s failure to comply with that requirement warrants dismissal of his appeal.   The Second Circuit dismissed the appeal. The court concluded that, because papers signed under a pseudonym cannot adequately “ensure that a readily identifiable attorney or party takes responsibility for every paper,” they do not satisfy Rule 32(d). The court further concluded that under Rule 3(a)(2) and our precedents emphasizing the obligation of pro se litigants to comply with Court orders, dismissal is warranted here. View "Publicola v. Lomenzo" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, formerly a tenured theology teacher at a Roman Catholic high school in Staten Island, appealed from the dismissal of his complaint against his labor union, the Federation of Catholic Teachers (the “FCT”), for allegedly breaching its duty of fair representation under the National Labor Relations Act (the “NLRA”) as amended by the Labor Management Relations Act (the “LMRA”), and for assorted violations under the New York State and New York City human rights laws. The district court dismissed Plaintiff’s duty-of-fair representation claim with prejudice for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), reasoning that the NLRA and LMRA are inapplicable to disputes between parochial-school teachers and their labor unions under NLRB v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago, 440 U.S. 490 (1979).   The Second Circuit affirmed. The court concluded, as a matter of first impression, that Catholic Bishop does preclude Plaintiff’s duty-of-fair-representation claim, but that dismissal was warranted under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim on which relief could be granted, rather than for lack of federal subject-matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1). The court also concluded that Plaintiff has abandoned any challenge to the dismissal of his state and municipal-law claims. View "Jusino v. Fed'n of Cath. Tchrs., Inc." on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a native and citizen of Honduras, sought review of two decisions of the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) denying asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). Specifically, Petitioner claimed that her family had been threatened, kidnapped, and beaten by members of the Mara 18 gang while a local Honduran police officer was present. Garcia-Aranda sought asylum and withholding of removal, arguing that the gang had persecuted her because she was a member of the Valerio family, which ran its own drug trafficking ring in Garcia-Aranda’s hometown. She also sought protection under CAT based on an asserted likelihood of future torture at the hands of the gang with the participation or acquiescence of the local Honduran police.Petioner's CAT petitioner alleged that she had been kidnapped while local police were present. These allegations required the BIA to inquire, whether it was more likely than not (1) that the gang will intentionally inflict severe pain or suffering to intimidate or coerce her, including meeting all the harm requirements for torture under section 1208.18(a); and (2) that local police acting under color of law will either (i) themselves participate in those likely gang actions or (ii) acquiesce in those likely gang actions.However, neither of these inquiries was made below. Thus, the Second Circuit reversed in part, remanding to the BIA for further proceedings. View "Garcia-Aranda v. Garland" on Justia Law

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Pakistan International Airlines (“PIA”) failed to transport the body of N.B. to Pakistan for burial due to a miscommunication by employees of Swissport USA, PIA’s cargo loading agent. N.B.’s family members sued PIA and Swissport in New York state court under state law; PIA removed the action to the district court. Following cross-motions for summary judgment and an evidentiary hearing, the district court held that Plaintiffs’ claims are preempted by the Montreal Convention and dismissed the suit. On appeal, Plaintiffs argued that the Montreal Convention, which preempts state-law claims arising from delayed cargo, does not apply because human remains are not “cargo” for purposes of the Montreal Convention and because their particular claims are not for “delay.”   The Second Circuit affirmed. The court explained that human remains are cargo for purposes of the Montreal Convention; and on the facts found by the district court, the claims arise from delay. The claims are therefore preempted by the Montreal Convention. The court further wrote that it was Plaintiffs who cut off PIA’s ability to perform under the terms of the waybill. That decision was understandable given the need to bury N.B. quickly, and it cannot be doubted that Plaintiffs found themselves in a hard situation. But their only recourse against PIA and Swissport was a claim under the Montreal Convention, a claim which they have consistently declined to assert. View "Badar v. Swissport USA, Inc." on Justia Law

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In this dispute between an Insurer and pension holders, the Second Circuit granted in part and denied in part Insurer's motion to dismiss. Plaintiffs did not timely appeal from the district court’s orders addressing the methodology for computing individual relief, so the court lacked jurisdiction over that portion of Plaintiffs’ appeal. However, the court found that it had jurisdiction over the portion of Plaintiffs’ appeal challenging the district court’s order denying sanctions. Considering that order on the merits, the court concluded that it was not an abuse of discretion and affirmed. View "Amara v. Cigna Corporation" on Justia Law