Justia Civil Procedure Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
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At issue are motions by several news organizations to intervene in a pending appeal and to unseal an unredacted letter filed by Deutsche Bank on August 27, 2019. Deutsche Bank filed the letter in an appeal from an order denying a preliminary injunction sought by President Trump and others to prevent compliance with subpoenas seeking production of numerous documents, including tax returns. The Second Circuit granted the motions to intervene, because news media have a right to intervene to seek unsealing of documents filed in a court proceeding. However, the court denied the motions for unsealing, because the sealed letter was not relevant to any issue in the underlying appeal and thus it was not a judicial document within the meaning of the decisions requiring unsealing of documents with a court. Furthermore, the letter was not a record of any court which, absent special circumstances, would be available for public scrutiny. View "Trump v. Deutsche Bank AG" on Justia Law

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Petitioners filed two applications in the Southern District of New York under 28 U.S.C. 1782 seeking discovery from Santander and its New York‐based affiliate, SIS, concerning the financial status of BPE. Santander had acquired BPE after a government-forced sale. The Second Circuit held that the language in section 1782 that requires that a person or entity "resides or is found" within the district in which discovery is sought, extends section 1782's reach to the limits of personal jurisdiction consistent with due process. Nonetheless, the court held that Santander's contacts with the Southern District of New York were insufficient to subject it to the district court's personal jurisdiction. The court also held that there was no per se bar to the extraterritorial application of section 1782, and the district court may exercise its discretion as to whether to allow such discovery. Therefore, the court held that the district court acted within its discretion in this case by allowing discovery from SIS. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's orders. View "In re del Valle Ruiz" on Justia Law

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This case arose from plaintiffs' action against NYU, alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in connection with two retirement plans sponsored by NYU (Sacerdote I). After the district court dismissed most, but not all of the causes of action, plaintiffs filed this action against affiliates of NYU and Cammack, an independent investment management company (Sacerdote II). The district court dismissed all claims against defendants. The Second Circuit dismissed the district court's judgment, holding that the district court erred by determining that Cammack and NYU were in privity such that the rule against duplicate litigation applied to bar recovery against Cammack in Sacerdote II. In this case, Cammack and NYU's interests were not sufficiently identical to support a finding of privity; the bases for liability for NYU and Cammack were not necessarily the same; and it was possible that one party could be found liable and the other not. Cammack and NYU had separate and distinct responsibilities as co-fiduciaries to the plans at issue, and could be found liable for plaintiffs' injuries for separate reasons. Finally, the court held that the representative suit exception to a plaintiff's right to sue each defendant separately did not apply here. View "Sacerdote v. Cammack Larhette Advisors, LLC" on Justia Law

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In this interlocutory appeal, defendants challenged the district court's denial of their motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction a complaint alleging that Connecticutʹs redistricting plan, which counts incarcerated individuals in the district in which their prison is located rather than the district in which they permanently reside, violates the ʺone person, one voteʺ principle of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Second Circuit affirmed in part the district court's order to the extent it held that the Eleventh Amendment bar on suits against states does not apply to plaintiffsʹ claim and denied defendantsʹ motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. However, the court held that the district court lacked jurisdiction to deny defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, because this case involves a challenge to the constitutionality of the apportionment of a statewide legislative body, which must be heard by a three-judge district court under 28 U.S.C. 2284(a). Therefore, because this case falls within section 2284(a) and plaintiffs' claim presents a substantial federal question, the court remanded for the district court to refer the matter to a three-judge court for further proceedings. View "NAACP v. Merrill" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's dismissal of Pfizer's claim against the United States for overpayment interest on its delayed tax refund. The court held that jurisdiction of Pfizer's claim for overpayment lies exclusively with the United States Court of Federal Claims. The court explained that overpayment interest is a straightforward claim against the federal government that was covered by the Tucker Act. Accordingly, the court transferred the case to the Court of Federal Claims. View "Pfizer Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's pro se 42 U.S.C. 1983 complaint under the three strikes provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The court held that the district court erred in determining that plaintiff had accrued three strikes under the PLRA, because one action was dismissed for a remedial procedural defect; the district court did not grant summary judgment against plaintiff in a second action based on the grounds enumerated in the PLRA; and the third action was dismissed on both PLRA and non-PLRA grounds. Therefore, three of the five cases at issue did not count as strikes. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Escalera v. Samaritan Village" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Philip Morris under the Connecticut Product Liability Act, alleging that the company's Marlboro and Marlboro Lights cigarettes were negligently designed and caused his wife's death. After a jury found for Philip Morris, plaintiff appealed. The Second Circuit held that, although the district court misapplied the nonmutual offensive collateral estoppel standard, the error did not necessarily require vacatur of the judgment. Therefore, the court remanded and directed the district court to consider whether the application of nonmutual offensive collateral estoppel would be unfair. View "Bifolck v. Philip Morris USA Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs appealed the district court's dismissal of their state law claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and the district court's subsequent denial of a motion for reconsideration. Plaintiffs argued that, on de novo review, the entire record on appeal demonstrated that they were citizens of Florida – not New York – at the time they filed their suit, and therefore satisfied the complete diversity requirement of 28 U.S.C. 1332, establishing federal subject matter jurisdiction. The Second Circuit vacated the judgment of the district court so that plaintiffs may amend their complaint, holding that courts may freely permit jurisdictional amendments even at the appellate level. The court noted that the district court may also consider whether to impose costs on plaintiffs for their failure to provide all relevant evidence at the time of the order to show cause. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Van Buskirk v. The United Group of Companies, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit held that the district court violated the mandate the court issued in a previous decision instructing it not to send the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) claims to trial, and that the district court violated the law of the case by finding that 650 Fifth Avenue Company is a foreign state under the FSIA. Without reaching the merits of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) claims, the court held that the district court abused its discretion by precluding two of defendants’ witnesses from testifying at trial. Finally, the court held that TRIA section 201 litigants lack the right to a jury trial in actions against a state sponsor of terrorism, including its agencies or instrumentalities. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for a new trial on section 201 claims. View "Havlish v. 650 Fifth Avenue Co." on Justia Law

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At issue in this civil forfeiture appeal was whether the district court erred by exercising subject matter jurisdiction over a foreign state's property or abused its discretion by rejecting defendants' statute‐of‐limitations defense sua sponte. The Second Circuit held that the district court had jurisdiction because the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) does not foreclose in rem civil‐forfeiture suits against a foreign state's property. In this case, however, the district court abused its discretion by sua sponte resolving the statute‐of‐limitations issue without providing defendants notice or an opportunity to defend themselves. Finally, an accompanying summary order considered and rejected defendants' additional challenges. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Assa Co. Ltd." on Justia Law