Justia Civil Procedure Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
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On appeal from the district court’s judgment declaring valid and enforceable against Appellants instruments governing a debt issue—notes, indenture, and pledge agreement. The district court granted Appellees’ motion for summary judgment, holding the notes, pledge agreement, and indenture valid and enforceable under New York law, and denied Appellants’ cross-motion, which argued the documents were void under the law of Venezuela, the jurisdiction of the issuer of the notes, and that the court should decline to enforce the notes on the basis of the act-of-state doctrine.   The Second Circuit deferred a decision and certified the following questions on the issue to the New York Court of Appeals: 1. Given PDVSA’s argument that the Governing Documents are invalid and unenforceable for lack of approval by the National Assembly, does New York Uniform Commercial Code section 8-110(a)(1) require that the validity of the Governing Documents be determined under the Law of Venezuela, “the local law of the issuer’s jurisdiction”? 2. Does any principle of New York common law require that a New York court apply Venezuelan substantive law rather than New York substantive law in determining the validity of the Governing Documents? 3. Are the Governing Documents valid under New York law, notwithstanding the PDV Entities’ arguments regarding Venezuelan law? View "PDVSA, et al. v. MUFG Union Bank, GLAS Americas" on Justia Law

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Petitioner petitioned for a review of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals to uphold the denial of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. An Immigration Judge, as authorized by Congress, conducted the removal proceeding via video teleconference.   The Second Circuit concluded that the Fifth Circuit is the proper venue for his petition for review because jurisdiction vested in Louisiana and there was no change of venue after removal proceedings commenced. Still, in light of Petitioner’s understandable confusion about the proper venue for his petition, the period of time in which the petition has been pending before this Court, and the fact that his counsel is based in New York, the court denied the government’s motion to transfer. Thus, the court proceeded to consider Petitioner’s motion for a stay of removal, which the court denied due to Petitioner’s failure to demonstrate either a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits of his claim or that he will be irreparably injured absent a stay. View "Sarr v. Garland" on Justia Law

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Appellant CVG Ferrominera Orinoco, C.A. (“Ferrominera”), appealed from the district court’s judgment confirming a foreign arbitral award and granting attorney’s fees and costs in favor of Petitioner Commodities & Minerals Enterprise Ltd. (“CME”). Ferrominera challenges the judgment on three grounds. First, it argues that the district court lacked personal jurisdiction because CME never served a summons on Ferrominera in connection with its motion to confirm the arbitral award. Second, Ferrominera contends that the district court erred in confirming the arbitral award based on purported lack of jurisdiction by the arbitral panel, issues with the scope of the award, and conflicts with United States public policy. Third, it argues that the district court abused its discretion in awarding attorney’s fees and costs in favor of CME.   The Second Circuit held that a party is not required to serve a summons in order to confirm a foreign arbitral award under the New York Convention. The court concluded that the district court properly enforced the arbitral award, but that it erred in awarding attorney’s fees and costs. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part and vacated in part. The court wrote that CME complied with the service of notice requirements of the New York Convention and the FAA, and the district court properly exercised personal jurisdiction over Ferrominera. Further, the court explained that Ferrominera has not borne its burden to show that the arbitration agreement is invalid where, as here, it has put forth no arguments whatsoever under the applicable law. View "Commodities & Minerals Enterprise Ltd. v. CVG Ferrominera Orinoco, C.A." on Justia Law

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International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (“IFF”), a U.S.-based seller of flavoring and fragrance products, acquired Frutarom Industries Ltd. (“Frutarom”), an Israeli firm in the same industry. Leading up to the merger, Frutarom allegedly made material misstatements about its compliance with anti-bribery laws and the source of its business growth. Plaintiffs, who bought stock in IFF, sued Frutarom, alleging that those misstatements violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.   The Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ complaint. The court concluded that Plaintiffs lack statutory standing to sue. Under the purchaser-seller rule, standing to bring a claim under Section 10(b) is limited to purchasers or sellers of securities issued by the company about which a misstatement was made. Plaintiffs here lack standing to sue based on alleged misstatements that Frutarom made about itself because they never bought or sold shares of Frutarom. View "Menora Mivtachim Ins. Ltd. v. Frutarom Indus. Ltd." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued individuals and entities affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia ("ROCOR" and, collectively, "Defendants") -- for defamation, contending that they defamed him when they publicly accused him of forging a series of letters relating to his appointment as the Bishop of Miami. Defendants moved to dismiss based on the "church autonomy doctrine," arguing that Plaintiff's suit would impermissibly involve the courts in matters of faith, doctrine, and internal church government. The district court denied the motion. Defendants then filed a motion for reconsideration and a motion to limit discovery to the issue of whether the church autonomy doctrine applied or otherwise to stay proceedings. The district court denied those motions as well   The Second Circuit held that it lacks jurisdiction to hear the appeal because the collateral order doctrine does not apply in the circumstances here. Accordingly, the court granted Plaintiff’s July 15, 2021, motion to dismiss. Dismissed the appeal, and vacated the temporary stay granted on September 2, 2021. The court explained that the district court's orders lack the conclusiveness required for appellate jurisdiction under the collateral order doctrine. Likewise, the court concluded that the district court's orders do not involve a claim of right separable from the merits of the action. View "Belya v. Kapral, et al." on Justia Law

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A group of public servants who had contacted Navient for help repaying their loans (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed a putative class action lawsuit, alleging that Navient had not “lived up to its obligation to help vulnerable borrowers get on the best possible repayment plan and qualify for PSLF.”   Navient moved to dismiss the amended complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim, which the district court granted in part, dismissing all claims except “the claim brought under New York’s General Business Law Section 349”. The district court certified a class for settlement purposes under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2) and approved the settlement as “fair, reasonable, adequate,” and “in the best interest of the Settlement Class as a whole.”   Two objectors now appeal that judgment, arguing that the district court erred in certifying the class, approving the settlement, and approving service awards of $15,000 to the named Plaintiffs. The Second Circuit affirmed concluding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in making any of these determinations. The court explained that here, the amended complaint plausibly alleged that the named Plaintiffs were likely to suffer future harm because they continued to rely on Navient for information about repaying their student loans. At least six of the named Plaintiffs continue to have a relationship with Navient. That is enough to confer standing on the entire class. Further, the court explained individual class members [in fact] retain their right to bring individual lawsuits,” and the settlement does not prevent absent class members from pursuing monetary claims. View "Hyland v. Navient Corporation" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs suing individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, appealed from an August 2020 judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, on the ground of forum non conveniens, their amended complaint against defendants E‐Commerce China Dangdang Inc. (ʺDangdangʺ), its controlling shareholders, and others, alleging negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, and violations of Sections 10(b), 13(e), and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (ʺExchange Actʺ) and rules promulgated thereunder, in connection with Dangdangʹs 2016 ʺgoing‐privateʺ merger and the purchase by its controlling shareholders of its outstanding publicly‐traded shares, listed as American Depositary Shares (or ʺADSsʺ) on the New York Stock Exchange (or ʺNYSEʺ).On appeal, plaintiffs argue principally that the district court erred in concluding that the forum selection clause was not applicable to all of the defendants and to all of plaintiffsʹ claims, and in according unwarranted weight to public‐interest factors pointing toward dismissal.The Second Circuit vacated and remanded the district court’s judgment concluding that the forum selection clause was not applicable to all of defendants and to all of plaintiffsʹ claims. The court held the district court principally misinterpreted the scope of the forum selection clause. View "Fasano v. Guoqing Li" on Justia Law

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Art dealer Inigo Philbrick sold V&A Collection, LLC an ownership interest in artwork by Wade Guyton (the “Guyton”). In a second transaction, made without V&A’s knowledge or participation, Guzzini Properties Ltd. purchased the Guyton, an artwork by Rudolf Stingel (the “Stingel”), and a third painting. Guzzini removed the second action to federal court and then moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. V&A argued that by suing to quiet title to the Stingel in New York state court, Guzzini consented to submit to the jurisdiction of New York courts for all claims arising out of the same agreement.  The district court found that because the two lawsuits did not arise out of the same transaction, Guzzini did not implicitly consent to litigate the dispute over the Guyton in New York.   The Second Circuit affirmed. The court explained that the two key elements of conversion are (1) plaintiff’s possessory right or interest in the property and (2) defendant’s dominion over the property or interference with it, in derogation of plaintiff’s rights. Here, the court explained that V&A’s conversion claim is premised on its assertion that it has “a possessory right to and at least a 50% ownership interest in the Guyton”. These assertions, if satisfactorily established, could allow V&A to prevail on its conversion claim regardless of the outcome of the state court action. Even if the state court declares the June 2017 Agreement void, that would not settle the question of whether V&A had a “possessory right or interest in the property.” Thus, to bring its claim, V&A must find a court able to exercise jurisdiction over Guzzini. View "V&A Collection, LLC v. Guzzini Properties Ltd" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”)  lawsuit seeking to compel Defendants to produce notes and memoranda memorializing interviews conducted by federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents in the course of a criminal investigation. On the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court ruled in favor of Defendants, holding that the documents at issue were attorney work product, shielded from production by FOIA Exemption 5.   Plaintiff argues that the district court erred in holding that the requested documents are “attorney work product” shielded from production by FOIA Exemption 5. The Second Circuit affirmed holding that Plaintiff misperceives both the work-product privilege and what constitutes waiver by disclosure in the circumstances of this case. The court explained that Defendants have carried their burden to show that memoranda and notes created by prosecutors and agents in memorializing interviews they conducted during a criminal investigation are attorney work product shielded from ordinary civil discovery by Fed. R. Civ. P. 26 and, therefore, from production under FOIA Exemption 5. Further, the court wrote that Plaintiff has failed to show that Defendants waived this protection by disclosing to investigation “targets” and “subjects” during their interviews the contents of these yet-to-be-created documents. View "American Oversight v. U.S. Dep't of Just." on Justia Law

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Appellees hold a Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA) judgment against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Based on that judgment, Appellees moved for a writ of execution against the assets of Kuwait Finance House (KFH) Malaysia in district court. The district court granted the writ before making any findings as to whether KFH Malaysia is an “agency or instrumentality” of Iran or whether the assets at issue are “blocked.” The primary issue on appeal is whether the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 (TRIA) permits those assets to be executed prior to such findings.   The Second Circuit denied Appellees’ motion to dismiss the appeal, denied KFH Malaysia’s petition for a writ of mandamus, vacated the order granting the writ of execution, and remanded to the district court for further proceedings. The court explained to be entitled to attachment or execution under the TRIA a plaintiff must first establish defendant’s status as an agency or instrumentality. Here, these procedures were not followed. Article 52 permits parties to commence turnover proceedings to enforce money judgments. Below, that turnover proceeding commenced, but the district court granted the relief sought in that proceeding—a writ of execution—before it considered the antecedent issue of whether KFH Malaysia is an agency or instrumentality of Iran or whether the assets at issue are “blocked.” Without such findings, there has been no showing that KFH Malaysia is in possession of property. Accordingly, Appellees failed to meet the statutory and, and consequently, they failed to establish that they were entitled to a writ of execution. View "Christine Levinson et al. v. Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) Berhad" on Justia Law