Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

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After Congress enacted the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA), plaintiffs moved the DC Circuit to recall the mandate issued after the court's decision holding that the federal courts lacked personal jurisdiction over the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority (defendants). The court denied plaintiffs' motion and held that plaintiffs failed to show circumstances that warrant the extraordinary remedy of recalling the mandate. The court considered all of the arguments and, to the extent not specifically addressed, they were either moot or without merit. View "Sokolow v. Palestine Liberation Organization" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit under New York tort law, alleging that defendants conspired with and aided and abetted the Sudanese regime in its commission of widespread atrocities. The Second Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of the complaint under Civil Rule of Procedure 12 (b)(6), holding that the district court misapplied the act of state doctrine and erroneously determined that the adult plaintiffs' claims were untimely. In this case, considering the lack of evidence introduced by defendants that genocide is the official policy of Sudan, and the countervailing evidence that genocide blatantly violates Sudan's own laws, the court held that there was simply no "official act" that a court would be required to "declare invalid" in order to adjudicate plaintiffs' claims. Furthermore, the court held that the atrocities to which defendant asked the court to defer can never be the basis of a rule of decision capable of triggering the act of state doctrine, because circuit precedent prohibits the court from deeming valid violations of non-derogable jus cogens norms irrespective of the consent or practice of a given state. The court also held that plaintiffs' claims under the act of state doctrine were timely. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Kashef v. BNP Paribas S.A." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' amended complaint in part for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and in part for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). Plaintiffs' claims arose from their dissatisfaction with the outcome of divorce proceedings in Israel and subsequent efforts by their ex‐wives, with the assistance of the charitable organizations, to collect child support from them. The court held that the district court properly dismissed all claims against the Israeli Officials for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because, as foreign government officials acting in their official capacity, they were entitled to immunity. With respect to the remaining defendants, plaintiffs failed to satisfy the domestic injury requirement of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in barring Plaintiffs Eliahu and Weisskopf from filing future related actions against defendants without its permission. In this case, the court considered the anti-filing injunction factors such as Eliahu and Weisskopf's history of vexatious litigation, their improper motives for pursuing the litigation, and the expense to defendants and burden on the courts. Furthermore, the court saw no reason to grant Eliahu and Weisskopf the latitude usually granted to pro se litigants, and concluded that other sanctions against them would be inadequate. View "Eliahu v. Jewish Agency for Israel" on Justia Law

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In this multi-district litigation, plaintiffs brought a series of products liability actions against the makers of Eliquis for injuries they or their decedents suffered while taking the drug. In the multi-district litigation, the district court denied motions to remand many of the actions to state court and then dismissed 64 suits. The Second Circuit affirmed, holding that 28 U.S.C. 1441(b)(2) was no barrier to the removal of the transferred actions at issue. The court held that a home‐state defendant may in limited circumstances remove actions filed in state court on the basis of diversity of citizenship, was authorized by the text of Section 1441(b)(2), and was neither absurd nor fundamentally unfair. The court also affirmed the dismissal of plaintiffs' negligence and strict liability claims as preempted by the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act. In this case, plaintiffs' claims consisted of conclusory and vague allegations and did not plausibly allege the existence of newly acquired information. Therefore, plaintiffs' allegations were insufficient to state a claim that was not preempted. View "Gibbons v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co." on Justia Law

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The mailbox rule is inapplicable to claims brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's amended complaint alleging tort claims under the FTCA after CBP wrongfully detained and assaulted her at a highway checkpoint stop. The district court held that plaintiff failed to administratively exhaust her claims, and the claims therefore were barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Plaintiff argued that the common law mailbox rule applied. The court declined to reach the question of whether the requirements of the mailbox rule were met in this case and held that the mere mailing of a notice of claim did not satisfy the FTCA's presentment requirement. View "Cooke v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment against plaintiffs. The court certified two questions to the New York Court of Appeals and received two answers to those questions. The state court answered that no particularized inquiry was necessary to determine whether public benefit corporations should be treated like the State for purposes of capacity. The state court also held that a claim-revival statute will satisfy the Due Process Clause of the State Constitution if it was enacted as a reasonable response in order to remedy an injustice. Therefore, the court held that the BPCA, like any other state entity, may challenge the constitutionality of Jimmy Nolan’s Law only if it qualifies for one of the "narrow" exceptions to the capacity-to-sue rule. In this case, no such exception applied. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "In re: World Trade Center Lower Manhattan Disaster Site Litigation" on Justia Law

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Wright cut in front of Musanti as they were walking to their respective Manhattan offices during rush hour. Musanti responded by kicking Wright’s legs, and a verbal and physical altercation ensued. Musanti pressed criminal charges, telling the police that Wright was the initial aggressor, but the district court, relying on video footage and the testimony of both parties, found that Musanti had been the initial aggressor and had given false information to the police. Musanti was found liable for the battery, assault, and false arrest of Wright. The district court awarded Wright nominal, compensatory, and punitive damages (totaling $15, 001). The Second Circuit affirmed, upholding findings that Musanti gave false information to the police by failing to inform them that she initiated the physical contact, and by intentionally downplaying her aggressive conduct and that in requesting that the police press charges, Musanti had induced the police to arrest Wright, because Wright likely would have been released but for her request. It was within the court’s discretion to find that conduct amply egregious to merit punitive damages. View "Wright v. Musanti" on Justia Law

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After claimant was injured while inspecting a moored barge, he filed claims against the barge company as his employer, the owner of the barge, and the operator of the rock processing facility, under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. 30101‐30106, the Longshore and Harbor Workersʹ Compensation Act (LHWCA), 33 U.S.C. 901‐950, general maritime law, and New York state law. The Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the Jones Act claims because claimant did not qualify as a ʺseamanʺ within the meaning of the Jones Act. However, the court held that the district court erred in dismissing certain of claimant's remaining claims against the owner of the barge and the operator of the rock processing facility. In this case, the district court erred in dismissing the LHWCA claim against Franz to the extent it was based on the alleged breach of Franzʹs duty, as owner, to turn over a reasonably safe vessel; and the state law claims against Tilcon for negligence, gross negligence, and violation of N.Y. Labor Law 200. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "In re Complaint of Buchanan Marine, L.P." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's order granting summary judgment for Postal Holdings on Connecticut state law claims of private nuisance and negligence brought by plaintiffs. The court remanded with instructions to dismiss plaintiffs' First Amended complaint for lack of supplemental jurisdiction because a federal district court cannot exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims unless it has subject matter jurisdiction over the federal claims originally presented. In this case, under the Contract Disputes Act, 41 U.S.C. 7101–7109, the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Postal Holdings' Third Party Complaint. Therefore, the district court correctly dismissed the Third Party Complaint and thus lacked supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiffs' state law claims. View "Cohen v. Postal Holdings, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's judgment in favor of shipowners in a negligence action filed by plaintiff after a deckhand unclipped a weighted halyard and it struck plaintiff in the head. The court held that plaintiff's evidence satisfied her burden of making a prima facie showing of entitlement to res ipsa loquitur. Moreover, the shipowners failed to rebut her evidence. The court explained that while no doubt things can happen at sea that could cause an extended halyard to slip out of a seaman's grasp without negligence, plaintiff's evidence was sufficient to show that this did not ordinarily happen without negligence. View "Manhattan by Sail, Inc. v. Tagle" on Justia Law