Articles Posted in U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals

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Safelite appealed from the denial of a preliminary injunction against enforcement of Connecticut's Public Act 13-67, "An Act Concerning Automotive Glass Work." The court held that the district court erred in applying rational basis review under Zauderer v. Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court of Ohio, but rather should have applied intermediate scrutiny under Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. v. Public Service Commission of New York. Under Central Hudson, the court concluded that there is no claim, much less evidence, that Safelite's communications to its customers were false, misleading, or illegal; the court was skeptical that the government's asserted consumer protection interests are genuine and not merely post-hoc rationalizations; even if the government had a substantial interest in consumer choice, PA 13-67 advances that interest, if at all, in an indiscernible or de minimus fashion; PA 13-67 is more restrictive than necessary to effectuate the government's legitimate interests; and PA 13-67 is underinclusive because it only applies to third-party insurance claims administrators who also own an affiliated glass shop. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's judgment and remanded with instructions to enter a preliminary injunction and for further proceedings. View "Safelite Group, Inc. v. Jepsen" on Justia Law

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CCR seeks disclosure of certain videos and photographs of a high-profile Guantanamo Bay detainee, Mohammed al-Qahtani (the so called "20th hijacker" in the September 11, 2001 attacks), under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552. The court held that the government has met its burden of establishing that these images are exempt from disclosure under FOIA Exemption 1, which authorizes non-disclosure of records that are properly authorized by Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of "national defense or foreign policy." The court found that the declarations submitted by the government establish with adequate specificity that release of images depicting the detainee could logically and plausibly harm national security because these images are uniquely susceptible to use by anti-American extremists as propaganda to incite violence against United States interests domestically and abroad. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants. View "Center for Constitutional Rights v. CIA" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a putative class action against defendants alleging that defendants violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692 et seq., and New York statutory and common law. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants obtained unauthorized attorneys' fees and costs in connection with actions to foreclose liens on plaintiffs' properties arising out of unpaid municipal property taxes and water and sewer charges. The court held that liens for mandatory water and sewer charges imposed by New York City as an incident to property ownership, which are treated as akin to property tax liens, are not subject to the FDCPA because they do not involve a "debt" as that term is defined in the statute. The court also held that the district court properly declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Boyd v. J.E. Robert Co., Inc." on Justia Law

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This case concerns compliance reports regarding improving conditions in two correctional facilities under a settlement agreement between the United States and Erie County. The NYCLU sought to intervene in order to have the reports unsealed. The court held that the public's fundamental right of access to judicial documents, guaranteed by the First Amendment, was wrongly denied when the compliance reports in this case were sealed. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's decision and ordered that the judicial documents be unsealed. View "United States v. Erie County" on Justia Law

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The FTC appealed the damages portion of a district court order granting in part the FTC's motion for contempt relating to defendants' violation of a Consent Order. The FTC argued that it was entitled to a presumption that consumers relied, when deciding to purchase defendants' products, on defendants' omissions and misrepresentations. Therefore, the FTC sought over $14 million in contempt damages, an amount equal to defendants' gross receipts. As a preliminary matter, the court concluded that the FTC may pursue recovery for contempt damages based on alleged violations of a Consent Order. The court agreed with the FTC and joined its sister circuits in holding that the FTC is entitled to a presumption of consumer reliance. Here, in the context of a contempt action arising out of violations of a promise to refrain from misrepresentations concerning material terms or omissions of material terms, the court held that the calculation of the appropriate measure of loss begins with defendants' gross receipts derived from such contumacious conduct. After the court uses defendants' gross receipts as a baseline for calculating damages, the court must permit defendants to put forth evidence showing that certain amounts should offset the sanctions assessed against them. The court vacated that portion of the district court's contempt order that has calculated damages and remanded for further proceedings. View "FTC v. BlueHippo, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the dismissal of his claims against Pfizer for alleged violations of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733, and state law equivalents. The court held that it lacked jurisdiction over the appeal because the court could not discern how much of the complaint the district court intended to dismiss. Accordingly, the court dismissed the appeal. View "United States, ex rel. Dr. Jesse Polansky v. Pfizer, Inc." on Justia Law

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The County appealed the district court's order preliminarily enjoining it from foreclosing upon certain real property owned by the Cayuga Nation in order to recover uncollected ad valorem property taxes. The court affirmed the district court's injunction where the court declined, as has the Supreme Court, to read a "commercial activity" exception into the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity from suit. In the absence of a waiver of immunity by the tribe, unless Congress has authorized the suit, precedents demand that the court affirm the district court's injunction of the County's foreclosure proceedings against the Cayuga Nation's property. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Cayuga Indian Nation of New York v. Seneca County, New York" on Justia Law

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Claimant appealed from the district court's order of forfeiture seizing roughly $750,000 in cash, arguing that the district court erred in granting the government's motion for a default judgment against the res without first considering his motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. The court affirmed the district court's judgment of forfeiture because claimant failed to establishing standing to challenge the forfeiture. View "United States v. Vazquez-Alvarez" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs contend that the FDA is required by 21 U.S.C. 360b(e)(1) to proceed with hearings to determine whether to withdraw approval for the use of penicillin and tetracyclines in animal feed, and that the FDA's denial of two citizen petitions demanding such hearings was arbitrary or capricious within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 706(2). Based on the court's survey of the text, the context, the regulations, and the background legal principles, the court concluded that Congress has not required the FDA to hold hearings whenever FDA officials have scientific concerns about the safety of animal drug usage, that the FDA retains the discretion to institute or terminate proceedings to withdraw approval of animal drugs by issuing or withdrawing notices of opportunity for hearing (NOOHs), and that the statutory mandate contained in section 360b(e)(1) applies to limit the FDA's remedial discretion by requiring withdrawal of approval of animal drugs or particular uses of such drugs only when the FDA has made a final determination, after notice and hearing, that the drug could pose a threat to human health and safety. The court also concluded that it is not arbitrary or capricious for the FDA to pursue policies intended to reduce the use of animal feed containing antibiotics through a variety of steps short of withdrawing approval for the use of antibiotics in feed via a protracted administrative process and likely litigation. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's judgment to the contrary and remanded for further proceedings. View "NRDC v. US FDA" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, an inmate and practicing Muslim, filed suit against prison officials alleging that they unconstitutionally burdened his religious exercise when they ordered him to provide a urine sample within a three-hour window while he fasted in observance of Ramadan. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the district court's entry of judgment in favor of the officials. The court concluded that the choice either to provide a urine sample by drinking water during plaintiff's fast or to face disciplinary action placed a substantial burden on his religious exercise. Therefore, the court vacated the district court's judgment insofar as it concerns defendant's claim for damages under the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause and remanded for further consideration of the claim. The court affirmed the judgment in favor of the officials on plaintiff's Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq., claim, his Fourteenth Amendment claim, his First Amendment retaliation claim, and his free exercise claim for an injunction. View "Holland v. Goord" on Justia Law