Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals
Cook v. Nat’l Archives & Records Admin.
Plaintiff filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, seeking disclosure of records held by NARA of archived presidential and vice-presidential materials submitted by or on behalf of former President George W. Bush and former Vice-President Richard B. Cheney. The court concluded that the records are protected by FOIA's Exemption 6, which permits the withholding of personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. The records requested in this case were made for purposes of private speech, perhaps for preparation of memoirs, and reveal preliminary thinking and personal matters. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to NARA. View "Cook v. Nat'l Archives & Records Admin." on Justia Law
Vermont Right to Life Committee v. Sorrell, et al.
VRLC is a non-profit corporation and VRLC-FIPE is a political committee formed under Vermont law. VRLC challenged three disclosure provisions of Vermont's election laws as unconstitutionally vague and violating freedom of speech. The court concluded that the Vermont statutory disclosure provisions concerning electioneering communications and mass media activities are constitutional and did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment's due process guarantee due to vagueness nor the First Amendment's free speech guarantee; Vermont's "political committee" definition did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment's due process guarantee because of vagueness nor violate the First Amendment's free speech guarantee; and Vermont may impose contribution limits on VRLC-PC, an entity that makes contributions to candidates, and the statute's contribution limits were constitutionally applied to VRLC-FIPE, which claims to be an independent-expenditure-only PAC. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants. View "Vermont Right to Life Committee v. Sorrell, et al." on Justia Law
United States v. Technodyne LLC
Claimants appealed from the district court's forfeiture orders of 23 of the defendant funds and properties to the United States. The judgments were entered by default after the district court granted the motion of the United States under the fugitive disentitlement statute, 28 U.S.C. 2466, to strike Claimants' claims to the properties on the ground that Claimants Padma and Reddy (the "Allens") remained outside the United States in order to avoid prosecution in a related criminal case. The court rejected the government's contention that the burden of proof as to intent under the fugitive disentitlement statute was on Claimants. However, the court also rejected Claimants' contentions that summary judgment standards were applicable, and that the court was required to find that avoidance of criminal prosecution was the Allens' sole, dominant, or principal reason for remaining outside of the United States. The court concluded that the district court's findings were not clearly erroneous and that its application of the fugitive disentitlement statute was well within the bounds of its discretion. The court considered all of Claimants' challenges and found them to be without merit. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "United States v. Technodyne LLC" on Justia Law
Sherman v. Town of Chester
Plaintiff filed suit against the Town after a decade of dealing with the Town in plaintiff's efforts to apply for subdivision approval. The court reversed the district court's decision to dismiss plaintiff's federal takings claims, concluding that his claim became ripe because of the way the Town handled his application under Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City where the Town employed a decade of unfair and repetitive procedures, which made seeking a final decision futile. The Town also unfairly manipulated the litigation of the case in a way that might have prevented plaintiff from ever bringing his takings claim. The court vacated the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's non-takings claims based on ripeness grounds and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over his state law claims. The court affirmed the district court's decision to dismiss plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. 1981 claim, to deny plaintiff leave to amend to add a 42 U.S.C. 1982 claim, and to dismiss plaintiff's procedural due process claim based on the consultants' fee law. View "Sherman v. Town of Chester" on Justia Law
Morales v. City of New York
Plaintiff filed suit against the City, the NYPD, and four individual State and Federal law enforcement officials under 42 U.S.C. 1981, 1983, 1985, and 1988 and State law. Plaintiff claimed that a Federal agent presented false testimony to the State grand jury that returned the indictment against him. The court concluded that the district court correctly concluded that plaintiff's Bivens and section 1983 claims were foreclosed by Rehberg v. Paulk; plaintiff's allegation that his indictment was premised on faulty laboratory results failed to support a plausible fair trial claim; the district court correctly held that plaintiff failed to state a claim for abuse of process as to either the individual NYPD defendants or the agent; the district court did not err in dismissing plaintiff's claim of malicious prosecution; plaintiff failed to plead facts showing that defendants acted with discriminatory animus, as required to state a claim under sections 1981 or 1985; and the district court properly dismissed plaintiff's claim against the City and the NYPD for municipal liability. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's second amended complaint. View "Morales v. City of New York" on Justia Law
Disabled in Action, et al. v. Bd. of Elections in the City of New York, et al.
Plaintiffs filed suit alleging that BOE is failing to provide them with meaningful access to its voting program, in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 794(a), and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12132. The district court concluded that pervasive and recurring barriers existed at poll sites operated by BOE and granted plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. The district court later ordered a remedial plan after the parties had the opportunity to develop and propose a joint plan of relief. The court concluded that the district court correctly held that BOE failed to grant voters with disabilities meaningful access to its voting program. The court also found that the district court's remedial order was a proper exercise of the district court's authority to grant equitable relief. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Disabled in Action, et al. v. Bd. of Elections in the City of New York, et al." on Justia Law
The New York Times Company v. United States
Plaintiffs filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, seeking documents related to the drone attacks that killed three United States citizens. Plaintiffs sought information concerning the attacks, notably, documents prepared by DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) setting forth the Government's reasoning as to the lawfulness of the attacks. The district court dismissed on motions for summary judgment. The court concluded that a redacted version of the OLC-DOD Memorandum must be disclosed; a redacted version of the classified Vaughn index submitted by OLC must be disclosed, including the number, title, and description of all documents, with the exception of certain listing numbers; [redacted]; the Glomar and "no number, no list" responses were insufficinetly justified; DOD and CIA must submit Vaughn indices to the District Court for in camera inspection and appropriate redaction; and the OIP search was sufficient. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "The New York Times Company v. United States" on Justia Law
Bronx Household v. Board of Education
The Board and School District appealed from the district court's grant of summary judgment permanently enjoining defendants from enforcing Reg. I.Q. Reg. I.Q. governs the "extended use" of school facilities outside of school hours by outside organizations and individuals. The district court found that enforcement of Reg. I.Q. to exclude religious worship services would violate the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses. The court concluded that the Free Exercise Clause did not entitle Bronx Household to a grant from the Board of a subsidized place to hold religious worship services; the Supreme Court's ruling in Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah that invidiously discriminatory ordinances targeting a religious practice of a particular religion were subject to strict scrutiny had no application to Reg. I.Q.; if the Board has a reasonable, good faith concern that making its school facilities available for the conduct of religious worship services would give rise to a substantial risk of violating the Establishment Clause, the permissibly of the Board's refusal to do so did not turn on whether such use of school facilities would in fact violate the Establishment Clause; and therefore, Reg. I.Q. did not violate plaintiffs' rights to free exercise of religion, whether or not it was subject to strict scrutiny. The court also concluded that the district court erred in concluding that Reg. I.Q. violates the Establishment Clause because it compelled the Board to become excessively entangled with religion by deciding what were religious worship services. The court considered Bronx Household's other arguments and found them to be without merit. Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment of the district court and vacated the injunction barring enforcement of Reg. I. Q. View "Bronx Household v. Board of Education" on Justia Law
Royal Crown Day Care LLC v. Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene
Plaintiffs filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging, among other things, that defendants violated their First Amendment and substantive due process rights by closing down Royal Crown's day care facility in retaliation for a letter of complaint that Royal Crown sent to a New York State senator. On appeal, the individually named defendants challenged from the district court's denial of their motion for summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds and from the denial of their motion to reconsider. The court concluded that defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity solely because closing down Royal Crown may have been justified under the Health Code; defendants' motivation in closing down Royal Crown was material to Royal Crown's First Amendment and substantive due process claims and the court did not have jurisdiction to consider whether the dispute about defendants' motivation was genuine; properly assuming on this interlocutory appeal that defendants retaliated against Royal Crown for speech protected by the First Amendment, defendants' action was not objectively reasonable; Royal Crown's First Amendment and substantive due process rights to be free from retaliation and irrational government action in response to its letter to the Senator were clearly established at the time that defendants closed down plaintiff's day care facility; and therefore, defendants were not entitled to summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Royal Crown Day Care LLC v. Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene" on Justia Law
Warren v. Colvin
After plaintiff sought to obtain records from the SSA related to his father's disability status in order to support his efforts to obtain proceeds of his father's life insurance policy, plaintiff filed suit pro se alleging that the failure to provide the requested records violated the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552. The SSA eventually voluntarily provided the requested records to plaintiff. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the dismissal of his claim for damages and litigation fees under the Privacy Act and FOIA. The court affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's claim for damages under the Privacy Act because the Act guarantees access only to an individual's own records and does not require federal agencies to provide information that pertains to a requesting individual, but is contained in another individual's records. However, because FOIA allows for fee shifting where, as here, a federal agency voluntarily complies with a requested disclosure following the filing of a FOIA lawsuit, the court vacated that portion of the district court's judgment denying plaintiff's request for $350 in litigation costs and remanded with instructions. View "Warren v. Colvin" on Justia Law