U.S. Second Circuit - The FindLaw 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Iran Sanctions Case Stalls, Deal Possible

It's one thing when a defendant does not show up in court; it's another when the defense counsel is a no-show.

In a high-profile trial in Manhattan, neither Reza Zarrab nor his lawyers appeared for jury selection. Prosecutors allege Zarrab conspired to handle hundreds of millions of dollars for Iran to avoid economic sanctions.

After meeting with the lawyers who did make it to court, the judge postponed the case for a week. For co-defendant Mehmet Hakan Atilla, it may not have been good thing.

Inmate Needs Stuffed Animals to Meditate; 2nd Cir. Allows Religious Claims

It's not nice to make fun of people's religions, and sometimes it's illegal.

Like Christopher Grief, who believes that stuffed animals are necessary to practicing his religion. He wanted some inside his jail cell and sued so he could worship.

A federal judge thought it was nonsense, but an appeals court disagreed. After all, hasn't everybody at least adored a stuffed animal once in their life?

If you didn't hear about Earl O'Garro, the former insurance broker who swindled the City of Hartford, it might not come as much of a surprise to find out that his appeal was denied. However, even if you had been closely following the story, it still likely wouldn't come as much of a surprise that his Second Circuit appeal was denied.

O'Garro had sought a reversal of his conviction and a remand or retrial, as a result of an allegedly improper jury instructions, or, alternatively, due to ineffective assistance of counsel. Notably, the jury returned their verdict in an hour, finding O'Garro guilty of mail and wire fraud.

Even the best running backs need to rely on their entire offensive line to break through and find the holes. But, for the Dallas Cowboy's Ezekiel Elliott, he's relying on his lawyers just to keep him on the field. Just this morning an emergency injunction was issued clearing him to play this Sunday.

The Elliot case has been garnering national attention as there is quite a bit of controversy from nearly any angle you want to approach it. While the media has been closely following the drama surrounding the criminal investigation, and the NFL's investigation, into the domestic violence allegations against him, the case actually presents some fascinating factual and legal issues.

Courts Hand Feds a Win on DACA

Balancing hundreds of thousands of documents against hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants, two federal appeals courts came down the same way.

For now, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals say the immigrants and their attorneys will have to wait for their documents. The appeals courts stayed district court orders for production of records about the federal government's decision to undo the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The cases will proceed, but only after the Justice Department gets a chance to breathe. A top federal attorney said the discovery burden was just too much.

Court Rejects Hedge Funder Case Against U.S. Attorney

David Ganek, who ran a $4 billion hedge fund, would have you believe this is a day that will live in infamy.

With his lawsuit thrown out by a federal appeals court, Ganek appealed to the court of public opinion. He said government agents -- including former U.S. Attorney Preet Bahara -- lied to get a search warrant of his offices.

"This is a dangerous day for private citizens and a great day for ambitious, attention-seeking prosecutors who are now being rewarded with total immunity even when they lie and leak," Ganek said in a statement.

He was half right, anyway.

2nd Cir. Decides Sailing Injury Res Ipsa Loquitur

'Anchors aweigh!'

It's the march song of the United States Navy and also a call to sailors that a ship is underway. But even as anchors clear the sea bottom, maneuvers begin above like a ballet in a foreign language.

On a classic sailboat, deck hands make halyards whir, winches whine and blocks groan. The only meaningful word to unschooled passengers is "boom."

In the vernacular, that's what happened to Charis Tagle aboard the schooner Shearwater. She got hit in the head when a halyard swung across the foredeck and struck her with a pelican clip.

Court Throws Out 'Official Acts' Convictions for Ex-NY Senate Leader Skelos

Sometimes, you just have to count your lucky Skeloses.

Dean Skelos, former New York state Senate majority leader, and his son Adam Skelos have won a reprieve from their corruption convictions. The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals said jury instructions in United States v. Skelos were faulty.

But for an intervening decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in an unrelated case, the Skeloses might be wishing upon a different star. They were each looking at six years in prison.

'Fake Rape' Suit Revived Against Rolling Stone

After a college party, Jackie went up to her date's bedroom where his Phi Kappa Psi fraternity brothers were waiting in the dark.

Someone grabbed her by the shoulders; another punched her in the face. One said: "Grab its motherf***** leg."

"As soon as they said it, I knew they were going to rape me," she told Rolling Stone, which grabbed 2.7 million views for its online edition.

The problem was, it was fake.

The qui tam action brought against Wells Fargo in 2011 has been brought back to life by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, thanks to a recent ruling of the Supreme Court.

The case alleges, under the False Claims Act, that Wells Fargo, Wachovia, and World Savings banks all falsely certified compliance with banking laws in order to qualify for loans from the Federal Reserve System. The plaintiffs, or realtors, in the action, had their claims dismissed and that dismissal affirmed; however, on appeal again, as the appellate court noted, the standard has now changed, which resulted in a remand to the district court.