U.S. Second Circuit - FindLaw

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


Back in July, Microsoft lost a battle to protect data stored on Irish email servers, wholly owned and controlled by Microsoft, from the U.S. Justice Department. All we know about these email MacGuffins is that they have something to do with drugs.

Appealing to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Microsoft argues that, because the magnetic particles comprising the data are physically located in Ireland, those particles -- and the data they represent -- are protected by Irish and European privacy laws, meaning Microsoft can't be compelled to turn them over.

The Second Circuit called it "doctrinal novelty." Others might have called it made-up law.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, led by Preet Bharara, called it insider trading despite increasingly tenuous connections between the traders and the tipsters, and a complete and utter lack of proof that the traders knew that the tippers benefited from the trades.

In short, it was a crime without a mens rea. The USAO stretched insider trading prosecutions as far as they could possibly go -- until the Second Circuit snapped back.

Bernie Madoff just won't stop popping up everywhere. As you'll recall, the disgraced investor was sentenced to 150 years in prison for defrauding clients out of about $18 billion in a Ponzi scheme that lasted almost 20 years.

What remained of Madoff's company was placed under the control of a trustee, Jean Luc Irving H. Picard. Picard's job is to recover as much as he can, however he can, and attempt to compensate investors who lost money.

Faster than you can say "engage," customers who profited on the scheme decided they wanted to keep those profits.

In October, the Nonhuman Rights Project, a legal advocacy group for chimpanzees, argued that a 26-year-old chimp named Tommy should be recognized as a "person" under New York law and granted a writ of habeas corpus.

Chimps, the group argued in a 65-page brief submitted to the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division last March, share genetic information as well as cognitive skills with humans. They understand language and use tools. Chimps trained in American Sign Language can even teach other chimps how to sign. For all these reasons and more, the Nonhuman Rights Project argued that Tommy should be released from his cage.

The Supreme Court yesterday denied a petition for a writ of certiorari in a case that's been going on since 2008, pitting a real estate developer against the owner of the World Trade Center site to figure out who was going to pay for cleanup costs related to the September 11 attacks.

When the real estate developer, Cedar & Washington, wanted to renovate an office building in downtown New York, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the EPA told the developer the building might contain "WTC dust," consisting of fine particles of concrete along with hazardous substances like lead, mercury, and asbestos that settled in and on the building following the destruction of the World Trade Center towers in 2001.

Michael Lewis' nonfiction book The Big Short, published in 2011, chronicled the 2008 financial crisis as seen through the eyes of some of the people involved in it, including the hedge fund managers who "shorted" (bet against) the market.

In one chapter of the book, Steven Eisman, one of Lewis' sources, meets Wing Chau, the owner of an investment firm that managed collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). CDOs were investments comprised of portions of thousands of subprime mortgages; they were a key vector for the financial collapse.

Casualties, tragically, are a part of war. Soldiers, and their countries, enter into battle knowing that they may pay the ultimate price. And legally, soldiers' families can't sue over their lost lives.

But what happens when those sacrificed lives are taken by those outside of the war?

As Alison Frankel explains for Reuters, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1992 (ATA) gives these causalities a right of action against certain parties. And the families of a few fallen soldiers are now invoking that law against some of the largest banks in Europe, claiming that they conspired to evade sanctions on Iran, and that the funding passed through was used to sponsor Iranian-trained groups that attacked U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

When Eric Holder announced last month that he was done, finished, outta here, everyone wondered who the next Attorney General of the United States would be.

And they also wondered how President Obama would be able to push through someone who was as tough as Holder was on issues that -- well, let's say issues that the new Senate majority might not want the new AG to be investigating so much.

Well, wonder no more. President Obama has confirmed the rumors, nominating U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch to the post. If confirmed, Lynch would be the second woman, the second African American, and the first African American woman to hold the post.

Between the late '80s and the late '90s, Peter Glazman recruited a variety of people to be "franchisees" for his courier business, in which his company delivered packages around New York City. Glazman's franchisees basically paid for everything themselves: a white van, "training" fees, "beeper" fees, insurance, taxes, gas, uniforms, and on and on.

The plaintiffs in this case are several franchisees -- many of whom recently emigrated from Eastern Europe and spoke limited English -- who claimed that they would be promised a 60 percent commission from each package delivery. There was never really any accounting of that, and Glazman claimed there was never any agreement to pay them that.

This has been going on for far too long -- the litigation, that is. "Stop and frisk" was a terrible, constitutionally suspect practice where police officers would stop and pat down pedestrians in high-crime areas for no real reason. Disproportionately, those stopped were minorities.

Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall after multiple unfavorable court decisions, or perhaps because he understands the Fourth Amendment better than his predecessor, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided to settle the case. But the police unions, unhappy with the settlement, sought to intervene.

On Friday, the Second Circuit, affirming the district court's earlier ruling, held that their attempt was too little, too late. And with no intervenors left to spoil the party, this could be the last we hear about stop and frisk.