U.S. Second Circuit - FindLaw

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


Apple -- you know, the company that makes your iPhone -- got into a bit of trouble a few years ago when the United States started investigating allegations of price fixing in the e-book market.

Eventually, Apple settled for $450 million, but did so in the most begrudging way possible. Ever since, it's done nothing but complain about the compliance monitor the court appointed to ensure Apple was abiding by the terms of the settlement. Today, the Second Circuit told Apple to suck it up: the monitor isn't going anywhere.

A car's license plate, once just a means to identify the vehicle, has increasingly become a way for drivers to express themselves. Vanity plates allow their owners to add a splash of personality to their plates, and many states have license plates promoting specific organizations or causes.

License plates have become so customizable, you might even think they've become a forum for the free expression of ideas. You'd be wrong, at least according to the Second Circuit. After an anti-abortion non-profit sought to have a "Choose Life" license plate issued, the New York DMV refused, citing its policy against placing controversial or politically sensitive messages on plates.

That refusal did not violate the organization's free speech rights, the Second Circuit ruled last Friday.

Nothing can keep a lawyer up at night like the fear of missing a deadline or failing to file a required document. Not only do such errors do a disservice to the client, they can make the attorney look like a fool.

Well, apparently not every lawyer has those worries.

In a scathing public reprimand, the Second Circuit has suspended attorney Andres Aranda for extensive misconduct. Aranda was suspended for eighteen months for failing to file papers, briefs or respond to court orders, leading to numerous defaults in appeals in the Second Circuit.

Four years after an FBI dragnet brought down her husband, Arlene Drimal's lawsuit against agents who listened in to her privileged conversations with her husband has been dismissed. According to the Second Circuit, Drimal's allegations of improper wiretapping failed to assert sufficient facts under Iqbal and Twombly.

Drimal's husband, Craig Drimal, pleaded guilty to securities fraud in connection with the collapse of the Galleon hedge fund and its founder, Raj Rajaratnam, whose insider trading landed him one of the longest white collar criminal sentences ever. The case against Mr. Drimal and Rajartnam relied heavily on wiretaps.

There's "Polo by Ralph Lauren" -- everyone knows that. But there's also the "United States Polo Association" (USPA), which uses a similar trademark utilizing the word "Polo" and an outline of a polo player on a horse.

Perhaps you or a loved one has become confused in a department store, as you -- a reasonable consumer -- can't discern the difference between "Polo by Ralph Lauren" and "U.S. Polo Association." Are they the same? Are they different?

Yesterday, the Second Circuit determined that they're just different enough to survive.

The Second Circuit upheld the murder, racketeering, narcotics and firearms convictions of four members of the "Courtland Avenue Crew," a violent gang from the Bronx. One defendant's convictions relied partially on evidence gathered from social media, including a rap video and photos of tattoos taken from Facebook.

That defendant, Melvin Colon, was convicted in part for the execution of Delquan Alston, who he thought was an informant. On appeal, he argued that the Facebook evidence was procured through an unconstitutional law, the Stored Communications Act, and that its use in the trial violated his First Amendment rights. The Second Circuit wasn't convinced.

Content providers are still struggling to figure out how to make money in the digital age. Music publishers, in particular, were much more comfortable with selling CDs from physical stores than they were selling digital copies, and even those, it seems, are giving way to streaming services.

This case from the Second Circuit pits stream music powerhouse Pandora against an association of music publishers. The publishers resisted allowing "new media" companies to license their works, but both a federal district court and the Second Circuit said the language of their agreements was clear: You can't choose to license to one group, but not to others.

What are the limits of the doctor/patient privilege as it relates to an admission of child abuse? Can a doctor, or a psychiatrist, call the police, or children's services, if the psychiatrist suspects his client of child sexual abuse; or, indeed, if the client has admitted to it?

The answer to those questions are left unanswered by the New York Court of Appeals, but at the very least, we know that the psychiatrist can't testify at trial.

This is a case about Benihana, burgers, and contracts. Benihana was founded in 1963 by Rocky Aoki, who would have been a serious contender for the title "Most Interesting Man in the World."

Unfortunately, the case doesn't really involve the considerable family drama surrounding the company after Aoki's death in 2008, which pitted Aoki's six children against his third (much younger) wife, who also happened to be the CEO of Benihana of Tokyo at the time. This case is about a 1994 agreement splitting the company into two entities.

Courts cannot apply the armed career criminal sentencing minimum based on juvenile offenses, the Second Circuit ruled on Monday. Just like your childhood paper route doesn't make you a career journalist, neither can a juvenile offense be used to apply a career criminal enhancement.

The case involved Jamell Sellers, who received a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen years under the Armed Career Criminal Act, in part based on his juvenile drug conviction. That conviction, in which Sellers was adjudicated as a youthful offender, can't count as one of the predicate three prior convictions needed under the ACCA, the Second Circuit found. The Second Circuit's decision to nerf the federal version of a "three strikes" law comes just as the Supreme Court considers whether the Act results in unconstitutionally excessive sentences.