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


The Wang v. Hearst case has been closely watched over the past several years as the courts worked to define when an unpaid internship violated the FLSA.

As one of the major fashion media corporations, Hearst was upfront in seeking out the unpaid interns, but the case erupted after some of those interns felt that Hearst was getting the better end of the bargain. Unfortunately for the interns, the law surrounding unpaid internships is anything but certain. And sadly for those interns, in providing some certainty on the law, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of their action against Hearst on summary judgment, finding that none of the plaintiff interns were employees.

A small group of plaintiffs are all breathing a collective sigh of relief thanks to a recent Second Circuit decision vacating the dismissal of their case. The case was dismissed sua sponte by the federal district court after the plaintiffs' attorney failed to show up on time for a pretrial conference.

After waiting just under half an hour for the late lawyer to show, the lower court dismissed the matter with prejudice, despite the fact that the case was through discovery and motions and basically ready for trial. The attorney on the matter, a solo practitioner, had tried to attend three different hearings all in different courthouses all in one morning. Clearly, it did not work out for him, even though the plaintiffs did prevail in this appeal.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the dismissal of a potential class action lawsuit related to Capital One's practice of charging "overdraft fees." Fortunately for the credit giant, only the breach of contract claim and one other statutory claim under New York law were revived.

The plaintiff in the case alleges that the contractual agreement and the bank's actual practices do not line up, which results in customers being unfairly charged overdraft fees. However, despite this win on appeal, the case is far from over as the plaintiff, Tawanna Roberts, will still need to proceed through litigation and trial.

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.