U.S. Second Circuit - FindLaw

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


Want to work for the federal judiciary? Now's your chance!

The Second Circuit is currently on the lookout for candidates for a Bankruptcy Judge in the Southern District of New York. The gig lasts for 14 years and starts at $180,012 annually. If that salary is too much for you, the circuit is also looking for lawyers willing to work completely for free! Applications for the circuit's pro bono panel are currently being accepted.

GoDaddy, the domain registrar and web hosting company, is immune from defamation claims based on the websites it hosts, the Second Circuit ruled last week. The inexplicably named company had been sued by two pro se litigants over allegedly false statements made against them on a Teamsters website.

Under the Communications Decency Act, web sites, apps, hosting companies and other "interactive computer services" are protected from claims of defamation, negligence, invasion of privacy and other torts based on the publication of information by their users.

A tipster who reported his firm's securities violations before the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act cannot collect a whistleblower's reward under that Act, the Second Circuit has ruled.

Over a period of five years, Larry Stryker repeatedly informed the SEC about questionable practices at his firm, Advanced Technologies Group, leading to an enforcement action in 2009 and an eventual $20 million settlement.

Under Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers can collect 10 to 30 percent of the money recouped from a successful SEC enforcement action based on their information. In 2011, Stryker filed for just such an award. The SEC refused, arguing that since he offered information before the passage of Dodd-Frank, he was not entitled to to the $2 to $6 million that would otherwise be his share under the Act.

The Eleventh Amendment: often misunderstood, infrequently used, yet sitting there in plain sight, just after the Bill of Rights. The U.S. Supreme Court has given scant guidance over the years, but we know at the least that states can't be sued for monetary damages unless they consent (or unless another amendment, like the Fourteenth, overrides the Eleventh Amendment).

The definition of what qualifies as an "arm of the state" came across the Second Circuit's desk last week, and the court decided that a community college doesn't qualify for Eleventh Amendment immunity.

Following the Eric Garner and Michael Brown grand jury non-indictments, many of us wondered why grand juries are still hanging around. The Constitution requires only that the federal government use grand juries to indict criminal suspects, and yet 23 states still require the use of these bodies for serious felonies.

The problem is that grand juries are secretive (intentionally so) and not subject to the same protections as, say, preliminary hearings, like the right to counsel and the right to cross-examine witnesses. One prominent jurist wants to change that.

A peculiar bit of appellate procedure attended the issuance of an amended opinion in Garcia v. Does, the "Occupy Wall Street" case in which Occupy protesters claimed they were escorted onto the Brooklyn Bridge by police, then arrested when they were halfway across.

Though the protesters won in federal district court, and again before a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit, that same panel reversed itself Monday. The panel remanded the case to Judge Jed Rakoff with instructions to dismiss the complaint, dissolving the en banc rehearing before it started.

So-called anti-vaxxers believe that vaccination is harmful, as vaccines contain harmful "chemicals." A resurgence in once long-gone diseases is arguably attributable to a new wave of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.

The problem is that many public school districts require children to be vaccinated before they can attend school. Because, you know, a parent's decision not to vaccinate actually has consequences for other children. But just ignore all that. An anti-vaccine case hit the Second Circuit Court of Appeals -- and, predictably, the anti-vaxxers lost.

From the 2nd Cir.: Top 10 Blog Posts of 2014

Y'all are nasty. Just kidding. But you do like nasty blog topics. (We all do.)

Need proof? Here are the 10 most popular blog posts from FindLaw's U.S. Second Circuit blog for the past year. The docket includes incest, sprayed feces, oral suction during circumcision, plus a litany of other topics that I have no interest in because, well, I'm nasty too.

Here's the big list:

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.

2nd Cir. Massively Limits Insider Trading Prosecutions

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.