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

March 2013 Archives

William Shatner's Seductive Powers Don't Create a Fiduciary Duty

Customers may think of Priceline.com with warm and fuzzy feelings thanks to travel discounts and former spokesman William Shatner, but the site doesn't have a fiduciary duty to disclose its discount-dealing profits to consumers.

Plaintiffs Lee Johnson and Joey Marie Kelly initiated a putative class action against Priceline for breach of fiduciary duty and contract arising from Priceline's alleged failure to disclose to its "Name Your Own Price" customers that a successful bid for a hotel room will generally exceed the amount Priceline pays the hotel vendor. Priceline retains the difference as profit.

2nd Cir Certified Question Raises Medical Privacy Concerns

Does the unauthorized disclosure of confidential medical information by a clinic’s employee create a right of action for breach of a fiduciary duty against the clinic under New York law? Does it matter if the blabbermouth employee acted outside the scope of her employment? If she was not the plaintiff’s treating physician?

Before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals answers these questions, it wants a little guidance from the New York Court of Appeals because the New York courts are virtually silent about a plaintiff’s ability to sue a medical corporation directly for a non-physician employee’s ultra vires disclosure of the plaintiff’s confidential medical information.

Contractor Loses Retaliation Appeal Against Corps of Engineers

MES, Inc claims that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers unfairly terminated three of its construction/renovation contracts in retaliation for MES’s criticism of the Corps’ mismanagement of construction projects. After an administrative challenge, MES brought a Bivens action in federal court.

The district court dismissed their claim, finding that it was precluded by the Contract Disputes Act (CDA).

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals, in a matter of first impression, affirmed that decision. The ruling brings the Second Circuit in line with the Seventh and Ninth Circuits, as well as the district courts that have considered the issue.

Louboutin-YSL Encore: Designer Loses One More Battle for his Sole

Some of us suffered through law school with the hope of a designer-shoe-filled future serving as our light at the end of the tunnel. For us, the day Christian Louboutin sued Yves Saint Laurent for trademark infringement was the BEST. DAY. EVER.

But the Second Circuit’s decision in the Louboutin-YSL red-soled shoe showdown left a void in our lives. So it’s with great joy that we announce that Monsieur Louboutin was kind enough to return to the Second Circuit for an encore performance involving a court order in the case.

To give the order context, let’s review the facts leading up to the most recent installment in this stylish dispute.

Court Rules for Dog-Killing Cop in Judgment in Rule 50 Appeal

In 2006, Deputy James Carroll and other officers from the Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team executed a "no-knock" warrant for Sherry Carroll's home. Deputy Carroll, who was in charge of securing the entryway, was the first to enter the house.

That's when he saw a dog growling, barking, and "quickly and aggressively approaching." Once the dog had advanced to within a foot of him, Deputy Carroll fired one shot from his shotgun at the animal's head and killed him. He says Sherry was not close enough to help restrain the dog from charging at the officers.

Sherry filed a civil rights claim against the department, arguing that shooting her dog while executing search warrant was an unconstitutional seizure.

2nd Circuit: Cops Can't Read Motorists' Mail During Traffic Stop

Over the years, we’ve read our fair share of qualified immunity appeals involving police officers. The cops usually win.

The problem with these appeals is that — even when they are in the wrong — cops are entitled to qualified immunity unless they violate a right that was clearly-established at the time of the incident. That sometimes produces absurd results. (Like the Ninth Circuit ruling that tasing a pregnant woman who wouldn’t sign a speeding ticket counts as excessive force, but the cops were entitled to qualified immunity because the right to a shock-free pregnancy wasn’t clearly-established at the time.)

The silver lining, if you’d care to call it that, is that courts are forced to clearly establish rights for future cases. And that’s what happened this week in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Baltimore Lacks the 'Plus Factor' to Bring Sherman Act Claim

Baltimore will have to content itself with winning on the field because it can't seem to find a win in court.

The Baltimore City Council and Mayor's Office sued a group of banks in federal court on behalf of two large putative classes: one whose members bought auction rate securities and one whose members issued them.

The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants — who rank among the world's largest and best-known financial institutions — triggered the 2008 market collapse by conspiring with each other to simultaneously stop buying auction rate securities for their own proprietary accounts.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a district court this week that the plaintiffs didn't have a case.