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

April 2013 Archives

Gifts of the Magi Are No Match for Vatican Choice of Forum Clause

If you’re in the business of making Catholic-branded gifts, it seems like you wouldn’t want to irk the Vatican. But Magi XXI decided that it wasn’t getting a fair shake in a sublicensing deal with Vatican Publishing, so it actually sued the Holy See.

The Vatican, however, doesn’t answer to just any higher power; it litigates in its own courts, governed by its own laws.

2nd Circuit: Like Beauty, Fair Use Is in the Eye of the Beholder

It sounds like Shepard Fairey should have fought back.

During the 2008 election cycle, Fairey used a 2006 Associated Press photograph to create his Barack Obama “Hope” design. The AP sued Fairey, who initially claimed fair use. He later settled the matter out of court, according to Photo District News.

Today, however, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in a similar copyright infringement lawsuit, which suggests that Fairey was actually right about the fair use doctrine.

Mere Mention of Rehab Doesn't Undermine Extended Sentence

Despite what Lindsay Lohan’s recent rehab plea bargain would indicate, a court can’t extend a defendant’s sentence for rehab. The Supreme Court is particularly clear on this issue. In Tapia v. U.S., the Court held that a sentencing court may not impose or lengthen a prison term in order to foster a defendant’s rehabilitation.

A defendant may grab an appellate court’s attention by arguing that a sentencing court improperly calculated rehab into his sentence, but today’s Second Circuit ruling demonstrates why he won’t necessarily win.

Will the 2nd Circuit Get Another Judge?

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals stays busy. And, even though it's fully staffed, the existing lineup could use an extra body on the bench to review the hefty caseload.

But Senator Charles Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has a plan: the Court Efficiency Act.

2nd Circuit Rules in September 11 Litigation

More than 11 years after the September 11 attacks, victims and survivors are still trying to find a way to hold those affiliated with the guilty parties accountable.

On Tuesday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a trio of opinions detailing the deficiencies in some of those claims.

Sotomayor v. New York (No, Not That Sotomayor)

Would Justice Sonia Sotomayor -- the Wise Latina herself -- sue her beloved New York City? Perish the thought. New York, after all, is her beloved world.

But Gladys Sotomayor, a 56-year-old, Hispanic New York City schoolteacher who shares a surname with the Justice, claims that the New York City Department of Education skirted a slew of state and federal law by discriminating against her.

2nd Circuit: Westchester County Must Comply with Consent Decree

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals told Westchester County last week that it needs to get serious about compliance with a 2006 decree requiring the County to promote source-of-income legislation to ensure fair housing.

The decree evolved from a qui tam action filed by the Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro New York (ADC), alleging that the County submitted false claims to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in order to obtain federal fair housing grant funds.

No Relief for Dealer Who Kept 'Legal Shotgun' for Illegal Purpose

We've read a lot of appeals from paroled criminals who want to keep their guns. They're starting to blur together. Every time we spot another felon-in-possession Second Amendment defense in a published opinion, it raises the same questions: Haven't the courts already resolved this issue? Why is this a published opinion?

This week, we started to dismiss a Second Circuit Second Amendment defense in a similar fashion. Ron Bryant was sentenced to 81 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and unlawful possession of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime. Bryant moved to vacate the firearm conviction, arguing that he had a right to possess a "legal shotgun" under Heller.

Aereo's Tiny Antennas Score Big Win in 2nd Circuit

Aereo is an Internet-based service that transmits recorded broadcast television programs to subscribers while the programs are airing on broadcast television. The New York Times explains that it "essentially turns a subscriber's phone, computer or tablet into a small television set, but without the rabbit ears that would normally be needed."

The company doesn't have a license from copyright holders to record or transmit those programs; a fact not lost on the broadcasters that rely on fees to stay afloat. The broadcasters sued Aereo for copyright infringement, but the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision on Monday that Aereo is okay because its tiny antenna business model conforms to the circuit's ruling in Cartoon Network v. CSC Holdings.