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

March 2014 Archives

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA") was enacted to provide a framework for the cleanup of hazardous waste, and to allocate the cost of cleanup to those who create or maintain hazardous conditions. The question before the Second Circuit was a novel one: whether CERCLA creates a subcontractor's right of recovery against a landowner, when the landowner has already paid the contractor in full.

The Cleanup

Norampac discovered that the soil at the one of its sites was contaminated with lead, so Norampac contracted with AAA Environmental, Inc. for the cleanup. AAA subcontracted with Price Trucking, and Price Trucking completed all of its work.

In 2000, photographer Patrick Cariou published "Yes, Rasta," a collection of portraits he shot, in Jamaica, of Rastafarians living in isolated communities. Eight years later, Richard Prince showed "Canal Zone" a series of collages and paintings altering many of Cariou's photographs. This week, the parties settled their dispute out of court putting an end to years of litigation.

Alleged Copyright Infringement

Cariou sued Richard Prince, and the gallery showing the works, for copyright infringement, and Prince countered with a fair use defense, reports The Hollywood Reporter. District court Judge Batts found for Cariou holding that the fair use defense failed because the works were not transformative, that is "the new work in some way [must] comment on, relate to the historical context of, or critically refer back to the original works."

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has made several announcements in the past month, so we thought we'd give you an update on new job openings at 40 Centre Street.

Pro Bono Panel

The Criminal Justice Act/Pro Bono Committee is seeking new members for the Second Circuit Pro Bono Panel. The purpose of the panel is to provide representation to litigants that are ineligible to have counsel appointed under the Criminal Justice Act, and who are unable to pay for legal representation.

As always, there's lots to catch up on in the Second Circuit. So, let's cut the small talk and get to it.

Ecuadorian Judgment Against Chevron Fraudulent

Earlier this month, a district judge for the Southern District of New York penned a 497-page ruling finding that Steven Donziger violated a laundry list of laws to obtain an Ecuadorian court's judgment against Chevron, said the company in a press release. Donziger has voiced his intentions to appeal, and called the district court's ruling "an appalling decision resulting from a deeply flawed proceeding that overturns a unanimous ruling by Ecuador's Supreme Court," reports The Wall Street Journal.

It's never a dull day in the Second Circuit, and cases at varying stages of litigation are progressing through the courts. Today we look at an atheist group's challenge to the inclusion of a steel cross in a 9/11 museum, the ACLU's appeal of a phone data ruling and the Department of Justice weighs in on the Aereo case that the Supreme Court will hear in April.

Atheists Challenge 9/11 Steel Cross

An activist group of atheists, American Atheists, continues to challenge the inclusion of a steel cross in a 9/11 museum. The steel cross was formed by the debris of the World Trade Center and is being included as one of the many artifacts left from the destruction. For some, the cross was seen as a symbol of hope, but some atheists have allegedly been suffering from "physical and emotional pain" because of the crosses inclusion in the museum, reports The Blaze.

Manuel Lozano and Diana Alvarez met in London, and the following year had a child together. The couple had the characteristic "he said/she said" version of their relationship; Alvarez characterized the time with instances of rape and violence, while Lozano characterized their time together as having "normal couple problems."

When their child was 3, she began exhibiting signs of distress, with her school nursery manager noting that she was "very withdrawn" and that "the home 'environment obviously had a negative effect' on her." As a result, Alvarez took the child to a women's shelter, where they remained for seven months. Thereafter, Alvarez took the child from the UK to France and then to New York, to live with Alvarez's sister.

Maybe you've practiced at a firm for a few years and you're ready for something different, or maybe you've always dreamed of arguing a case before the Supreme Court. But one thing's clear -- you've decided to start your own appellate practice.

So, go ahead and hang out a shingle, but if you think that's going to be enough to drive business, think again.

Richard Guertin was Corporation Counsel for the City of Middletown, New York (presumably centrally located), in 2004. From 1997 to 2004, Middletown received federal funds from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to "promote the 'development of viable urban communities.'"

As a result of eight questionable loans, Guertin, along with Middletown Mayor Joseph DeStefano and Middletown Community Development Director Neil Novesky, were indicted on charges that the three conspired in an illegal scheme to benefit from loans stemming from federal funds.