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

March 2015 Archives

Nonresident N.Y. Lawyers Must Have Physical Office

Must nonresident attorneys keep a physical office in the State of New York in order to practice there? Ekaterina Schoenefeld, a lawyer licensed in both New York and New Jersey, was surprised to find out that was the case after attending a CLE class in New York City.

She was so outraged (for some reason) that she filed a federal lawsuit against the State of New York, alleging a violation of the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the U.S. Constitution. After winning in district court, the State appealed to the Second Circuit, which asked the New York Court of Appeals to interpret the statute. Indeed, said the state's highest court, nonresident attorneys do have to maintain a "physical office" in the state.

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.

No 11th Amendment Immunity for Community College, 2nd Cir. Says

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.