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

January 2017 Archives

Last summer, a three-judge Second Circuit panel ruled that the U.S. government could not force Microsoft to turn over email data stored on overseas servers. They rejected the government's warrant, issued pursuant to the Stored Communications Act, finding that the act had no extraterritorial reach. It was a landmark ruling, one praised by business and privacy advocates and condemned by those who viewed it as hamstringing criminal investigations.

That opinion will stand, for now. On Tuesday, the Second Circuit deadlocked 4-4 on whether to rehear the case en banc, effectively denying any rehearing -- and resulting in four separate dissents.

Court Confronts Sexual Orientation at Work

The courts are in a delicate situation when it comes to discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace.

"It's not about sex per se -- it doesn't matter who you slept with last night," attorney Susan Chana Lask argued on Jan. 20 in a case pending before the Second Circuit Court of Appeal.

Court Restores EPA's Water Transfer Rule

Turning the tide against environmentalists, a federal appeals court has upheld the Environmental Protection Agency's rule on water transfers.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals said the Water Transfers Rule is not subject to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, which permits and scrutinizes water quality throughout the country. The EPA rule has allowed water providers to transfer water from one body of water to another -- without NPDES permits -- for decades.

Environmental groups, including conservation and sporting organizations as well as several state, provincial, and tribal governments, argued in their lawsuit that the rule violated the Clean Water Act of 1972. A district court agreed, but the appellate court reversed.

"The EPA's interpretation of the Clean Water Act as reflected in the Rule is supported by several valid arguments--interpretive, theoretical, and practical," the court said in a divided opinion.

Court Hands Another Loss to Louis Vuitton; Couldn't Take 'My Other Bag' Joke

It was no joke to Louis Vuitton, who sued the makers of canvas hand bags that show cartoon images of Louis Vuitton bags.

Louis Vuitton apparently took umbrage that My Other Bag, Inc., was mocking the high-fashion company, which makes $2,000 hand bags. The company sued for trademark and copyright infringement, but a trial judge dismissed the case.

Doubly offended, the company appealed. The Second Circuit Court of Appeal, in a carefully worded opinion so as not to add insult to... Well, basically they said there was no injury.

"The fact that the joke on LV's luxury image is gentle, and possibly even complimentary to LV, does not preclude it from being a parody," the court said.