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

Recently in Court News Category

Flu Shot Reminder Text Doesn't Violate TCPA

Daniel Latner got a text message that apparently offended him.

"It's flu season again," his health care provider texted. It invited him to come in for a flu shot.

Instead of getting a shot, he filed a lawsuit. In Latner v. Mount Sinai Health System, it seemed like no good deed goes unpunished.

Iran Sanctions Case Stalls, Deal Possible

It's one thing when a defendant does not show up in court; it's another when the defense counsel is a no-show.

In a high-profile trial in Manhattan, neither Reza Zarrab nor his lawyers appeared for jury selection. Prosecutors allege Zarrab conspired to handle hundreds of millions of dollars for Iran to avoid economic sanctions.

After meeting with the lawyers who did make it to court, the judge postponed the case for a week. For co-defendant Mehmet Hakan Atilla, it may not have been good thing.

Day Laborers Win Right to Solicit Work

Attorney Elbert S. Hendrickson opened a blacksmith shop in the Town of Oyster Bay at a time when immigrants came to America trying to make a living any way they could.

One hundred fifty years later, lawmakers want to stop day laborers from making a living on the same Long Island streets. They enacted an ordinance that banned mostly immigrants from soliciting drivers for work as they drove through the suburban neighborhood.

However, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the ordinance in Centro de la Comunidad Hispana de Locust Valley v. Town of Oyster Bay. While the appeals court said it violated their free speech rights, town leaders vowed to fight on.

"I cannot understand why any court in this nation would allow illegal aliens to gather on residential streets seeking illegal work while avoiding paying taxes," Supervisor Joseph Saladino said, promising to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. "Our neighborhoods will not become sanctuaries for illegal aliens under my watch."

Trump Emoluments Case Gets Closer: Arguments Begin Oct. 18

Pressure is mounting in the other Russia case against President Donald Trump.

A federal judge has set a hearing over whether Trump's businesses run afoul of the U.S. Constitution's emoluments clause. The clause prohibits public officials from accepting any emolument, i.e. money, of any kind from a foreign government.

It is not the same matter being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller, but it involves some of the same concerns. How did the president benefit from his ties to Russia?

Silk Road Founder Loses Appeal of Life Sentence for Drug Trafficking

A federal appeals court affirmed the life sentence for a darknet criminal who was convicted of selling more than $180 million in illegal drugs on the internet.

Ross William Ulbricht, who created Silk Road and allegedly hired killers to protect his enterprise, was sentenced to life plus 40 years for his crimes. The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the sentence, rejecting Ulbricht's claims that the government's search warrant for his computer was too broad.

"Ulbricht used his laptop to commit the charged offenses by creating and continuing to operate Silk Road," the court said in United States v. Ulbricht. "Thus, a broad warrant allowing the government to search his laptop for potentially extensive evidence of those crimes does not offend the Fourth Amendment..."

Court Reverses Illegal Smuggling Conviction

A federal appeals court reversed the conviction of a man who smuggled a Pakistani man into the United States, then drove him to board a train to Canada with a fake British passport.

It was part of a scheme for the Pakistani to re-enter the United States (via the United Kingdom) and seek U.S. citizenship with the fake documents, but authorities arrested the men before they reached the Canadian border. Choudry Muhammad Khalil, the smuggler, was sentenced on multiple counts for his crimes.

But the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, in United States of America v. Khalil, reversed one count -- for transporting an alien to further an illegal presence in the United States -- because Khalil was driving the man to Canada.

Union Worker's Profane Post on Facebook Is Protected

An employee's Facebook comments -- including the f-word directed at a supervisor's mother -- days before a union vote were protected by labor laws, a federal appeals court ruled.

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals said that the Facebook post was "vulgar and inappropriate," but it was not beyond the protections of the National Labor Relations Act. The appeals court said in National Labor Relations Board v. Pier Sixty that the employee should not have been fired under the "totality of the circumstances."

"However, we note that this case seems to us to sit at the out-bounds of protected, union-related comments," the appeals court said.

New York City's 'Black Car' Drivers Are Independent Contractors

In New York City, the color of your car matters if you drive a taxi.

Yellow cars can pick up passengers anywhere and anytime they hail you. Green cars can pick up only in certain burroughs, but still get the same money. Hey, it's a city that never sleeps.

But black cars are different because you work by appointment and you get to pick your hours. So a judge in Saleem v. Corporate Transportation Group says you get no overtime.

It was truly a mad March, and we're not just talking about NCAA basketball or Russian spies. We're talking about the Second Circuit, as well. Over the past 31 days, the Second has ruled on everything from puppy mills to workplace discrimination.

We know you don't have time to read through every case, but we do -- well, almost every case. Here are the ones our caselaw experts marked as the top five, selected for their interesting or unusual scenarios or significant impacts on the law.

Court Overturns Judgment Against Rite Aid Over Pharmacist's Fear of Needles

A federal appeals court reversed a $1.8 million judgment against Rite Aid, concluding the company lawfully fired a pharmacist who was too afraid of needles to give immunization injections to customers.

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals said Christopher Stevens was fired because he couldn't do the job. A jury had concluded the company discriminated against the pharmacist because of his phobia, but the appeals court set aside the verdict in Stevens v. Rite Aid Corporation.

"It is understandable that the jury had sympathy for Stevens, afflicted as he was with an unusual phobia," Judge Jon O. Newman wrote for the unanimous court. "Nevertheless, his inability to perform an essential function of his job as a pharmacist is the only reasonable conclusion that could be drawn from the evidence."