2nd Circuit Court Rules News - U.S. Second Circuit
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2nd Cir. Affirms Dismissal of ERISA Parity Case Against Anthem

The Second Circuit affirmed a lower court's dismissal of an ERISA discrimination suit against health insurers Anthem on the grounds that the latter discriminated against mental-health patients by reimbursing them less than other patients.

But the thrust of the disputed issue at law still remains red hot. The case was not dismissed on the merits so much as the circuit decided that psychiatrists, who brought the suit on behalf of their patients, lacked standing.

Want to represent New Yorkers while keeping your only law office in Connecticut or New Jersey? Fuhgeddaboutit!

The Second Circuit has upheld New York's law requiring out-of-state attorneys to maintain a physical office in the state, reversing a district court opinion declaring the rule an unconstitutional violation of the Privileges and Immunities Clause. Sorry Empire State moon lighters, it's time to start looking for a lease.

2nd Cir. Unseals Atty Suit Records in Kickback Scandal

The Second Circuit ruled recently that the law firm of Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP can't hide up court records in a lawsuit in which a "disgruntled employee" was forced to resign after shining a light on potentially unethical conduct by lawyers at the firm.

Weighing the public interest versus potential harm to litigants and individual reputations, the circuit court found that the "the interests favoring secrecy ... are weak."

2nd Circuit Ruling Is a Boon for Defendants in Mass Tort Cases

The Second Circuit gave a real treat in the decision Brown v. Lockheed Martin Corp.; the court really tossed a bone to potential defendants in mass tort cases. In this case, the circuit court found that despite "systematic and continuous" presence in Connecticut, applicable law dictated that Lockheed was not "essentially at home" for general jurisdiction purposes.

Before there was Enron, there was Cendant. Cendant, a travel and real estate company, cooked its books for 12 years, in one of the largest accounting frauds ever. When the fraud was discovered, Cendant's stock crashed, with investors losing $19 billion in a single day -- the largest tumble on record, until Enron came around.

It took three trials and over eight years for Walter Forbes, former Cendant chairman, to be convicted of securities fraud for his role in the fraud. He was sentenced to 12 years and ordered to pay $3.275 billion in restitution -- again, the largest restitution award ever, until Bernie Maddof came around. 

Forbes won't be getting a fourth trial, as the Second Circuit on Tuesday rejected his request to be retried because of newly discovered evidence. Not only does the case keep Forbes locked up, but it adds a new layer to the Second Circuit's treatment of newly discovered evidence. While known but physically unavailable evidence may be considered newly discovered, that which was withheld because of the Fifth Amendment will not.

Nothing can keep a lawyer up at night like the fear of missing a deadline or failing to file a required document. Not only do such errors do a disservice to the client, they can make the attorney look like a fool.

Well, apparently not every lawyer has those worries.

In a scathing public reprimand, the Second Circuit has suspended attorney Andres Aranda for extensive misconduct. Aranda was suspended for eighteen months for failing to file papers, briefs or respond to court orders, leading to numerous defaults in appeals in the Second Circuit.

More than 22 years ago, environmental advocates accused Texaco, later acquired by Chevron, of polluting the Amazonian rainforest homeland of 30,000 Ecuadorians. Since then, the controversy has produced reams of media coverage, a well-received documentary, and a judgment of nearly $9 billion against Chevron.

It also produced a three hundred page court opinion finding that the billion dollar judgment to be based on fraudulent evidence, bribery and deceit -- and preventing enforcement of the judgment under an anti-racketeering statute often used for mobsters, not environmental lawyers.

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.

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.

The Roman Catholic Church has been embroiled in controversies surrounding allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of priests for years. In a recent Second Circuit opinion, the Arch Diocese of Albany won a small victory, though on purely procedural grounds, reports the Times Union.

The Claim

Michael Shovah initiated an action in Vermont federal court, against the Arch Diocese of Albany, and a former priest, alleging that he was transported from New York to Vermont and was sexually abused. Under the New York statute of limitation, he would have had to file his claim by 2008, yet he did not do so until 2011. However, his claim was timely under the Vermont statute of limitations, hence the choice of venue.