2nd Circuit Injury & Tort Law News - U.S. Second Circuit
U.S. Second Circuit - The FindLaw 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Recently in Injury & Tort Law Category

Chevron Escapes $9.5 Billion 'Amazon Chernobyl' Judgment

Energy giant Chevron can breathe a little easier after the Second Circuit overruled a lower court award of $9.5 billion, finding that the judgment was "procured by corrupt means" and attorney fraud. It's a gigantic win for a gigantic company that has the potential to set the tone for international business litigation strategies.

The attorney who is at the center of this reversal-slash-scandal is Steven Donzinger whom Chevron accused of conducting a "shake-down" of the company. Donzinger's lawyer called the circuit's decision "unprecedented."

2nd Cir. Refuses to Re-Open Arab Bank Terrorism Suit

Controversy aside, jurists will have to live with the fact that precedent does not allow a re-hearing of the Arab Bank suit which ruled against victims of suicide bombers late last year.

This was the final say of the Second Circuit, which finally put to rest the suits brought by families of Israeli victims killed by Palestinian suicide bombers during the Second Intifada.

The Second Circuit reluctantly dismissed five lawsuits against Jordan's Arab Bank on Tuesday, ruling that the bank was immune from suit under the Alien Tort Statute. Plaintiffs sought to hold the bank accountable for financing and facilitating terrorist attacks in the West Bank.

Those suits were barred by Second Circuit and Supreme Court precedent, the court explained, while inviting an en banc sitting or the High Court to overrule earlier decisions that have kept terror victims from recovering in court.

In Skiing Hit-and-Run, Resort Off the Hook: 2nd Cir

Yes, you can get in a hit-and-run on the ski slopes, but if you do, don't assume that the resort will be liable. The Second Circuit recently affirmed a district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of a ski resort whose negligence, plaintiff claimed, caused his injury.

The facts are interesting in this case, because it appears that plaintiff was blindsided and did not see the thing or person who collided with him, even for a moment.

If you came down with bronchitis a few years ago, there was a fair chance that your doctor would prescribe Ketek, an antibiotic produced by the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis. That was, until 2007, when the FDA banned the use of Ketek for sinusitis and bronchitis, finding that it was too risky for those diseases and giving it the strongest warning possible -- a so-called "black box" warning -- for certain permitted uses.

The changes came after a year-long FDA investigation which found that the drug could result in severe liver damage. Following the FDA's action, a consortium of health plans sued Sanofi-Aventis for racketeering, arguing that the company fraudulently failed to disclose risks. Their case didn't make it far, however, having been tossed out by the Second Circuit last Friday for failure to establish causation.

Andrew Hall was born in a coal cellar during the Warsaw Uprising against Nazi Germany. It was, perhaps, a foretelling birth: Hall has gone on to make his name as an attorney by fighting against terrorists and corrupt regimes. The goal? Make them pay for their crimes -- in cash.

So far, he's had incredible success, winning cases against state sponsors of terror such as Iraq and Libya. In 2012, he won a $315 million award against Sudan for its involvement in the bombing of the USS Cole. Hall's winning record held up again this Wednesday, as the Second Circuit affirmed the ruling against the Republic of Sudan.

Figure Skater Oksana Baiul Loses Defamation Suit (Again)

Okasana Baiul became famous after she beat both Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding to win the gold medal in figure skating at the infamous 1994 winter Olympic games. Then she fell into alcoholism, resulting in a 1997 car accident.

She revitalized herself, however, and joined season 13 of "The Apprentice." She's also the plaintiff in a defamation suit filed against Disson Skating and NBC, where she claimed Disson and NBC promoted her appearance at a skating event she was actually never supposed to appear at, then made statements creating the impression (she says) that she failed to show up for that appearance. The Second Circuit last week upheld a district court's dismissal of her claim, in which Brian Boitano makes a special guest appearance.

Arne Svenson, a visual artist, created a series of photographs, entitled "The Neighbors," by using a telephoto lens to photograph the residents of the building across the street from him. His photos capture people at mundane and intimate moments like napping on a couch or scrubbing a floor. The neighbors, who did not know they were being photographed in their homes and did not consent to having their images displayed, sued, alleging the works violated their privacy rights.

A New York appellate court sided with the artist last Friday, finding that the artistic expression is constitutionally protected and exempt from the state's privacy law.

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.

SCOTUS Denies Cert. in Ground Zero Environmental Cleanup Case

The Supreme Court yesterday denied a petition for a writ of certiorari in a case that's been going on since 2008, pitting a real estate developer against the owner of the World Trade Center site to figure out who was going to pay for cleanup costs related to the September 11 attacks.

When the real estate developer, Cedar & Washington, wanted to renovate an office building in downtown New York, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the EPA told the developer the building might contain "WTC dust," consisting of fine particles of concrete along with hazardous substances like lead, mercury, and asbestos that settled in and on the building following the destruction of the World Trade Center towers in 2001.