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

Woman Wins Appeal in Water Rights Battle

When the water shut off at her residence, Jacqueline Winston didn't call a plumber. She called a lawyer.

She was upset because the city shut off the water over the landlord's unpaid bill. What really irked Winston was that she offered to pay the bill and the city still wouldn't turn on the water.

In Winston v. City of Syracuse, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals said she had a point because that's not how water service is supposed to work.

While media coverage of the recent settlement in Hassan v. NYPD report that the settlement was for a paltry $75K split between 11 plaintiffs, many sources failed to include the $950K in legal fees the plaintiffs racked up that the department and city agreed to cover.

The case revolves around the NYPD's post 9/11 policies that included surveilling mosques, schools, and other groups, solely for their Muslim affiliation, without probable cause, reasonable suspicion, or any reason other than religious affiliation (and xenophobia). As part of the settlement, the city and department have agreed to revise their policies, and provide better training, both of which were also terms of prior settlements alleging similar misconduct. While neither defendant admitted liability, it doesn't take a legal scholar to understand what a million dollar settlement means in terms of who violated the law.

NY Federal Court Shuts Down Cheese Factory

If you have cheese in your refrigerator, go check it right now.

If it came from Vulto Creamery, sit down before reading on. That's because Vulto cheese, previously distributed by Whole Foods and throughout New York, has caused at least eight people to fall ill to listeriosis -- including two who died.

A federal court has ordered the shut-down of the artisanal creamery, but that's only part of the story. This has been going on for years.

Lawsuit Against Trump's DACA Policies Proceeds

Legally speaking, President Trump has made racial slurs.

Almost everybody knows it, but it just sounds so bad when a judge says it. Of course, Judge Nicholas Garaufis used more judicious language in his decision.

But ruling in Vidal v. Nielsen, the federal judge made it clear. The president has said prejudicial things against Mexicans.

Non-Organic Baby Formula Case Preempted

Sara Marentette checked the label twice: "Similac Advance Organic Infant Formula."

Like many parents, she wanted to make sure the baby formula was organic. So she bought some and took it home.

But when she double-checked, she discovered a bunch of ingredients that prompted her to file a class-action lawsuit. In Marentette v. Abbott Laboratories, the plaintiffs said the defendant sold them non-organic baby formula.

Court: New York Pipeline May Go Forward

A federal appeals court turned back a New York agency's attempt to slow down a controversial natural gas pipeline, which has been tied to a state government scandal in the same courthouse.

In New York State Department of Environmental Conservation v. Federal Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals said the department waited too long to challenge the pipeline over water issues. As a result, the 442-mile Millennium Pipeline will go forward.

Meanwhile in the same building, federal prosecutors closed in on a former state official in a bribery trial involving the same pipeline company. In New York, they say, one hand washes the other.

Martin Shkreli likely won't be remembered for committing securities fraud, even though he was just sentenced to seven years in a federal prison for exactly that. Not surprisingly, the public is celebrating his federal prison sentence. Naturally, he plans on appealing to the Second Circuit.

Shkreli rose to infamy when he, and his pharmaceutical company, made the decision to raise the price of a lifesaving drug by over 5,000 percent. Seemingly overnight Shkreli became the "pharma bro" and a household name to be hated. And Shkreli didn't seem to self-reflect or introspect, but rather doubled down on being obnoxious, and becoming more hated. However, despite the Shkreli persona we've all grown accustomed to hating, in court at his sentencing, he attempted to appear sympathetic without his characteristic smirk ... then he spoke.

'Ministerial Exception' Protects Hospital From Racial Discrimination Claims

The First Amendment comes before the Fourteenth Amendment, and sometimes trumps it.

At least that's what happened in Penn v. New York Methodist Hospital. A black chaplain sued the Methodist hospital for racial discrimination, but a federal court rejected his case.

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals said there is a "ministerial exception" against discrimination claims. In other words, religions can discriminate.

Long Island Water Contamination Suit Time-Barred

Time heals all injuries, except perhaps damages from contaminated water in Bethpage, Long Island.

It's a legal reality because the statute of limitations has ended claims in Bethpage Water District v. Northrup Grumman Corporation. A federal appeals court said the plaintiffs waited too long to sue for groundwater contamination caused by the company's industrial work.

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals said Bethpage waited until 2013 to sue, despite learning about groundwater contamination there between 2007 and 2009.

Further driving a divide in a circuit split, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals joined the Seventh Circuit in finding that Title VII does in fact protect employees on the basis of sexual orientation.

Sadly, the case involves a deceased skydiving instructor who was fired after a customer complained that the instructor was gay. The estate of the deceased kept the case alive even after the plaintiff died in a subsequent skydiving accident. Interestingly, the appellate court initially did not find in favor of the plaintiff, but after a rehearing en banc, the court changed their minds on the issue of whether sexual orientation discrimination was discrimination "because of sex."