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

July 2011 Archives

Jury Trials Not Guaranteed to Hear PLRA Deficiency Excuses

The Second Circuit ruled today that a prisoner who sued under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) was not entitled to a jury trial on disputed factual issues relating to his exhaustion of administrative remedies. In other words, a court will not empanel a jury to evaluate a plaintiff’s claim that the dog ate his homework.

Plaintiff Rafael Messa, an inmate of the New York State Department of Correctional Services (“DOCS”), was injured during a prison yard fight with the defendants, a group of correctional officers, and was hospitalized in the prison infirmary. In 2003, Messa brought a pro se action against defendants and other DOCS employees, alleging excessive force and other Eighth Amendment and due process violations in connection with the fight.

Second Circuit Says Administrative Hearings Open to Public

New Yorkers are free to observe Transit Adjudication Bureau (TAB) hearings. That's the word from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which sided with the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) in a suit against the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) on Wednesday.

As NYCTA riders know, any NYC police officer can issue a citation to a rider for violating the NYCTA Rules of Conduct. Police officers have discretion in choosing to issue a summons to New York Criminal Court or a notice of violation for TAB. Court hearings, by statute, are open to the public, but TAB hearings policy permitted an alleged rule-breaker to object to observers attending his hearing.

Attorney's Fees Award Valid, Even on Vacated Judgment

Attorneys are relieved when the court orders the losing party to pay their fees because it usually means that they will be paid. But what happens when the judgment awarding fees is vacated - not overturned - on appeal?

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld an attorneys' fees award from judgment that was later vacated because the judgment "had brought a judicially-sanctioned, material alteration of the parties' legal relationship that had not been reversed on the merits." In case you don't have the time or energy to parse your way through that jargon, let's break this case down into English.

JPMorgan Chase Not Liable Under RICO, 2nd Circuit Says

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out a conspiracy lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase & Co for violating RICO.

The case involved the notorious Bernard Madoff, a.k.a. "Bernie" Madoff. For those of you unfamiliar with the Bernie Madoff saga, Madoff was arrested several years back for running a ponzi scheme and swindling investors out of billions of dollars. Madoff now enjoys the walls and bars of his prison cell as fingers continue pointing to others who may have been involved in the scheme.

You Don't Mess With The Zohan-- No Really, You Don't

You don't mess with The Zohan. Or at least, you don't mess with the guys who invented The Zohan.

Robert Cabell claims that Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel and Judd Apatow stole his idea of the wacky character that ultimately became "The Zohan" in the comedy film "You Don't Mess With The Zohan".

According to New York Post, Cabell had a similar character, Jayms Blonde, which he claims was ripped off by the Hollywood trio. He filed a copyright infringement lawsuit but his suit was thrown out by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The Second Circuit upheld a lower court ruling that Cabell had failed to establish his claim for copyright infringement.

Cabell reportedly represented himself in the lawsuit.