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

October 2011 Archives

Judge Must List Reasons for Certificate of Appealability Grant

Judges are people, too. They occasionally make mistakes. And sometimes criminal defendants bear the mistakes of the judges.

Today we have a quick reminder from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that it helps to check a judge's work for errors.

Damon Blackman was convicted of first degree robbery in 2003, and sentenced to 10 years in prison. New York State Courts affirmed his conviction and denied his application for leave to appeal, so Blackman, proceeding pro se, filed a writ of habeas corpus in federal court.

Tiffany Files Amicus Brief in Louboutin-YSL Trademark Dispute

The questionably-trademarked Christian Louboutin red-soled shoes have found a friend in Tiffany blue.

The Louboutin YSL trademark dispute grew more colorful this week after Tiffany & Co. filed an amicus brief in the lawsuit, which is heading to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

But Tiffany’s brief isn’t motivated by love of the famous footwear; according to Susan Scafidi, director of Fordham University’s Fashion Law Institute, the world-famous jeweler is worried about protecting its trademarked blue. Scafidi told Women’s Wear Daily that a Louboutin trademark cancellation would “weaken color trademarks across the world of fashion.”

West Point Protest Ban Does Not Violate Free Speech Rights

When we were in college, there was a man who protested regularly on our university campus. He wasn't a student, and we're still not sure what he was protesting, but he always brought a giant American flag with him.

We remember the campus police telling him one afternoon that he had to pack up the flag and leave because he wasn't in a free speech zone. That was the first time we realized that the campus had free speech zones.

We thought it was oppressive and unconstitutional. And then we went to law school and realized that free speech rights weren't nearly as inclusive as we, and many, many others, believed.

Stock Drop and Roll: Citigroup, McGraw-Hill Defeat ERISA Claims

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against two groups of plaintiffs on Wednesday, denying federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) claims stemming from staggering subprime mortgage losses during the peak of the mortgage crisis.

In the first suit, Gray v. Citigroup, Inc., the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against 153,000 workers whose 401(k) plans were depleted as a result of Citigroup's subprime-related losses.

Interim Local Rule 3.1 Effective, Comment Period Closes Oct. 24

It’s a new week with a new rule in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Interim Local Rule 3.1, regarding service of notice of appeal, became effective over the weekend on October 15.

The interim rule states: If a party to a civil action in the district court files a notice of appeal electronically in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the district court’s local rules, the district clerk may satisfy the service requirements of Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure (FRAP) 3(d) as to a counseled party to the appeal by effecting service electronically.

Student Press Law: Cert Denied in Lewd Stick Figure Cartoon Case

Before we saw Team America: World Police for the first time, a friend explained that the film's creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, (better known as the South Park masterminds), had to cut a puppet sex scene from the theatrical release version of the film to avoid an NC-17 rating.

We wondered how puppets could make the Motion Picture Association of America so uncomfortable. Then we saw the movie, and understood.

In May, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a student press law case that stick figures in sexual positions, much like Stone and Parker's puppets, could be "unquestionably lewd" and thus subject to school newspaper censorship.

Comity or Tragedy? 2nd Circ. Nixes NY Parking Tax Challenge

BigLaw attorneys may look forward to splurging on fancy new cars, but those attorneys who are commuting to Manhattan shouldn’t look to the federal courts for extra spending money coming from savings on New York parking taxes. This week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court decision denying jurisdiction over a New York parking tax challenge.

New York State authorizes New York City to impose taxes of 18.375 percent on parking lots and garages in Manhattan. Included in that rate is a city-implemented 8 percent surtax on parking services rendered in Manhattan.

Respect My Authority? FINRA Can't Enforce Disciplinary Fines

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) does not the authority to bring court actions to collect disciplinary fines.

FINRA is a “self-regulatory organization” as a national securities association registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that is responsible for conducting investigations and commencing disciplinary proceedings against [FINRA] member firms and their associated member representatives relating to compliance with the federal securities laws and regulations.

Supreme Court: No Cert for Second Circuit Music Royalties Review

Is downloading a song the legal equivalent of performing a song when calculating music royalties? Last year, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals said it wasn’t.

Hoping for a final word from the Supreme Court on the issue? You’re out of luck. In its Monday orders, the Supreme Court denied a writ of certiorari in the case.

In case you missed the controversy when it was in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, we’ll recap for you.