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

February 2012 Archives

Circuit Sends BofA Mortgage Settlement Back to State Court

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that a Bank of America (BofA) dispute over unresolved liabilities stemming from its 2008 Countrywide acquisition should be decided in a New York state court, not the federal court system. The ruling reverses an October 2011 decision from District Judge William Pauley, which yanked the case from the state courts, reports Reuters.

Second Circuit Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs, writing for a three-judge panel, found that the case fell within the securities exception to both original and appellate federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA).

NY Shield Law Keeps WSJ Reporter Out of Court

Widespread media support for the reporter's privilege has been garnering attention this week after more than two dozen media outlets signed on to an amicus brief filed with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that New York Times reporter James Risen should not have to testify before a grand jury about the sources for his 2006 book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration. The media amici's obstacle in the Fourth Circuit is that the Supreme Court ruled in Branzburg v. Hayes that reporters cannot invoke the First Amendment as justification for refusing to testify before a grand jury.

In New York, however, reporters can take cover behind the journalist shield law. Last week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that plaintiffs cannot subpoena a reporter to testify about his investigative reporting methods.

Second Circuit Rules in Sergey Aleynikov, Norman Hsu Appeals

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued opinions in two high-profile criminal appeals last week.

First, the court reversed Sergey Aleynikov's source code theft conviction last Thursday. A jury convicted Aleynikov in December 2010 of stealing trade secrets and transporting stolen property in interstate and foreign commerce, reports The Wall Street Journal. The court issued a single paragraph in Aleynikov's favor, stating, "Upon due consideration, it is hereby ordered, adjudged, and decreed that the judgment of conviction is reversed on both counts and the matter is remanded to the district court for entry of a judgment of acquittal. An opinion shall follow in due course."

Can Struggling Company Win Marvel-ous Stan Lee Lawsuit?

It sounds like the kind of bitter battle that you would read about in a comic book. Man versus self. Stan Lee versus … Stan Lee.

Except here, Plaintiff Stan Lee is actually Stan Lee Media Inc., (SLMI) the struggling, once-bankrupt company that comic creator extraordinaire Stan Lee founded in the late 1990s. Defendant Stan Lee is the aforementioned creative genius, who has since returned to Marvel.

And their battleground is the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, But Clients Still Owe Unpaid Legal Fees

Richard Levitt received quite the valentine from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals today.

Instead of chocolates, flowers, or greeting cards, the Second Circuit announced that Levitt is entitled to over $200,000 in unpaid legal fees from his former client, David F. Brooks, reports The Wall Street Journal.


Valentine's Day Tips for Second Circuit Attorneys

Can a Second Circuit attorney balance an appellate practice with a love life? Yes, according to former Cravath, Swaine & Moore litigation associate Lauren Willig.

Willig’s opinion carries weight here. In addition to being admitted to practice in New York and before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Willig is the New York Times best-selling author of the Pink Carnation series of historical romance novels.

We asked Willig for Valentine’s Day tips for lawyers who are still planning for next week’s saccharin sweet celebration. Here are her suggestions:

Beware Ex Parte Order Suspending Statute of Limitations

Never send to know for whom the statute of limitations tolls; it tolls for thee the government. Unless a court files an ex parte order suspending the running of the statute of limitations so the government can gather evidence from a foreign country.

And according to a Second Circuit Court of Appeals opinion this week, such ex parte orders are okay.

Court Imposes More Attorney Sanctions for 9/11 Truthers

The 9/11 Truthers are back in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

This week, the Second Circuit imposed further attorney sanctions on one of the lawyers in the 9/11 Truther case, while relieving another attorney of sanctions after learning that he had served a "peripheral and subordinate role" in the frivolous appeal.

No Means No: Court Denies Social Security Benefits for Prisoner

Some federal laws have ambiguous names. How do titles like the American Dream Restoration Act or the Common Sense Legal Reforms Act indicate the goal of the corresponding legislation?

The No Social Security Benefits for Prisoners Act isn't so murky. As the title would indicate, the law denies social security benefits for prisoners. For good measure, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals clarified this week in a published opinion that title of the Act did not conceal a legislative caveat.

No social security benefits really means no social security benefits.