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

July 2013 Archives

Privacy. So highly regarded, yet so easily disregarded.

Today, the Second Circuit handed down a decision giving a clear warning to companies reselling personal information under the Driver's Privacy Protection Act ("DPPA"). Get ready to let your clients know to call their web designers -- some of their drop down menus may have to go.

Let's back track a little to see where exactly the Second Circuit drew the line in the sand.

Two weeks ago, the SEC filed a civil action against SAC Capital Advisors LP (SAC) founder Steven Cohen. A week later, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, indicted SAC on five counts of criminal charges for wire fraud and securities fraud, stemming from alleged insider trading.

As expected, SAC plead not guilty to all charges.

It seems that there isn't enough evidence to indict Cohen on personal criminal charges, but if the claims are successful, these actions will hit him where it will hurt -- his wallet.

On Monday, the Second Circuit reversed a district court’s decision, affirming a bankruptcy’s court decision, granting WorldCom Debtors’ objections to an IRS proof of claim, and a motion for taxes that WorldCom previously paid.

The decision centered on how “local telephone service” was interpreted, because the federal tax code requires the addition of a three-percent tax to the purchase of a local telephone service. At issue was WorldCom’s purchase of “central-office-based remote access” (COBRA), a service that gave customers the ability to connect to the Internet and WorldCom’s network through a regular phone line.

The bankruptcy court and district court concluded that COBRA was not a local telephone service, and therefore not subject to the three-percent tax. The Second Circuit disagreed.

On Friday, the SEC filed civil charges against billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen for failing to supervise two employees, criminally charged with insider trading, that occurred on his watch.

Cohen, known as one of the most successful hedge fund managers, has an estimated net worth of $9 billion, and his company SAC Capital Advisors LP, oversees $15 billion, Bloomberg reports. Since founding SAC in 1992, he has seen a 25% return in his investments each year.

Bloomberg reports that Professor John Coffee, of Columbia Law School, noted: "The SEC is aiming at his kneecaps, not his jugular ...This is a little like catching John Dillinger entering a bank with a submachine gun and charging him with double parking."

With all the power the gun lobby holds, it’s a rare instance when a gun law gets challenged and upheld. Last week, in Kwong v. Bloomberg, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals defied the odds and held that two New York laws regulating residential handgun licensing fees were constitutional.

Here’s why.

In 2007, Kareem Ibrahim joined a plot to blow up John F. Kennedy Airport ("JFK"), in New York, along with Abdul Kadir, Russell Defreitas and Abdel Nur, who were tried separately. Ibrahim's co-conspirators were convicted of terrorism-related counts, and the Second Circuit recently affirmed their convictions and sentences.

In 2011, Kareem Ibrahim was convicted five counts of terrorism-related offenses: (1) conspiracy to bomb a public transportation system; (2) conspiracy to destroy a building by fire or explosive; (3) conspiracy to attack aircraft and aircraft material; (4) conspiracy to destroy international airport facilities; and (5) conspiracy to attack a mass transportation facility.

On Friday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of Kareem Ibrahim. The defendant raised six arguments on appeal, none of which the Second Circuit found convincing. Here's a breakdown of his arguments, and why they didn't work...

SPCA 'Peace Officers' Subject to Civil Rights Claim

New York animal owners better treat those puppies, kitties, and horses right or else the animal po-po will come a knockin’ on your door.

SPCA “police” abuse is rightly the subject of a Section 1983 claim, which the Second Circuit in Kanciper v. Suffolk County SPCA states can be brought in federal court, even while parallel state tort actions are pending.

Class Cert. Vacated; Evaluate Google's 'Fair Use' Defense First

Today was another bad day for the Author's Guild, the collective of copyright holders who are suing both the HathiTrust Digital Library and Google Books over their online mega-catalogs. Both services scan the text of books, in-copyright or out-of-copyright, and stores that information online, in a massive searchable database. A user's query brings up an excerpt of the book, along with page number, title, and author.

Like we said, because it only provides excerpts, it's essentially a mega-catalog. And while the Author's Guild's lawsuit against the HathiTrust was defeated in the name of fair use in the lower court, and may suffer the same fate on appeal, their lawsuit against Google Books remained, and thanks to a lower court's ruling, had even certified a class.

Consider that class de-certified, then.