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

September 2013 Archives

This case reads like the plot to a James Bond movie: a Russian arms dealer caught in an international sting operation for conspiracy to sell arms to Columbian terrorists and drug lords. We can just picture it now, with Daniel Craig chasing villains around in too-tight Tom Ford suits... but we digress.

The Sting

Former Soviet air force officer Viktor Bout was caught in an international sting orchestrated by the U.S. government; he conspired to sell arms to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration informants who were posing as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), reports Reuters. FARC wishes to overthrow the Colombian government, is one of the world's largest cocaine suppliers, and is deemed a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.

After several meetings on several continents, Bout was arrested by Thai authorities in 2008, and later extradited to the United States in 2010.

In a procedurally complicated case, the Second Circuit was faced with two comparatively simple questions: (1) does the First Amendment right of access apply to civil contempt proceedings?; and (2) does the presumptive right of access require disclosure of certain documents in this case?


Sharon Dorsett filed a civil rights action against the Nassau County Police Department, on behalf of herself, and the estate of her daughter, alleging that the police department negligently contributed to her daughter's murder. During the course of litigation, a police internal affairs investigation report ("IAU report") was sealed.

Denny's Could be Responsible for Drunken Attack: 2nd Cir.

Earlier this month, the Second Circuit ruled that a woman who was attacked by rowdy drunken customers at a Denny's restaurant in New York could bring a negligence claim against the restaurant.

In 2008, Kelly Gray sued the Denny's Corp and the attackers in connection with the late-night incident at a Denny's seeking compensatory, exemplary, and punitive damages. Gray was dining at the restaurant when a group of other visibly drunk patrons began acting rowdy and aggressive.

Restitution Calculations for Child Porn Improper: 2nd Cir.

Defendant Avery Lundquist was convicted of possessing and receiving child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(2)(A) and (a)(5)(B). Among the library of images was one of "Amy," (a pseudonym) -- a young woman who was sexually abused by her uncle when she was four years old. Amy's uncle documented his abuse of Amy in photographs and posted them on the Internet.

Amy is now in her twenties, but the pornographic images of her as a child taken by her uncle remained on the Internet. So far, around 113 individuals have been convicted of possessing images of her.

Atheists Demands to Remove 'In God We Trust' from Currency Denied

Last week, a federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by atheists, who sued to have the phrase, "In God We Trust" removed from U.S. coins and currency, according to The Huffington Post.

The case was brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, alongside 19 other plaintiffs all represented by Michael Newdow, an attorney and atheist. The parties sued the U.S. Treasury Department and government officers a few months ago. The plaintiffs claimed that in placing the phrase "In God We Trust" on national currency, they were being discriminated against as non-believers and that this was ultimately a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Whether you're into zombies, monsters or superheroes, the news coming out of the Second Circuit reads more like updates from Comic Con than a Court of Appeals. In just a matter of days, the Second Circuit decided a case against B-Movie impresario Troma, and suspended trial deadlines pending a settlement in a Marvel case.

While the Internet is going nuts over the Apple e-Book injunction, we couldn't help ourselves when we came across a gem of a case adjudicating the ownership rights to a shipwreck. That's right, how often do you get to read about admiralty law?

So for fun (and we use that term loosely), we thought we'd cover both ...

The intern lawsuits are still at it -- both have different outcomes so far -- but are seeking the same thing -- immediate appeal.

Hearst & Black Swan

In a lawsuit involving magazine interns, a former magazine intern sued her former employer, Hearst, under New York and Federal Law. The Southern District of New York denied plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and denied class certification.