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

September 2014 Archives

Jack Kirby Estate Settles With Marvel Over Comic Book Characters

You may have never heard of Jack Kirby, but you've heard of X-Men, The Fantastic Four, and The Incredible Hulk? Kirby created, or co-created, all of them -- and more -- between 1958 and 1963, when he was an independent contractor for Marvel Comics.

Last Friday, a surprise announcement sent a shockwave through the legal-comics community. The estate of Jack Kirby and Marvel Entertainment had reached a settlement, meaning the Kirby v. Marvel cert petition would likely be withdrawn from the Supreme Court's consideration.

Arab Bank Found Liable for Supporting Terrorism

Following two days of deliberations, a federal jury in Brooklyn found the Jordan-based Arab Bank liable for a series of suicide bombings in Israel and Palestine in the early 2000s.

Witnesses testified that not only did Hamas and other alleged terrorist organizations, like the Saudi Committee for the support of the Intifada al-Quds, use Arab Bank to transfer money to the families of suicide bombers, but Arab Bank knew that this was going on.

Ex-Conn. Gov. Convicted Again, Could Face Up to 57 Years in Prison

The year was 2004. Paul Giamatti shined in "Sideways," a dramedy that would win the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Usher's "Yeah!," featuring rapper Ludacris and producer Lil Jon was tearing up the Billboard charts. And Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland was headed to prison after pleading guilty to accepting inappropriate gifts from individuals with contracts with the state.

Ten years later, I finally got around to watching "Sideways." (Dark, depressing, and hilarious.) And the former governor? He's headed back to prison after being convicted of another corrupt political deal -- a campaign finance violation for a losing congressional race. And while last time, Gov. Rowland only served 10 months, this time he faces up to 57 years, reports The New York Times.

2nd Cir. Caught Making Copy-and-Paste Snafus ... Again

Hey, we all do it, right? We reuse old legal documents to save time and money, typically clients' money. And once in a while, you'll forget to change a name or a gender-based pronoun somewhere around page 12. It happens.

But this goes a bit further than that: The Second Circuit has been copying and pasting what is arguably a misstatement of an immigration standard -- social visibility -- in a long series of unpublished opinions. After a law professor pointed this out in 2012, the court stopped. But recently, someone taking the copy-and-paste shortcut brought the snippet back from the grave, using it in three more cases this year.

9/11 Anniversary: What Happened to All Those Lawsuits?

Thirteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, some lawyers have certainly benefitted from a bevy of lawsuits, on issues ranging from negligence to freedom of religion to whether Saudi Arabia was partially responsible.

Here are some highlights from 13 years of lawsuits in the Second Circuit:

The Cross at Ground Zero

In the wreckage of the World Trade Center towers, crews found two steel beams that had formed the shape of a Latin cross. They called it "the cross at Ground Zero" and it eventually got placed in the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. An atheist group sued to get the cross removed from the museum, but the Second Circuit held that keeping the cross there didn't offend the Establishment Clause.

2nd Cir. Issues Warning to Prosecutors in Otherwise Obvious Reversal

So, there's these Russians, right? And they had this ... defrauding the government thing. They'd sell medical equipment to the government at ridiculously inflated prices -- home whirlpools that cost about $30 were listed as costing $380 -- and they'd pocket the difference between the real cost and the fake cost, split it amongst co-conspirators, etc.

Hilariously, Vadim Yuzovitskiy and Grigory Groysman had been here before. They ran the same scam previously, Yuzovitskiy got caught, snitched on Groysman, and he snitched on everybody else. They testified that immediately after the case was closed, they opened a new office and went back to business as usual. When the sequel was inevitably discovered, the FBI went with their usual snitches and prosecuted the defendant, Lyubov Groysman, a woman who argues that she was simply a clerk, unaware of any scam or illegal activity.

Legally, that's all we know right now, because her conviction for being one of the main participants was just reversed for obvious, plain, ridiculous error. And the Second Circuit, mindful that not all cases will be this easy in the future, sent a little warning to prosecutors in the circuit.

2nd Cir Denies FOIA Request for Photos of Guantanamo Bay Detainee

Mohammed al-Qahtani was alleged to be the "20th hijacker" of the September 11, 2001 hijackings. He's been held at the U.S. facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since 2002. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) has attempted to use the Freedom of Information Act to get "certain videos and photographs" of al-Qahtani -- ostensibly images of him being tortured, which CCR claimed has been happening for the last 13 years.

Today, the Second Circuit affirmed a district court ruling denying CCR access to those documents on the ground that it could compromise national security.