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

February 2018 Archives

Further driving a divide in a circuit split, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals joined the Seventh Circuit in finding that Title VII does in fact protect employees on the basis of sexual orientation.

Sadly, the case involves a deceased skydiving instructor who was fired after a customer complained that the instructor was gay. The estate of the deceased kept the case alive even after the plaintiff died in a subsequent skydiving accident. Interestingly, the appellate court initially did not find in favor of the plaintiff, but after a rehearing en banc, the court changed their minds on the issue of whether sexual orientation discrimination was discrimination "because of sex."

According to one federal judge's reading of the law, if a website embeds another's copyright violation, that's a copyright violation. And while some folks who write on the internet might be up in arms about the recent decision holding such, as embedding is a common practice, there's more to it than most media outlets are letting on, and it's not the end of the internet.

For starters, the court decided a rather narrow issue. The parties basically asked the court to clarify whether it was a copyright violation to display another person's copyright violation via embedding. Not surprisingly, the court found that yes, republishing another person's copyright violation, even if you're not hosting the image and just creating a box where it is called forth from the bellows of the internet, it's still displaying the copyrighted content in violation of the law.

Upheld: NY Can Require Nonprofits to Report Major Donors

Over free speech arguments, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld New York's law requiring registered charities to disclose their donors.

Citizens United had challenged the law, saying it violated the First Amendment by intimidating donors who want to remain anonymous. The free speech group also said the law was a prior restraint on the ability to solicit donations.

In Citizens United and Citizens United Foundation v. Schneiderman, the appeals court said the state has an important interest in stopping fraud and abuse by charities by requiring them to disclose donor information.

Poet May Sue Public Access Company for Free Speech Violation, 2nd Cir. Rules

If it were the battle of the poet against the public access channel, then the poet won.

In Halleck v. Manhattan Community Access Corporation, a federal appeals court said the plaintiffs may sue a public access company for violating their free speech rights. East Harlem poet Jesus Papoleto Melendez and an activist sued after the company stopped a television show that nearly caused a fist-fight.

But the case also caused a split in the U.S. Second Court of Appeal, and that had little to do with poetry.

A 15-year-old case has finally reached a final conclusion thanks to a Second Circuit ruling vacating judgment and remanding the matter. Due to a settlement agreement where the parties stipulated to not proceed with a retrial, the circuit court's order effectively ends the litigation related to three terrorist attacks that date back to before 2005.

The case against Arab Bank was filed under the Antiterrorism Act, which extended liability to any organization that provides support to terrorist organization. The bank is alleged to have turned a blind eye to terrorist organizations providing monetary incentives to attackers and their families. And while a federal jury found the bank liable, the appellate court found that the errors at the trial court level warranted the verdict being vacated and a remand.

Puzzle Maker Sues Over Rubik's Cube Trademark

Did you see the kid who did a Rubik's Cube in less than five seconds?

That's faster than most Corvettes can do zero-to-sixty. That's faster than a Wall Street crash.

And that's about how long it took -- give or take a week -- to sue the Rubik's company after it dismissed a lawsuit against a competitor. In Cubicle Enterprises, LLC v. Rubik's Brand Limited, the New York-based puzzle maker claims Rubik's patents have expired.

The news about former Ninth Circuit Judge Kozinski's resignation amid allegations of misconduct came as a shock to the public. And now, the Second Circuit's opinion that the judiciary is powerless to pursue the complaint against him is definitely leading to some unpleasant reactions.

In case you've had your head buried in Second Circuit caselaw, or some sandy beach, since before Christmas, then you've heard about Kozinski's misconduct towards staff and abrupt his retirement. In response to the complaint initiated by the Ninth Circuit, Chief Justice John Roberts referred the matter to the Second Circuit to handle to avoid the obvious impropriety of allowing the Ninth to handle the matter. Unfortunately for the public, which, as of recently, finally seems to be placing a high value on prosecuting sexual misconduct and gender discrimination claims, the news out of the Second Circuit isn't promising.