Articles Posted in U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals

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Plaintiff filed suit against BGVAC and others under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that various disciplinary charges levied against her by BGVAC and her suspension as an officer of BGVAC without a hearing violated her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. BGVAC is a private, non-profit membership corporation that contracts with the Town to provide emergency medical services and general ambulance services to the members of that community. The district court granted summary judgment to defendants. The court concluded that plaintiff failed to demonstrate a sufficiently close nexus between the State or Town governmental entities and the disciplinary actions taken against her. Consequently, BGVAC's actions cannot be fairly attributed to the State or the Town and BGVAC could not be held liable under section 1983. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Grogan v. Blooming Grove Volunteer Ambulance Corps" on Justia Law

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Chabad and Rabbi Joseph Eisenbach filed suit against defendants, alleging that defendants violated their rights by denying an application to expand an existing property to accommodate Chabad's religious mission. Chabad filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, 1985, and 1986; the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq.; and Connecticut state law, seeking damages, injunctive and declaratory relief, attorneys' fees, and the appointment of a federal monitor. The court concluded that the district court erred in dismissing Rabbi Eisenbach's RLUIPA claims for lack of standing; vacated the district court's ruling insofar as it concerned the Rabbi and remanded for consideration, instead, whether the Rabbi failed to state a claim under RLUIPA; affirmed the remainder of the judgment due to the Rabbi's failure to brief his remaining claims; concluded that the HDC's review of the Chabad's application was an "individual assessment" subject to RLUIPA's substantial burden provision and that the Chabad need not cite an "identical" comparator to establish a claim under RLUIPA's nondiscrimination provision; vacated the district court's judgment insofar as it concerned these RLUIPA claims and remanded for consideration whether these claims survive summary judgment; and affirmed the remainder of the district court's February 2012 judgment largely due to the Chabad's failure to brief most of its remaining claims. View "Chabad Lubavitch of Litchfield v. Litchfield Historic District Commission" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of his former employers, BoA, on his claim of age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. 621 et seq., and breach of contract. Under the McDonald Douglas Corp v. Green framework, assuming arguendo that plaintiff met his burden of demonstrating a prima facie case of age discrimination, the court agreed with the district court that BoA has satisfied its burden to articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for plaintiff's termination. BoA has explained that plaintiff's employment was terminated as part of a company-wide reduction in force; two months prior to his termination, plaintiff received a negative mid-year performance review; and as of September 2010, plaintiff was ranked 136th across all BoA sales personnel for the year and his performance was the worse of all employees in his group. In regards to the breach of contract claim, the district court correctly determined that plaintiff was an at-will employee and that although annual bonuses were discretionary, there is no record evidence, or even an allegation, indicating that plaintiff was promised a mid-year bonus. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Delaney v. Bank of America Corp." on Justia Law

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Safelite appealed from the denial of a preliminary injunction against enforcement of Connecticut's Public Act 13-67, "An Act Concerning Automotive Glass Work." The court held that the district court erred in applying rational basis review under Zauderer v. Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court of Ohio, but rather should have applied intermediate scrutiny under Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. v. Public Service Commission of New York. Under Central Hudson, the court concluded that there is no claim, much less evidence, that Safelite's communications to its customers were false, misleading, or illegal; the court was skeptical that the government's asserted consumer protection interests are genuine and not merely post-hoc rationalizations; even if the government had a substantial interest in consumer choice, PA 13-67 advances that interest, if at all, in an indiscernible or de minimus fashion; PA 13-67 is more restrictive than necessary to effectuate the government's legitimate interests; and PA 13-67 is underinclusive because it only applies to third-party insurance claims administrators who also own an affiliated glass shop. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's judgment and remanded with instructions to enter a preliminary injunction and for further proceedings. View "Safelite Group, Inc. v. Jepsen" on Justia Law

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This case arose out of a botched SWAT-style raid that resulted in the fatal shooting of plaintiff's houseguest (Gonzalo Guizan) and injury to plaintiff. Plaintiff and Guizan's estate filed suit against law enforcement officers, alleging, inter alia, civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and state tort claims. On appeal, defendants challenged the district court's order granting in part and denying in part defendants' motions for summary judgment based on their assertions of qualified immunity. The court reversed the judgment of the district court insofar as it determined that Chief Solomon was not entitled to qualified immunity from liability for the decision - standing alone - to activate the SWERT tactical team; affirmed the judgment of the district court insofar as it held that plaintiff's claims implicated clearly established constitutional law with respect to the planning and approval of the raid, the use of stun grenades, the actions of Officers Sweeney and Weir, the alleged knock-and-announce violations, and the duty of police to intervene in constitutional violations by fellow officers; and dismissed defendants' arguments in other respects because the appeal relied on disputed facts. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Terebesi v. Torresso, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that they were falsely arrested for participating in a demonstration in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. On appeal, defendants challenged the district court's denial of their motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) based on qualified immunity. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court because the court could not resolve at this early stage the ultimately factual issue of whether certain defendants implicitly invited the demonstrators to walk onto the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge, which would otherwise have been prohibited by New York law. View "Garcia v. Does" on Justia Law

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This case concerns compliance reports regarding improving conditions in two correctional facilities under a settlement agreement between the United States and Erie County. The NYCLU sought to intervene in order to have the reports unsealed. The court held that the public's fundamental right of access to judicial documents, guaranteed by the First Amendment, was wrongly denied when the compliance reports in this case were sealed. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's decision and ordered that the judicial documents be unsealed. View "United States v. Erie County" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit challenging section 181.21 of the New York City Health Code, which regulates metzitzah b'peh, the direct oral suction of the circumcision wound of an infant as a part of a bris milah. Plaintiffs argued that the Regulation compelled speech and burdened their free exercise of religion in violation of the First Amendment. The court agreed with the district court that the Regulation does not compel speech. However, the court concluded that the Regulation is neither neutral nor generally applicable and therefore must satisfy strict scrutiny. The Regulation is not neutral because it purposefully and exclusively targets a religious practice for special burdens and the Regulation is not generally applicable because it is underinclusive in relation to its asserted secular goals. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's denial of plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction and remanded for the district court to consider whether plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits applying strict scrutiny under the Free Exercise Clause. View "Central Rabbinical Congress v. NYC Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene" on Justia Law

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The New York State Legislature amended N.Y. C.P.L.R. 5206 in 2005, increasing the state's homestead exemption from $10,000 to $50,000. At issue was whether the 2005 Amendment's increased homestead exemption applied to judgment liens perfected prior to the amendment's effective date and, if so, whether application of the law to pre-enactment judgment liens violates the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The court held that the 2005 Amendment applies to all creditors and all obligations, including pre-existing obligations, regardless of whether the debt was reduced to a judgment lien prior to the statute's enactment; and (2) that retroactive application of the exemption does not constitute an uncompensated taking of pre-enactment judgment liens in violation of the Takings Clause. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court affirming the bankruptcy court's conclusion that there was been no taking of claimant's property. View "1256 Hertel Avenue Associates v. Calloway" on Justia Law

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The County appealed the district court's order preliminarily enjoining it from foreclosing upon certain real property owned by the Cayuga Nation in order to recover uncollected ad valorem property taxes. The court affirmed the district court's injunction where the court declined, as has the Supreme Court, to read a "commercial activity" exception into the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity from suit. In the absence of a waiver of immunity by the tribe, unless Congress has authorized the suit, precedents demand that the court affirm the district court's injunction of the County's foreclosure proceedings against the Cayuga Nation's property. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Cayuga Indian Nation of New York v. Seneca County, New York" on Justia Law