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

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This case stemmed from appellant's attempt to intervene in a wrongful death law suit. After an appeal from a judgment of the district court, this court affirmed the district court's judgment denying appellant's motion to intervene, and ordered appellant and her attorney to show cause why they should not be sanctioned for their conduct on appeal. The court concluded that appellant and her counsel's conduct in prosecuting the appeal was frivolous and offensive, warranting the imposition of sanctions. After review of their submissions and the totality of the circumstances, the court invoked the inherent power of the court and imposed sanctions in the form of double costs jointly and severally on appellant and her counsel. View "Ransmeier v. UAL Corporation, et al." on Justia Law

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JDJ Marine moved to reinstate an appeal dismissed after its failure to comply with the court's second scheduling order for filing a brief. The court concluded that JDJ Marine had demonstrated a persistent indifference to the court's scheduling orders and local rules. Accordingly, the court denied the motion to reinstate the appeal. View "RLI Ins. Co. v. JDJ Marine, Inc." on Justia Law

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Robert G. Smith, an Assistant Federal Defender for the Western District of New York, moved to withdraw from representing defendant in a criminal action pending in the district court. In this interlocutory appeal, Smith challenged the denial of his motion. The court did not reach the merits of Smith's argument based on his professional responsibility as an attorney because the court concluded on other grounds that the denial of the motion exceeded the limits of the district court's discretion. Defendant, having been informed of his right to counsel, stated that he did not wish to have appointed counsel, made no attempt to establish financial eligibility for appointed counsel under the Criminal Justice Act of 1964 (CJA), 18 U.S.C. 3006A, and refused to recognize Smith as his attorney. Under these circumstances, Smith's appointment was improper from the outset, and he could not be required to continue serving as defendant's attorney. View "United States v. Barton" on Justia Law

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Appellants appealed the denial of their motion for a writ of execution against Garrison Services. The motion was based on default judgments appellants had earlier obtained against Lyons. The court denied the motion as a sanction for appellants' counsel's repeated failures to comply with the court's orders. The court held that although the district court had an adequate basis to sanction counsel and accorded the required procedural safeguards, further findings were needed to support a sanction that fell entirely on the clients rather than principally on the lawyer. View "Mitchell v. Lyons Professional Servs., Inc." on Justia Law

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Langrock appealed, inter alia, from the district court's order requiring it to pay certain fees and costs incurred by Citigroup in connection with this action. Langrock was ordered to pay Citigroup as a sanction for filing opposition papers to Citigroup's motion to dismiss four days late, despite the fact that Langrock submitted a timely request for an extension of the filing deadline that the court later determined was supported by good cause. The court held that the district court abused its discretion by imposing a sanction of attorneys' fees without explicitly finding that Langrock acted in bad faith, and by sanctioning Langrock without affording the attorneys prior notice and an opportunity to be heard. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's orders. View "Langrock Sperry & Wool, LLP v. Citigroup" on Justia Law

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The City of White Plains and certain individually named law-enforcement officers appealed from an award of $290,997.94 in costs, of which some $286,065.00 represented attorneys' fees, awarded in connection with a $30,000 judgment for plaintiffs ordered pursuant to an offer judgment under Rule 68. Defendants contended that the district court abused its discretion in awarding attorneys' fees because (1) their Rule 68 offer of judgment to settle "all claims" should have been interpreted to encompass costs, including attorney's fees; and (2) the fee award bore no relationship to plaintiffs' degree of success in the litigation. The court held that the Supreme Court's ruling in Marek v. Chesny compelled rejection of the first argument. As to the second, the court's "highly deferential" review of attorney's fees awards coupled with defendants' failure to adequately advance the issue, compelled its rejection. Accordingly, the judgment of the district court was affirmed. View "Barbour v. City of White Plains" on Justia Law

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In this action under the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. 1651, and the Anti-Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. 2283, the court considered whether, following the approval of a federal class action settlement, the district court properly enjoined a state court action for legal malpractice directed at counsel for the plaintiff class. The court held that the "in aid of jurisdiction" exception to the Anti-Injunction Act could not form the basis for the district court's injunction of the state court action, as the limited circumstances in which the injunction of an in personam action could be appropriate "in aid of" the court's jurisdiction were not present in this case. The court also concluded that where, as here, the parties had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the reasonableness of counsel's representation, a subsequent malpractice action could be enjoined under the relitigation exception. View "Barroway v. Computer Assoc., et. al." on Justia Law

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In 1995, Sheikh Abdel Rahman was convicted of soliciting the murder of Egyptian President Mubarak while he was visiting New York; attacking American military installations; conspiring to murder President Mubarak; conspiring in the successful 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center; conspiring to bomb other New York structures; and conspiring to commit sedition. His conviction was affirmed in 1999. Stewart was a member of his legal team and agreed to "Special Administrative Measures." Despite those obligations, Stewart smuggled messages to and from the incarcerated Sheikh, mostly relating to continuance of a ceasefire that an Egyptian militant group had declared on violent efforts to overthrow the Egyptian government. Stewart was convicted of conspiring to defraud the U.S., 18 U.S.C. 371; providing and concealing material support to a conspiracy to kill and kidnap persons in a foreign country, 18 U.S.C. 2339A and 18 U.S.C. 2; conspiracy to provide and conceal such support, 18 U.S.C. 371; and making false statements, 18 U.S.C. 1001. The Second Circuit affirmed but remanded for resentencing. On remand, he court determined that the Guidelines sentence was 360 months, which was also the statutory maximum, and imposed a sentence of 120 months. The Second Circuit affirmed. View "United States v. Stewart" on Justia Law

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This case arose from a trademark infringement suit involving the sale of counterfeit versions of defendant's hoisin sauce. The district court subsequently imposed sanctions in fees and costs pursuant to FRCP 11 against plaintiffs and their attorneys in favor of defendant. The attorneys appealed, contending that the district court erred in its application of Rule 11. Defendant cross-appealed, contending that the district should have awarded substantially more in fees and costs and moved to sanction the attorneys for filing a purportedly frivolous appeal. The court held that the safe harbor requirement under Rule 11 was satisfied in these circumstances; the attorneys have failed to show that the district court abused its discretion in concluding that the action was frivolous; nor have the attorneys shown that the district court abused its discretion in deciding to impose monetary sanctions. The court rejected defendant's arguments on cross appeal and affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Star Mark Mgmt., Inc. v. Koon Chun Hing Kee Soy & Sauce Factory, Ltd." on Justia Law

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Petitioner appealed the denial of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The court granted a certificate of appealability as to whether petitioner's representation was per se ineffective under the Sixth Amendment when, although he had a licensed attorney of record, a disbarred attorney acted as his de facto counsel. The court concluded that if the performance of the licensed attorney passed muster under Strickland v. Washington, the defendant's decision to rely upon other sources did not violate the Sixth Amendment. If the licensed attorney's performance did not pass muster under Strickland, the defendant's rights were protected. Accordingly, the per se ineffectiveness rule did not apply in this case and the court affirmed the judgment. View "Elfgeeh v. United States" on Justia Law