Justia Corporate Compliance Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals
Bigio v. The Coca-Cola Co.
Plaintiffs appealed from a judgment of the district court granting defendants' motion to dismiss and denying as moot plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on liability. The District Court held that plaintiffs failed to state a claim, under a variety of theories, based on defendants' purchase and possession of an interest in the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Egypt. The court concluded that the facts alleged in plaintiffs' Amended Complaint, if true, told a tragic story of religious discrimination in Egypt in the 1960s and the court understood the desire for compensation. However, that wrong, if it did indeed occur, was inflicted by the Egyptian government, not by defendants. Because the district court correctly determined that the Amended Complaint failed to state a claim against defendants and also therefore correctly denied plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment as moot, the judgment of the district court was affirmed. View "Bigio v. The Coca-Cola Co." on Justia Law
TIFD III-E Inc. v. United States
The United States appealed from a judgment of the district court invalidating two notices of Final Partnership Administrative Adjustments issued by the IRS. The district court so ruled because it concluded that the taxpayer's characterization of two tax-exempt Dutch banks as its partners in Castle Harbour LLC was proper under Internal Revenue Code 704(e)(1). The district court also concluded that, even if the banks did not qualify as partners under section 704(e)(1), the government was not entitled to impose a penalty pursuant to Internal Revenue Code 6662. The court held that the evidence compelled the conclusion that the banks did not qualify as partners under section 704(e)(1), and that the government was entitled to impose a penalty on the taxpayer for substantial understatement of income. Accordingly, the judgment of the district court was reversed. View "TIFD III-E Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law
Huppe v. WPCS Int’l, Inc.
Defendants appealed from a judgment of the district court in favor of plaintiff on claims of Section 16(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. 78p(b). At issue was whether a beneficial owner's acquisition of securities directly from an issuer - at the issuer's request and with the board's approval - should be exempt from the definition of a "purchase" under Section 16(b), on the theory that such a transaction lacked the "potential for speculative abuse" that Section 16(b) was designed to curb. The court held that such transactions were covered by Section 16(b) and that defendants, who were limited partnerships, were beneficial owners for the purpose of Section 16(b) liability, notwithstanding their delegation of voting and investment control over their securities portfolios to their general partners' agents. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Huppe v. WPCS Int'l, Inc." on Justia Law
UBS Financial Servs, Inc. v. West Virginia University Hosp.
UBS appealed the denial of their motion for a preliminary injunction enjoining defendants from proceeding with an arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and alternatively requiring that the arbitration proceed in New York County. In the arbitration, defendants sought damages for UBS's alleged fraud in connection with defendants' issuances of auction rate securities. The court held that defendants were entitled to arbitration because they became UBS's "customer" under FINRA's rules when they undertook to purchase auction services from UBS. The court also held that the enforceability of the forum selection clause was a procedural issue for FINRA arbitrators to address and that the district court lacked jurisdiction to resolve it. View "UBS Financial Servs, Inc. v. West Virginia University Hosp." on Justia Law
Patsy’s Italian Restaurant, Inc., et al. v. Banas, et al.
This appeal stemmed from numerous trademark and unfair competition claims over the name "Patsy's." Patsy's Italian Restaurant appealed, and Patsy's Pizzeria cross-appealed, from a judgment of the district court after a jury trial on claims brought pursuant to trademark and unfair competition law. The court upheld the district court's jury instructions; affirmed the district court's refusal to grant a new trial on the issue of whether Patsy's Pizzeria made fraudulent statements to the Patent and Trademark Office, as well as its refusal to vacate the jury's verdict that Patsy's Italian Restaurant did not fraudulently obtain its trademark registrations; affirmed the district court's refusal to reinstate Patsy's Pizzeria's trademark registrations; and upheld the district court's denial of attorneys' fees and injunctive relief. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Patsy's Italian Restaurant, Inc., et al. v. Banas, et al." on Justia Law
Fait, et al. v. Regions Financial Corp., et al.
This case arose when plaintiff filed a putative class action complaint against defendant and others following the decline of defendant's stock price. At issue was whether certain statements concerning goodwill and loan loss reserves in a registration statement of defendant's gave rise to liability under sections 11 and 12 of the Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. 77a et seq. The court held that the statements in question were opinions, which were not alleged to have falsely represented the speakers' beliefs at the time they were made. Therefore, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Fait, et al. v. Regions Financial Corp., et al." on Justia Law
Federal Trade Commission v. Bronson Partners, LLC
This case arose when the FTC alleged deceptive advertising claims against defendants based on two purported weight loss products, a Chinese Diet Tea and a Bio-Slim Patch. On appeal, defendants challenged both the power of the district court to award monetary relief and the means by which the district court calculated the award. The court held that the district court had the power to award restitution pursuant to Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. 53(b). The court also held that the district court did not err in ordering defendants to disgorge the full proceeds from its sale of the products in question. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Federal Trade Commission v. Bronson Partners, LLC" on Justia Law
City of New York v. Group Health Inc., et al.
The City of New York sued defendants under federal and New York State antitrust laws, seeking to prevent the companies from merging. The city appealed from a judgment of the district court granting summary judgment to defendants and dismissing the city's complaint without leave to amend. The court agreed with the district court that the alleged relevant market definition, as the "low-cost municipal health benefits market[,]" was legally deficient and concluded that the district court's denial of leave to amend was not an abuse of discretion. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgement of the district court. View "City of New York v. Group Health Inc., et al." on Justia Law
Williams v. CitiGroup, Inc.
This case arose when plaintiff alleged that Citigroup, along with various rating agencies, airlines, and municipalities, conspired to block the use of her finance structure to issue Airline Special Facility bonds. Plaintiff subsequently appealed from a judgment of the district court dismissing her complaint and from the district court's order denying her postjudgment motion for reargument and reconsideration of the dismissal and for leave to replead. On appeal, plaintiff argued that the district court erred by, inter alia, dismissing the complaint without granting leave to replead, denying the postjudgment motion, and exercising supplemental jurisdiction to deny the remaining state law claims. The court held that the district court, in denying the postjudgment motions, applied a standard that overemphasized considerations of finality at the expense of the liberal amendment policy embodied in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Accordingly, the court vacated the order denying the postjudgment motion and so much of the judgment as retained supplemental jurisdiction and dismissed plaintiff's state law claims. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Williams v. CitiGroup, Inc." on Justia Law
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Gabelli, et al.
Plaintiff, the SEC, appealed from a judgment dismissing its complaint against Marc J. Gabelli, the portfolio manager of the mutual fund Gabelli Global Growth Fund (GGGF or the Fund), and Bruce Alpert, the chief operating officer for the Fund's adviser, Gabelli Funds, LLC (Adviser). The SEC's complaint charged defendants with failing to disclose favorable treatment accorded one GGGF investor in preference to other investors. As a preliminary matter, the court limited its jurisdiction to the SEC's appeal. The court held that the complaint adequately stated claims against Alpert for violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. 77q(a), and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. 78j(b). The court also held that the SEC's prayer for civil penalties survived defendants' motions to dismiss and must be reinstated where the court found that at this stage in the litigation, defendants have not met their burden of demonstrating that a reasonably diligent plaintiff would have discovered this fraud prior to September 2003. The court further held that the complaint sufficiently plead a reasonable likelihood of future violations and thus reversed the district court's dismissal of the SEC's prayer for injunctive relief. Accordingly, the court granted the SEC's appeal in all respects, dismissed the cross-appeals for want of appellate jurisdiction, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Securities and Exchange Commission v. Gabelli, et al." on Justia Law