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

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This criminal appeal arose from a "finite reinsurance" transaction between American International Group, Inc. (AIG) and General Reinsurance Corporation (Gen Re). Defendants, four executives of Gen Re and one of AIG, appealed from judgments convicting them of conspiracy, mail fraud, securities fraud, and making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Defendants appealed on a variety of grounds, some in common and others specific to each defendant, ranging from evidentiary challenges to serious allegations of widespread prosecutorial misconduct. Most of the arguments were without merit, but defendants' convictions must be vacated because the district court abused its discretion by admitting the stock-price data and issued a jury instruction that directed the verdict on causation. View "United States v. Ferguson, et al." on Justia Law

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This case stemmed from a contractual arrangement known as a "cash-settled total return equity swap agreement" between the parties. The parties appealed the judgment of the district court finding defendants in violation of section 13(d) of the Williams Act, 15 U.S.C. 78m(d), and permanently enjoining them from future violations. The court considered only whether a section 13(d) violation occurred with respect to CSX shares owned outright by defendants acting as a group. Because the district court did not make findings sufficient to permit appellate review of a group violation of section 13(d) with respect to outright ownership of CSX shares, the court remanded for further consideration. An earlier order affirmed the denial of an injunction against the voting of shares acquired by defendants while they were not in compliance with section 13(d). The court explained that ruling on the ground that injunctive "sterilization" of shares was not available when shareholders had adequate time to consider the belated Williams Act disclosures before the relevant shareholder's vote. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded in part. View "CSX Corp. v. The Children's Inv. Fund Mgmt., et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs appealed from a judgment of the district court vacating summary judgment for defendants where plaintiffs alleged that defendants, operator of a calcium carbonate mineral processing facility, were liable for creating an "imminent and substantial endangerment" within the meaning of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA), 42 U.S.C. 6901-92. Liability was predicated upon a finding that aminoethylethanolamine (AEEA) was present in defendants' waste. The court held that plaintiffs' claim that AEEA presented an imminent and substantial endangerment in violation of the RCRA was properly dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)96) where plaintiffs' failure to specify arsenic in their notice of intent to sue (NOI) supported the district court's dismissal of the endangerment claim and the open dumping claim. The court held that the dismissal of the action would not prohibit plaintiffs from again giving notice to defendants and filing its suit in compliance with RCRA's notice and delay requirements upon future discovery of potential violations of the federal environmental laws. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed. View "Brod, et al. v. Omya, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed from a judgment granting defendant's motion to dismiss as untimely plaintiff's complaint, which alleged breach of fiduciary duty, intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, and conspiracy to commit those three offenses. At issue was whether the district court properly ruled that tolling of the untimely claims, on the basis of defendant's continuing concealment, was unwarranted. The court affirmed and held that the lawsuit, commenced on April 2004, arose from an injury suffered no later than June 2000 and therefore, was barred by the applicable statute of repose, Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-577. The court also held that plaintiff could not seek the safe harbor of equitable estoppel due to its failure to recognize that it was required to pursue its action. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district. View "International Strategies Group v. Ness" on Justia Law

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This insurance coverage dispute raised issues arising out of financial regulators' investigations in alleged accounting misstatements by MBIA, Inc. (MBIA) and related litigation. Based on these events, MBIA made claims under two $15 million director and officer (D&O) insurance policies it had purchased from Federal Insurance Co. (Federal) and ACE American Insurance Co. (ACE), seeking coverage for costs associated with these claims as losses under the policies. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of MBIA on two of its three coverage claims but granted summary judgment in favor of Federal and ACE on one of MBIA's coverage claims. The parties subsequently appealed the district court's judgments. The court affirmed the district court with respect to coverage for all costs except those related to the independent consultant where the independent consultant's investigation was a covered cost under the policies. Therefore, the judgment of the district court was affirmed in part and reversed in part. The court remanded the case to the district court for entry of judgment in favor of MBIA on its claim for coverage of the independent consultant's costs. View "MBIA Inc. v. Federal Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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Enron Creditors Recovery Corp. (Enron) sought to avoid and recover payments it made to redeem its commercial paper prior to maturity from appellees, whose notes were redeemed by Enron. On appeal, Enron challenged the district court's conclusion that 11 U.S.C. 546(e)'s safe harbor, which shielded "settlement payments" from avoidance actions in bankruptcy, protected Enron's redemption payments whether or not they were made to retire debt or were unusual. The court affirmed the district court's decision and order, holding that Enron's proposed exclusions from the reach of section 546(e) have no basis in the Bankruptcy Code where the payments at issue were made to redeem commercial paper, which the Bankruptcy Code defined as security. Therefore, the payments at issue constituted the "transfer of cash ... made to complete [a] securities transaction" and were settlement payments within the meaning of 11 U.S.C. 741(8). The court declined to address Enron's arguments regarding legislative history because the court reached its conclusion based on the statute's plain language.

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Plaintiff sued defendants under RICO, 18 U.S.C. 1961-1968, principally alleging injury to plaintiff's business by reason of defendants' establishment of a competing commercial enterprise through the investment of income derived from a pattern of racketeering activity. At issue was whether the district court properly granted defendants' motions for summary judgment on the pleadings and, in the alternative, for summary judgment on the grounds that plaintiff's complaint and the record were insufficient to show that any injury to plaintiff's business was proximately caused by defendants' alleged violation of section 1962(a). The court held that to the extent that plaintiff claimed injury from defendants' continuation in its Bronx store of the cash-no-tax scheme conducted in the Queens store, that claim appeared to be conceptually indistinguishable from the section 1962(c) claim previously rejected by the Supreme Court. The court held that to the extent, however, that plaintiff claimed that it lost sales to defendants because defendants invested the proceeds of their pattern of racketeering activity to establish and operate defendants' new store in the Bronx, the court rejected defendants' contentions and concluded that the district court erred in granting summary judgment on the pleadings on the basis of Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly and erred in granting summary judgment.

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Plaintiffs appealed from judgments dismissing their class-action complaints seeking to hold defendants (collectively, "Rating Agencies") liable as underwriters or control persons for misstatements or omissions in securities offering documents in violation of sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 ("1933 Act"), 15 U.S.C. 77k(a)(5), 77o(a). At issue was whether the Rating Agencies were "underwriters" as defined by 15 U.S.C. 77b(a)(11) because they helped structure securities transactions to achieve desired ratings. Also at issue was whether the Rating Agencies were "control persons" because of their alleged provision of advice and direction to primary violators regarding transaction structures under section 77o(a) of the 1933 Act. The court held that plaintiffs' section 11 claims that the Rating Agencies were "underwriters" was properly dismissed because the Rating Agencies' alleged structuring or creation of securities was insufficient to demonstrate their involvement in the requisite distributional activities. The court also held that plaintiffs' "control person" claims under section 77o(a) were properly dismissed because the Rating Agencies' provision of advice and guidance regarding transaction structures was insufficient to permit an inference that they had the power to direct the management or policies of alleged primary violators of section 11. The court further held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying implicitly plaintiffs' cursory requests for leave to amend.

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Plaintiff appealed from a judgment dismissing a three-count complaint arising from the renegotiation of certain investment-advisory agreements. The court certified a question to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts as to the circumstances under which that state's business judgment rule could be asserted in response to a shareholder derivative suit under the Massachusetts Business Corporations Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 156D, 5.44. Upon the receipt of the answer, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of two of plaintiff's claims brought pursuant to various provisions of the Investment Company Act, 15, U.S.C. 80a-15(a), and Massachusetts state law. Regarding the third claim, a derivative state law claim for breach of fiduciary duty to which the certified question related and as to which the district court granted a motion to dismiss, the court vacated the judgement and remanded with instructions to convert the motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment, and to rule on that motion, after further discovery if further discovery was warranted.

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Plaintiff, on behalf of himself and other similarly situated current and former Black & Decker (U.S.) Inc. ("B&D") employees, sued B&D asserting three sets of claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq., and the New York Labor Law ("NYLL"), N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 12 section 142-2.2. At issue was whether B&D owed plaintiff compensation for all the time he spent commuting between home and the job site ("commute time claims") and overtime hours that plaintiff allegedly worked but did not record ("off-the-clock claims"). The court held that the district court properly granted B&D summary judgment on the commute time claims where, even if plaintiff's activities were integral and indispensable to his principal activities, they did not render the entirety of his commute time compensable under the FLSA. The court also held that plaintiff raised genuine issues of material fact on his off-the-clock claims where plaintiff presented sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that he had shown the amount of his uncompensated work as a matter of just and reasonable inference.