Supreme Court Grants Cert in SDNY Case to Address Whether Sexual Orientation Discrimination Violates Title VII

Today, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in two consolidated cases raising the question of whether sexual orientation discrimination violates Title VII.

One of the cases is Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., in which Judge Failla applied, but heavily criticized, binding Second Circuit precedent disallowing such claims.  The Second Circuit, sitting en banc, ultimately reversed the precedent, finding that such claims could proceed.

Our coverage of the Zarda case is here.  Supreme Court filings are available at the SCOTUSblog page for the case, see here.

Magistrate Judge Parker Reminds Parties That Boilerplate Request for “All Documents” and Boilerplate Objections Are Not Allowed

In an opinion yesterday in a trademark case, Magistrate Judge Parker was critical of both sides to a discovery dispute for having issued boilerplate discovery requests and responses, in violation of the specificity contemplated by Rule 34: Continue Reading

Judge Cote: Software for “Dynamic” Tutorials Too Generic to Be Patented

In an opinion yesterday, Judge Cote concluded that a plaintiff’s software patent was not eligible for patent protection because it amounted to an abstract idea.  The patent covered a “method of creating a dynamically adaptable tutorial,” and, in essence, it described a method of linking website elements so as to facilitate, and easily update, online tutorials.  As Judge Cote explained: Continue Reading

Judge Woods: Belatedly Withdrawing A Baseless Claim Does Not Insulate a Litigant from Sanctions

In an opinion today, Judge Woods concluded that sanctions were appropriate as against a plaintiff, referred to as ITM, that brought a claim without evidentiary support, even though the claim was eventually dropped.  ITM alleged that it incurred $350,000 in expenses advising the defendant about a certain corporate acquisition, but dropped the claim after discovery.   That didn’t solve the problem, as Judge Woods explained: Continue Reading

Judge Ramos Refuses to Enjoin Initiative to Diversify NYC’s Elite “Specialized” Schools

In an opinion today, Judge Ramos denied a motion to preliminary enjoin recent changes to the admissions process for New York City’s eight elite, specialized schools, which generally admit students based solely on a highly competitive test.  Last summer, the City announced modified the criteria somewhat to set aside a larger proportion of each class for disadvantaged students, with the aim of creating greater diversity.

The challengers alleged that the changes discriminate against Asian-Americans, but Judge Ramos, in denying a preliminary injunction, found that they were unlikely to succeed on that claim: Continue Reading

Woody Allen Sues Amazon for Cancelling Multi-Film Contract

In a complaint filed today, Woody Allen’s company sued Amazon for cancelling a multi-film distribution contract.  Amazon appears to have relied on the contract law doctrine of “frustration of purpose,” telling Allen’s lawyers in an email:

Amazon’s performance of the Agreement became impracticable as a result of supervening events, including renewed allegations against Mr. Allen, his own controversial comments, and the increasing refusal of top talent to work with or be associated with him in any way, all of which have frustrated the purpose of the Agreement and support Amazon’s decision to terminate it.

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Judge Furman Strikes Citizenship Question from Census, Finds The Government’s Stated Rationale to Have Been a Pretext

In a 277-page decision today, Judge Furman vacated the Commerce Department’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, finding that the decision was a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.  (Our prior posts on the case are here.)

Judge Furman found that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross justified the new question based on a rationale – that doing so would enhance enforcement of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) – that was clearly a pretext.  Judge Furman stated he was unable to determine “what Secretary Ross’s real reasons for adding the citizenship question were,” but found the evidence overwhelming that “the VRA was a post hoc rationale for a decision that Secretary had already made”: Continue Reading

Judge Engelmayer Enjoins on Fourth Amendment Grounds City Law Requiring Homesharing Platforms to Routinely Disclose Rental Data

In an opinion today, Judge Engelmayer prelminarily enjoined  New York City’s new ordinance requiring homesharing platforms to share data about hosts and guests to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement (OSE), adopted to help enforce a law prohibiting short term rentals in certain “multiple dwelling” buildings.  (See our prior coverage here.)

He concluded that the Fourth Amendment applied to the compelled production of the data, and that the ordinance was overly broad: Continue Reading

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