In an opinion Monday, Judge Rakoff refused to vacate an antitrust arbitration ruling in Uber’s favor, even though the arbitrator joked at one point: “I must say I act out of fear. My fear is if I ruled Uber illegal, I would need security. I wouldn’t be able to walk the streets at night. People would be after me.”

Judge Rakoff found this was merely a poor attempt at humor by an arbitrator that had better jokes on other occasions in the case (e.g., “ARBITRATOR: I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but when surge prices go on, I check Lyft. [KALANICK]: That’s fair.”): Continue Reading Judge Rakoff: Arbitrator’s Joke About “Fearing” Uber Does Not Justify Vacating Award

Earlier today, Judge Oetken issued a decision invalidating several provisions of a Department of Labor rule implementing the paid sick leave and emergency family leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The Labor Department had excluded employees who were unable to work because their employers had no work available for them as a result of the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. It also adopted a broad definition of “health care provider,” which would have allowed “an English professor, librarian, or cafeteria manager at a university with a medical school” to be denied paid leave.

Continue Reading Judge Oetken Strikes Down Labor Department Restrictions on COVID-19 Paid Leave

Last week, Judge Cote ruled that a New York’s Penal Law Section 215.50 – a misdemeanor criminal contempt statute that prohibits shouting and display of signage within two hundred feet of a courthouse where that speech concerns a trial ongoing in that courthouse – violated the First Amendment.  The case arose when the defendant distributed pamphlets with information about jury nullification outside the Bronx County Hall of Justice and was arrested after refusing to move outside of the 200-foot perimeter.

Judge Cote found that the act was not sufficiently tailored to meet the state’s purported interest in protecting trial integrity: Continue Reading Judge Cote Strikes Down New York State Prohibition Against Trial Signage Outside Courthouses, Citing First Amendment

In litigation concerning certain promissory notes issued by the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, Judge Failla today issued an order granting a request by the trustee and collateral agent for the noteholders to keep under seal the identity of their expert on Venezuelan law.

Since last year, there has been dispute as to whether the rightful President of Venezuela is Nicolás Maduro or Juan Guaidó, and the noteholders argued that allies of Guaidó would retaliate against anyone supporting enforcement of the notes.

Judge Failla reviewed certain evidence ex parte and concluded that “that there is sufficient evidence of potential harm to [the] expert that protection of the expert’s identity is warranted.”

In an opinion Monday, Judge Vyskocil denied a motion to force a partnership dispute over a medical practice to be arbitrated in a Jewish court (referred to in the opinion as either a “beis din” or “beth din”).  The plaintiffs’ complaint alleged that the plaintiffs were “religiously bound to bring their dispute in the first instance to a Beis Din” but were only pursing their claims in the district court “until such time as Defendants comply with the hazmanah,” the equivalent of a summons.

The defendants agreed that the parties were bound to bring their case before a Jewish court, but what has kept the case in the Southern District was the parties’ inability to agree as to which Jewish court should hear the case.  Absent consensus on that point, Judge Vyskocil ruled, there was no binding arbitration agreement under New York law: Continue Reading Judge Vyskocil: New York Law, Not Jewish Law, Governs Whether Parties Agreed to Resolve Their Dispute Before Jewish Court

The Supreme Court yesterday affirmed the conclusion of both Judge Marrero and the Second Circuit (see our coverage here) that President Trump was not immune from a grand jury subpoena issued by the Manhattan District Attorney. Writing for a 7-2 majority, Chief Justice Roberts concluded that the immunity sought ran “against 200 years of precedent”: Continue Reading Case Over DA Subpoena to Trump Returns from Supreme Court to Judge Marrero

In an opinion today, Chief Judge McMahon upheld a New York executive order that allowed tenants to apply their security deposits towards rent and that temporarily suspended evictions.

She ruled that the executive order did not violate the U.S. Constitution’s Takings Clause because landlords necessarily have entered into a heavily regulated area of the economy, and because the executive order was consistent with the type of ordinary ebb and flow of that regulation — as opposed to an impermissible destruction of landlords’ property investment: Continue Reading Chief Judge McMahon Upholds New York’s COVID-19 Eviction Suspension

On Wednesday, Judge Rakoff granted summary judgment in favor of New York State and the Kings County District Attorney in their challenge to a decision by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (“ICE”) to greatly increase civil immigration arrests in and around courthouses. Plaintiffs had alleged that the directive exceeded ICE’s statutory authority and had been adopted in an arbitrary and capricious manner. See our previous coverage here.

Judge Rakoff agreed, finding that the Immigration and Nationality Act incorporated the “centuries-old common law privilege against courthouse civil arrest.”  He also found that ICE had “offered no rationale other than its misguided reliance” on an Executive Order, which had directed the Department of Homeland Security to prioritize immigration enforcement against broader categories of aliens but was not addressed to courthouse arrests. Judge Rakoff’s ruling also emphasized the that ICE’s policy was compounding the challenges already presented by COVID-19: Continue Reading Judge Rakoff: ICE Policy of Making Immigration Arrests at Courthouses is Illegal

Last week, Chief Judge McMahon scheduled what appears to be the first remote trial to be held in the Southern District during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The trial will commence on July 6, 2020 in Ferring Pharmaceuticals v. Serenity Pharmaceuticals, a patent dispute involving drugs used to treat the condition nocturia (a form of waking during the night).

Judge McMahon considered several issues that counseled in favor of a remote trial: Continue Reading Judge McMahon: Holding Bench Trial in July via Remote Platform is a “No-Brainer”

In an opinion yesterday, the Second Circuit affirmed Judge Torres’s decision (covered here), to reinstate the Democratic Primary on June 23.

The Board of Elections argued that the cancellation was necessary to limit the spread of COVID-19, but the Second Circuit concluded that this “justification is overstated for at least two reasons”: Continue Reading Second Circuit Upholds Reinstatement of Democratic Primary