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Jason Meade focuses his practice on commercial litigation. He has represented public corporations and financial institutions in complex civil disputes in state and federal courts, and in government and internal investigations.

Earlier today, the Attorney General of the State of New York brought an action to “end the pervasive use of excessive force and false arrests” by the NYPD in “suppressing overwhelmingly peaceful protests” following the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. According to the complaint:

From May 28, 2020 to December 11, 2020, NYPD Officers of various ranks (“NYPD Officers”) repeatedly and without justification used batons, fist strikes, pepper spray, and other physical force against New York Residents at the Protests. Protesters—many of whom were never charged with any crime and were merely exercising their First Amendment rights—suffered concussions, broken bones, cuts, bruises, and other physical injuries.


Continue Reading New York State Sues New York City Over NYPD Response to Police Brutality Protests

In a decision last week, Judge Cote ruled that the COVID-19 pandemic qualified as a “natural disaster” that fell within the scope of a contractual force majeure clause. The defendant auction house had agreed to auction a painting owned by the plaintiff and pay it a guaranteed minimum price, but invoked its right to terminate the agreement after the auction was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic and related government restrictions.

The force majeure clause applied in the event of “circumstances beyond our or your reasonable control, including, without limitation, as a result of natural disaster, fire, flood, general strike, war, armed conflict, terrorist attack or nuclear or chemical contamination.” Judge Cote held that the pandemic was “a circumstance beyond the parties’ reasonable control” and a “natural disaster”:

Continue Reading Judge Cote: COVID-19 Pandemic is a “Natural Disaster” for Purposes of Contractual Force Majeure Clause

In an opinion Tuesday, Judge Kaplan denied the Justice Department’s motion to substitute the United States for Donald Trump as the defendant in a defamation suit against the president in his individual capacity. The plaintiff, E. Jean Carroll, published a book excerpt in 2019 alleging that Trump raped her in the mid-1990s. Trump told the press that Carroll made the story up, and Carroll sued him for defamation. The Justice Department intervened, arguing that the lawsuit was really one against the United States because Carroll had sued an “employee” of the United States for actions within the scope of his employment.

Judge Kaplan held that the president is a constitutional officer rather than a government “employee,” and that the allegedly defamatory statements were not made within the scope of his employment because, as the chief executive of the United States government, no one else has the power to control his conduct: “To hold that someone else exercises control over the president would turn the Constitution on its head.” On this point, Judge Kaplan continued:

Continue Reading Judge Kaplan Rejects Justice Department’s Attempt to Intervene on Trump’s Behalf in Defamation Suit

On Friday, Judge Rakoff denied cross-motions for summary judgment in Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit against the New York Times. (See our earlier coverage here.) Palin argued that the “actual malice” standard for defamatory statements against public figures was no longer good law or did not apply to this case, while the Times argued that no reasonable jury could find that the allegedly defamatory statements were published with actual malice. The case will proceed to trial next Februrary.

Continue Reading Judge Rakoff Clears Sarah Palin’s Defamation Lawsuit Against NY Times for February Trial

In a 103-page opinion, Judge Marrero rejected President Trump’s latest attempt to block a grand jury subpoena issued to Trump’s accounting firm by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. In July, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that Trump could not obtain injunctive relief based on an assertion of categorical immunity from criminal process while in office. (See our previous coverage here.) On remand, Trump argued that the subpoena was overbroad and issued in bad faith.

Dismissing the amended complaint, Judge Marrero found that “the filing of the [amended complaint] to assert claims and reargue issues substantially addressed in earlier proceedings would prolong the President’s noncompliance with the grand jury’s demand for the documents in dispute.”
Continue Reading Judge Marrero Upholds Manhattan District Attorney’s Subpoena for Trump Tax Records

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

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

Yesterday, Judge Torres issued a preliminary injunction ordering the New York State Board of Elections to reinstate the Democratic presidential primary that it had decided last week to cancel. Former candidate Andrew Yang and a number of his pledged delegates sued to halt the move.

As Judge Torres found, because a primary “actually results in the election of delegates to the Convention,” the cancellation would not only deprive the other presidential candidates of the opportunity to earn votes for the nomination, but would deprive their pledged delegates of the opportunity to influence the party platform and vote on issues of party governance.  Although Judge Torres agreed that “[p]rotecting the public from the spread of COVID-19 is an important state interest,” she was “not convinced that canceling the primary would meaningfully advance that interest,” particularly because there were less drastic alternatives:

Continue Reading Judge Torres Orders Reinstatement of New York Democratic Primary

On Monday, the New York State Board of Elections voted to cancel New York’s democratic presidential primary, which it had originally postponed from April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In a complaint filed Tuesday, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and a group of candidates running to become pledged delegates at the Democratic National Convention sued the Board of Elections to block the move.

Plaintiffs argue that the cancellation would disenfranchise millions of voters, suppress turnout in down-ballot races to the detriment of challengers, deny Yang the opportunity to accumulate delegates and influence at the convention, and establish a precedent that President Trump could use to cancel the November 2020 election.  Plaintiffs allege violations of the right to vote and of procedural due process and are seeking emergency relief.

Plaintiffs argue that the primary can safely proceed if voters are simply allowed to vote by mail, and that it is “cancelling democracy” to simply shut down the primary:
Continue Reading Andrew Yang Sues New York State Board of Elections for Canceling Democratic Primary

On Friday, Judge Rakoff dismissed a class action complaint in which a fantasy sports contestant alleged that Major League Baseball’s recent cheating scandals fatally compromised the fairness of fantasy contests promoted by the league. (Click here for previous coverage.) Although the conduct “broke the hearts of all true baseball fans,” Judge Rakoff held that the league did not owe fantasy baseball participants any duty of disclosure or care that could support claims for fraud or negligence, and that the plaintiff’s consumer protection and unjust enrichment claims were “too attenuated to support liability.”  The opinion begins:

Continue Reading Judge Rakoff: MLB Broke the Hearts of All True Baseball Fans, But Did Not Break the Law