In an opinion yesterday, Judge Seibel largely rejected a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by University of Tampa students claiming that the University breached its obligations to them by failing to hold in-person classes.

A newly-enacted Florida statute provides educational institutions with immunity for these types of claims, but Judge Seibel found that applying the statute retroactively would violate due process:
Continue Reading Judge Seibel: Students Can Pursue Contract Claims for University’s Failure to Hold In-Person Classes During the Pandemic

In an opinion today, the Second Circuit affirmed Judge Oetken’s dismissal (covered here) of a lawsuit in which four states, including New York, sought to invalidate law passed in 2017 capping on the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) on a filer’s federal income tax returns. The Second Circuit agreed that whatever burden the cap imposed on states was no so severe to violate federalism principles:
Continue Reading Second Circuit Upholds Judge Oetken’s Rejection of Constitutional Challenge to 2017 “SALT” Deduction Cap

In a new complaint yesterday, plaintiffs that operate the food delivery platforms DoorDash, Caviar, Grubhub, Seamless, Postmates, and Uber Eats sued the City of New York to challenge caps on fees that these platforms can charge restaurants to use their services.  The caps – at 15% of an online order for delivery services, and 5% for all other services (such as marketing) – were originally enacted as a temporary measure at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when restaurants were forced to close for in-person dining.

The suit takes issue with the City’s decision to extend these caps indefinitely:
Continue Reading Food Delivery Platforms Challenge City-Imposed Caps on Fees

In an opinion Friday, Judge Caproni refused to enforce a disputed settlement of a trademark case that had been pending before her. The case was dismissed when the parties reported they had settled. The alleged settlement was not reflected in any court order.  And when apparent settlement fell apart, the plaintiff asked Judge Caproni to re-open the case so as to enforce the settlement. But Judge Caproni found that the request effectively asked her to assert supplemental jurisdiction over a breach of contract claim:
Continue Reading Judge Caproni: Jurisdiction Over Case Doesn’t Mean Jurisdiction to Enforce Disputed Settlement

In an opinion Monday, Judge Castel allowed (in part) defamation claims to proceed against the makers of the film, “When They See Us,” about the “Central Park Five.” The first sentences of the opinion summarize the context: “On the night of April 19, 1989, a young woman was viciously beaten and raped in Central Park. Five young men of color (the ‘Five’), ranging in age from 14 to 16, were arrested, tried and convicted for the attack. They were exonerated in 2002, after the confession of a man whose DNA matched a sample found near the victim.”

The case was brought by one of the prosecutors, Linda Fairstein, who is “portrayed as the central villain” in the film. Judge Castel explained that, while the film dramatized certain of the events, viewers would still understand it as conveying the “essence” of what really happened, and thereby capable of defaming someone if that portrayal were untrue:
Continue Reading Judge Castel: “Docudrama” Over Central Park Five Can Be The Subject of Defamation Claims

Last week, the Second Circuit affirmed Judge Schofield’s decision last year to to deny the motion by Donald Trump, the Trump Corporation, and other Trump family members to compel arbitration of claims related to the multi-level marketing scheme ACN (see our previous coverage here).  Defendants argued that, because the plaintiffs had agreed to arbitrate any claims they might have against ACN, the same arbitration clause should force arbitration of any claims against the Trump defendants related to their endorsement of ACN.

The Second Circuit agreed that equitable estoppel did not apply:
Continue Reading Second Circuit Affirms Judge Schofield’s Denial of Motion to Compel Arbitration for Trump-Related Multi-Level Marketing Scheme Claims

In an important copyright ruling today, Judge Rakoff ruled that “embedding” material online — in this case, a news organization embedding in an article a video of a polar bear that the plaintiff posted on Instagram — could violate the copyright laws. He rejected the “server rule” by which there could only be infringement in cases where the defendant makes a copy of the image or video to display from its own server.  Under the server rule, merely embedding the material (essentially, displaying the material via the original source) cannot be infringement.

Judge Rakoff found that the server rule was “contrary to the text and legislative history of the Copyright Act”:
Continue Reading Judge Rakoff Finds that “Embedding” Photos and Videos Online Can Infringe Copyrights, Rejecting “Server Rule”