Today, Judge Engelmayer dismissed with prejudice a putative securities class action filed against DraftKings, Inc., and denied Plaintiffs’ leave to replead. Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint alleged that a company that DraftKings had acquired in the course of going public, SBTech (Global) Limited (“SBTech”), had secretly operated in “black-market” jurisdictions, thereby exposing DraftKings to regulatory and criminal risks. It further alleged that DraftKings made materially false and misleading statements about, and failed to disclose, SBTech’s violations of foreign law and their potential consequences.

Plaintiffs argued that DraftKings’s shares traded at artificially inflated prices until June 15, 2021, when a short seller, Hindenburg Research published a report that revealed SBTech’s ostensible operations in black market jurisdictions and the risks to which the merger with SBTech allegedly exposed DraftKings. That day, DraftKings’s shares fell 4.17%.

In dismissing the Second Amended Complaint, the Court focused on Plaintiffs’ reliance on the Hindenburg report without having verified the information contained in the report:

Continue Reading Judge Engelmayer Dismisses Putative Securities Class Action Because Allegations Were Based On Unconfirmed Allegations in Short Seller’s Report

Earlier this month, Judge Cote entered a default judgment against Dmitry Starovikov and Alexander Filippov in Google’s action seeking a permanent injunction against them as the operators of a blockchain enabled “botnet.” Judge Cote had entered a Temporary Restraining Order against the Defendants on December 7, 2021, covered here.

Google first sought entry of a default judgment in February after the named Defendants failed to respond to the Complaint, despite service by the methods authorized in the TRO. The default was entered by the Clerk of Court on February 8, but vacated by Judge Cote on Defendants’ motion, which argued “that they had not been served, that the Court lacked jurisdiction over them, and that they had meritorious defenses, including that Google had failed to state a claim against them.”

Continue Reading Judge Cote Grants Google Permanent Injunction Against “Botnet” Operators, Following Failure to Cooperate with Discovery

Judge Carter will hold a preliminary injunction hearing next week in a case challenging, on First Amendment grounds, a new New York law (N.Y. Gen. Bus. L. § 394-ccc) that requires social media platforms to develop policies for addressing, and for responding to user complaints about, “hateful conduct.”

The challengers are operators of online platforms who argue that they should not be forced to police what the state vaguely defines as “hateful” conduct. Merely having to separately define what is “hateful” conduct, and provide special treatment to users who complain about conduct meeting that definition, amounts to an endorsement of the State’s views, according to the challengers:

Continue Reading Judge Carter to Hold Hearing Next Week on Whether to Enjoin New York’s New Online Hate Speech Law

In an opinion yesterday, Judge Liman granted — albeit with clear reluctance — the government’s motion to dismiss a case brought by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen against various government offices who allegedly retaliated against him for planning to publish a book critical of former President Trump.

Cohen was placed on furlough during his prison sentence, but then suddenly, while negotiating the terms of a transition to home confinement with probation officials, was remanded to prison.

In July 2020, Judge Hellerstein granted Cohen release via an Order stating:

The Court finds that Respondents’ purpose in transferring Cohen from release on furlough and home confinement back to custody was retaliatory in response to Cohen desiring to exercise his First Amendment rights to publish a book critical of the President and to discuss the book on social media.

In the case before Judge Liman, Cohen was suing for damages, primarily by asserting so-called Bivens claims against the federal government. Judge Liman found that the Supreme Court’s more recent interpretations of Bivens — essentially that no Bivens claim can proceed if by statute there is any other remedy, no matter how small — barred Cohen’s lawsuit.

But Judge Liman noted that the result worked a form of “violence” to Cohen’s constitutional rights:

Continue Reading Judge Liman Laments Supreme Court Precedent Barring Damages Remedy For DOJ’s Retaliation Against Michael Cohen for Planned Book About Trump

In an opinion Friday, Judge Abrams approved an SEC settlement, but wrote that she would “not do so silently,” because she found highly “troubling” the SEC’s standard, non-negotiable provision requiring that the defendant not make “any public statement denying, directly or indirectly, any allegation in the complaint or creating the impression that the complaint is without factual basis”:
Continue Reading Judge Abrams Harshly Criticizes SEC’s “Lifetime Gag” Settlement Requirement

On Wednesday, Judge Carter granted Major League Baseball’s Motion to Dismiss the Complaint of four Minor League Baseball teams alleging that MLB violated the Sherman Act by orchestrating an agreement among its clubs to eliminate 40 minor league teams from affiliation with major league clubs. As discussed in a previous post, Plaintiffs argued the Supreme Court had signaled its willingness to reconsider MLB’s exemption from antitrust scrutiny in NCAA v. Alston, 141 S. Ct. 2141 (2021).
Continue Reading Judge Carter: MLB’s Antitrust Exemption “Shields” MLB from Minor League Baseball Teams’ Sherman Act Suit

In an Order Monday, Judge McMahon chided a group of defendants for “asking for permission to file almost everything in support of their motion for summary judgment and motions to exclude testimony of plaintiff’s various experts under seal.”

Referring to the required confidentiality stipulation “addendum” in her Individual Practices — which states “that confidentiality stipulations are abused by parties and that much material that is not truly confidential is designated as such” — Judge McMahon directed the defendants to instead evaluate confidentiality with a more careful, line-by-line approach:
Continue Reading Judge McMahon: “Most” Discovery Designated Confidential is Not; Oral Argument on Summary Judgment “Rarely” Necessary

In an endorsement today, Judge Schofield declined to postpose a major antitrust trial, despite lead counsel for a bank testing positive for COVID, given that counsel’s firm had several other lawyers available. The endorsement, in full, reads:

It is unfortunate that defense counsel has tested positive for COVID, but the circumstances warrant proceeding with the

In a decision issued last week, Judge Abrams granted investment fund Franklin Templeton’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it by Amy Cooper, a former employee. In May 2020, video of an altercation between Ms. Cooper and a black birdwatcher in Central Park went viral. Her employer terminated her the following day, and issued this statement: “Following our internal review of the incident in Central Park yesterday, we have made the decision to terminate the employee involved, effective immediately. We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton.”

Ms. Cooper sued, alleging race and gender discrimination and defamation. Judge Abrams held that Ms. Cooper’s complaint did not give rise to even a “minimal inference of discriminatory motivation.” As to the defamation claim, Judge Abrams held that Franklin Templeton’s statement was “a protected statement of opinion, rather than a defamatory statement of fact capable of being proven true or false.”

Continue Reading Judge Abrams: Viral “Central Park Karen” Failed to State a Claim Against Former Employer

In an opinion last week, the Second Circuit, reversing a decision by Judge Furman (covered here), held that Citibank could sue to recoup almost $500 million that it had sent, in error, to certain lenders of a struggling borrower, Revlon.

Citibank was the administrative agent for the loans, and, based on a technical error, wired the full principal balance (nearly $900 million) before the maturity date. Judge Furman applied the “discharge for value” defense to conclude that even a mistaken payment need not be returned where it pertains to a valid debt.

The Second Circuit concluded, however, that the defense is inapplicable so long as the recipient is on “inquiry notice” of the mistake. Inquiry notice was shown by the fact that there was no prior notice of any loan repayment, as the transaction documents required, and by the fact that Revlon was not expected to have the funds to repay:
Continue Reading Second Circuit: Citibank Can Recoup $500 Million Accidental Debt Repayment