Judge Marrero Rejects Trump’s “Sweeping” Claim to Immunity from DA Subpoena Over Tax Returns

In an opinion this morning, Judge Marrero dismissed President Trump’s lawsuit (see prior coverage here) seeking to block enforcement of a grand jury subpoena from the Manhattan District Attorney that seeks (among other things) Trump’s tax returns.

Judge Marrero concluded that, while presidents may enjoy some measure of immunity from criminal process in some circumstances, Trump’s “sweeping” claim of absolute immunity from any criminal process went too far: Continue Reading

Judge Oetken Dismisses Constitutional Challenge to Cap on State and Local Tax Deductions

In an opinion today, Judge Oetken rejected a lawsuit (covered here) by which four states, including New York, sought to invalidate the newly-enacted cap on the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) on a filer’s federal income tax returns.  The challengers argued the law “verg[es] into territory that is constitutionally reserved to the states.”  But Judge Oetken found that, while the law may alter what types of state tax laws are more or less attractive—for example, it creates disincentives for high state tax rates—the law nonetheless does not improperly infringe on states’ sovereign authority to exercise their taxing powers as they wish: Continue Reading

Second Circuit Revives Suit Against Fox News for “Campaign of Emotional Torture” Against Family of Murdered DNC Staffer

Last week, the Second Circuit vacated a decision by Judge Daniels that dismissed a suit against Fox News by the family of DNC staffer Seth Rich (see our coverage of that decision here).  The complaint alleged that Fox News and two contributors intentionally exploited the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich during the 2016 election season.  According to the complaint,  Rich was murdered in Washington in what authorities believed was a botched robbery; Fox News then allegedly reported a false story that Rich had been murdered after leaking thousands of DNC emails to Wikileaks.

According to the Second Circuit, the family members had plausibly plead their claims against the network for intentional infliction of emotional distress: Continue Reading

President Trump Sues to Halt Manhattan DA’s Grand Jury Subpoena for Tax Returns

In a complaint filed today (hat tip: Courthouse News), President Trump sued to enjoin the Manhattan District Attorney from enforcing a grand jury subpoena issued to his accountants seeking (among other things) various of President Trump’s tax returns.  President Trump also simultaneously sought a temporary restraining order, and the application will be heard by Judge Marrero next Wednesday.

The complaint alleges that President Trump is immune from all criminal process while in office, including a grand jury subpoena to a third party: Continue Reading

Second Circuit Revives Emoluments Case Against President Trump, Creating Circuit Split

Friday morning, the Second Circuit vacated the district court’s dismissal of a suit challenging President Trump’s business dealings under the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses of the U.S. Constitution.  (See our prior coverage here.)  In December 2017, Judge Daniels found that Plaintiffs had failed the causation and redressability prongs of the Article III standing inquiry, and lacked prudential standing because they fell outside the “zone of interests” that the Emoluments Clauses were intended to protect.

In a 2-1 decision, the Second Circuit held that Plaintiffs had satisfied the requirements for standing: Continue Reading

Group of States Challenge SEC Rule Setting Standard of Care Broker-Dealers Owe Customers

In a complaint filed this week, a group of seven states (plus the District of Columbia) sued the SEC for having adopted a rule that allegedly does not comply with the mandate in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law for broker-dealers to make recommendations “without regard to” the broker-dealers’ own interests, similar to the fiduciary obligation investment advisers owe their clients.

The standard the SEC adopted instead — that broker-dealers cannot put their interests “ahead of the interest of the retail customer” — is below the standard required by law, according to the complaint, for multiple reasons: Continue Reading

Audiobook Captions Are Unauthorized Reproductions, Argue Publishers

Last week, seven major publishers filed a lawsuit claiming that a new captioning service offered by audiobook company Audible, Inc. violates copyright law.  The “Audible Captions” feature transcribes the narration from the audiobook and displays the text on-screen, so that listeners-slash-readers can follow along in real time.  Although previous Audible offerings have allowed users to read and listen to a book simultaneously, those features required users to separately purchase both the audiobook and the e-book.  The publishers allege that the captions are unauthorized reproductions of the copyrighted text, and would require a separate license.  In a statement, Audible denied that the feature violated any rights, and said that it “is not and was never intended to be a book.”

The case is currently pending before Judge Caproni.  Audible has agreed to delay implementation of the captions feature until the court rules on the publishers’ motion for a preliminary injunction.

Judge Pitman: Passenger Booted Off Plane, Allegedly for Ignoring Exit Row Briefing, Can Proceed to Trial of Breach of Contract Case

In a decision yesterday, Magistrate Judge Pitman denied summary judgment to Spirit Airlines, which was sued by a pro se passenger who claims to have been improperly booted off a flight for having ignored the exit row briefing.

Judge Pitman noted that the “parties’ versions of the material events are substantially different.”  According to Spirit, the passenger refused to hang up his cell phone when the briefing started, and then became combative.  According to the passenger, he was texting, but stopped when asked.  It was the flight crew that became combative, he claims, and so he left the plane because he was “afraid.” Continue Reading

Champion Boxer Asks Judge Castel to Set Location for Title Bout Rematch

In a complaint filed this week, the promoter representing former heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua has sought a declaratory judgment allowing Joshua’s promoter to select the site of a rematch bout with reigning champion Andres Ruiz.  According to the complaint, Ruiz was asked to serve as a last-minute substitution for a June 1, 2019 fight against Joshua at Madison Square Garden when the original challenger dropped out.  According to the complaint, Ruiz and his promoter agreed that, if Ruiz prevailed, Joshua’s promoter could request a rematch within seven months at a time and place of Joshua’s promoter’s choosing.  Ruiz won a dramatic upset, and Joshua’s promoter asked for a rematch to be held in Saudi Arabia.  Based in part on alleged tweets by Ruiz saying that he would only participate in a rematch in the United States, Joshua’s promoter now seeks a declaratory judgment on the issue of where the rematch will occur.

The complaint contains causes of action for breach of contract and anticipatory breach of contract.

The case is currently pending before Judge Castel.

Judge Gardephe: “Degrading” For Counsel to Refer to Female Adversary By Her First Name Before Jury

In an opinion Monday denying a motion for a new trial in a car accident case, Judge Gardephe rejected the plaintiff’s argument (among others) that Judge Gardephe made unfairly biased comments during the trial.  While Judge Gardephe acknowledged there were times that counsel “strained the patience of the Court,” those did not take place before the jury.  Judge Gardephe then listed various ways in which plaintiff’s counsel was unprofessional, including: Continue Reading