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

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

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

In an opinion this morning, Judge Vyskocil denied an application for a TRO by a Queens Republican who sought to have her name on the ballot for the June 23 primary.  The plaintiff’s complaint was focused on the fact that, due to the spread of COVID-19, New York had reduced the number of days available to gather enough signatures to appear on the ballot.

Judge Vyskocil denied the application because (among other reasons) she found that the State’s interest in controlling COVID-19 met the standard of “reasonable and nondiscriminatory” necessary to justify the shorter time period, particularly given that the State also correspondingly reduced the number of signatures required:
Continue Reading Judge Vyskocil Denies Congressional Candidate TRO Arising from Reduction in Number of Days to Gather Signatures to Appear on Ballot

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

In the evolving coronavirus situation (see our prior posts here), SDNY has yet again tightened courthouse restrictions, with a new set of protocols effective tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.  In-person criminal matters are limited to new arrests, arraignments, bail appeals, and emergency matters, and spectators “will be required to sit in designated seats in order

In an Order yesterday, Chief Judge McMahon, going beyond last week’s order, limited courthouse access to, essentially, those that have a concrete reason to be there in person.  Specifically, the Order allows only for the following groups to enter the courthouse:

  • Persons who have been ordered to appear by any judge of the Southern