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

Judge Gardephe last week ruled that the non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses found in the employment agreements for Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign were void and unenforceable.  The action originally arose when the Trump campaign commenced an arbitration proceeding against a former staffer, claiming that she had breached the non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses by filing a complaint alleging sex discrimination claims in New York state court.  The present complaint was brought as a putative class action by former employees of the campaign, who sought a declaration that these provisions of the employment agreement were unenforceable.

Judge Gardephe granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, and focused on the breadth of the non-disclosure provision as a basis for finding it unenforceable:
Continue Reading Judge Gardephe: Trump Campaign NDAs Are Unenforceable

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

In an opinion today, Judge Vyskocil granted Fox News’s motion to dismiss a defamation claim centered on an episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight. In the episode, Carlson was responding to President Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen having pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations for arranging to pay settlements to two women alleged to have had affairs with Trump. Carlson was critical of media suggestions that Trump should be impeached or held criminally responsible for the payments:

Two women approached Donald Trump and threatened to ruin his career and humiliate his family if he doesn’t give them money. Now, that sounds like a classic case of extortion. Yet, for whatever reason, Trump caves to it, and he directs Michael Cohen to pay the ransom. Now, more than two years later, Trump is a felon for doing this. It doesn’t seem to make any sense.

Judge Vyskocil ruled that, in context, this was not a literal accusation of extortion, but intended to frame the debate in the guest commentary segment that followed:
Continue Reading Judge Vyskocil: Tucker Carlson’s “Extortion” Jab Was Hyperbole, Not Defamation

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

The Supreme Court yesterday affirmed the conclusion of both Judge Marrero and the Second Circuit (see our coverage here) that President Trump was not immune from a grand jury subpoena issued by the Manhattan District Attorney. Writing for a 7-2 majority, Chief Justice Roberts concluded that the immunity sought ran “against 200 years of precedent”:
Continue Reading Case Over DA Subpoena to Trump Returns from Supreme Court to Judge Marrero

In an order this week, Judge Schofield denied 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.

Judge Schofield found that the defendants had failed to show the required relatedness from the plaintiffs’ perspective between ACN and the Trump defendants in order to apply equitable estoppel:
Continue Reading Judge Schofield Denies Trump Defendants’ Motion to Compel Arbitration of Multi-Level Marketing Scheme Claims

Yesterday, Judge Schofield ruled that a claim for declaratory relief to prevent the White House and President Donald Trump from revoking or threatening to revoke White House press credentials could proceed.  The case was brought by PEN America Center, a nonprofit of association of media professionals, claiming that these threats chilled First Amendment rights for journalists (specifically CNN’s Jim Acosta) and also prevented PEN and its members from receiving information that would have been provided to the organization by these journalists.

The order found that the “Press Corps” claim, seeking declaratory relief on First Amendment grounds to prevent the White House from arbitrarily revoking press credentials, was properly pled:
Continue Reading Judge Schofield: Claims Over White House Revocation of Press Credentials and Security Clearances May Proceed

In a opinion today, the Second Circuit held that two financial institutions must comply with recent subpoenas issued by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Financial Services Committee seeking information related to the Trump Organization and Trump family businesses.  President Trump and others had filed a suit to prevent the banks from complying with the subpoenas (see our previous coverage here).

The Second Circuit affirmed in part Judge Ramos’ earlier denial of President Trump’s request for an injunction.  In part, the Second Circuit found that the public interest outweighed individual privacy concerns because the lead plaintiff was the President of the United States:
Continue Reading Second Circuit: Banks Must Comply with House Subpoena for Trump Financial Records

In an opinion this morning, the Second Circuit largely affirmed the decision by Judge Marrero (covered here) to allow the Manhattan DA to enforce a grand jury subpoena to President Trump’s accountants seeking (among other things) President Trump’s tax returns.

The Second Circuit acknowledged that the President, occupying “a unique position in the constitutional scheme,” could be shielded from certain types of judicial process, but concluded that a subpoena to his accountants did not merit that protection:
Continue Reading Second Circuit Refuses to Block Manhattan DA Subpoena to Trump for Tax Returns