In an opinion yesterday, Judge Castel denied in part a motion to compel certain drafts of sales and marketing documents withheld as privileged in an antitrust case.  The plaintiff argued that the attorneys were not providing legal advice but, instead, “‘scrubbing’ or ‘vetting’ these documents ‘to avoid having a jury see the unvarnished truth.”  Judge Castel disagreed, and emphasized that it is perfectly appropriate for lawyers to review documents before any wider circulation:
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Last week, Jeffrey Atkins (better known as Ja Rule) asked Judge Castel to dismiss claims against him stemming from the “Fyre Festival,” a 2017 music festival in the Bahamas that descended into chaos after organizers were unable to deliver the luxury accommodations, celebrity chefs, and musical acts that attendees were expecting (see NYT coverage here).  Plaintiffs accused Atkins specifically of making two social media posts upon which the plaintiffs relied – promising that the festival would be “the biggest FOMO-inducing event of 2017” and promising attendees the day before the festival that “the stage is set” (see complaint here).

In his motion to dismiss, Atkins argued that these two posts were the only statements upon which plaintiffs could even have claimed to relied, as other statements by Atkins did not become publicly known until after the festival occurred:
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In an opinion this week by Judge Forrest (sitting by designation), the Second Circuit reversed in part Judge Castel’s dismissal (covered here) of claims brought by a University of Virginia fraternity against Rolling Stone magazine over a widely discredit article telling the story of a source named “Jackie” being gang raped at a fraternity party.

The Second Circuit found that the complaint made out a plausible claim of “small group defamation” :
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Today, Judge Castel denied an attempt to enjoin the enforcement of New York’s Election Law § 17-130, or the so-called “ballot selfie” ban.  Judge Castel found that the state’s interest in protecting against voter fraud and intimidation by preventing voters from revealing the content of their ballots (even if through Instagram) was a reasonable First Amendment restriction:
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Today, Judge Castel dismissed RICO claims brought against Alibaba Group Holding by a group of luxury goods makers including Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.  The complaint accused Alibaba of providing services and a market platform to merchants that Alibaba should have known were selling counterfeit goods.

Judge Castel specifically considered the plaintiffs’ claims that Alibaba’s online marketplace and the merchants that used it constituted a criminal enterprise under RICO.  Judge Castel rejected this argument, holding that lack the coordination necessary to create a RICO enterprise:
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