In an opinion yesterday, Judge Hellerstein emphatically rejected the arguments of a Spanish bank, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentina (S.A.) (“BBVA”), that, under the recent Supreme Court decision in Daimler v. Bauman and the Second Circuit’s recent ruling in Gucci v. Li, the Court lacked jurisdiction to enforce a subpoena seeking information that related to judgment collection and that was located outside the New York branch:
Continue Reading Judge Hellerstein Rules That Spanish Bank With New York Branch Must Gather Information Globally for Judgment Collection Subpoena

In an opinion last week, Judge Scheindlin denied the plaintiffs in a securities class action leave to amend their complaint to assert securities fraud claims against the company’s auditors, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young. The proposed amendment would have alleged that PwC and E&Y took at face value the erroneous opinion of a third party tax preparer (referred to as “Frankel”), which the plaintiffs argued is as reckless and fraudulent as simply taking management representations as true:
Continue Reading Judge Scheindlin: Auditors’ Failure to Investigate Tax Preparer’s Opinions is Not Fraud

In an opinion yesterday, Judge Scheindlin dismissed for lack of standing claims brought by a plaintiff (“FTE”) claiming that the defendants had misappropriated trademarks to the Stolichnaya vodka brand.  The Second Circuit held last year that FTE lacked standing, and the Russian Federation thereafter issued a degree apparently aimed at curing the issue.  Judge Scheindlin’s opinion yesterday concluded that, under Russian law, the decree nonetheless failed to cure the standing problem, but she expressed discomfort with having to resolve an important Russian law question of first impression:
Continue Reading Judge Scheindlin Urges Congress to Adopt Process to Certify Novel Questions of Foreign Law

In an opinion yesterday, Judge Scheindlin granted summary judgment to two plaintiffs who sought to confirm their rightful ownership of a 7.44 carat diamond.  The original owners (referred to as “WGDC”) had lent the diamond to a stylist named Derek Khan, who was in the business of arranging for celebrities to wear his clients’ jewelry, and who apparently stole the diamond at some point in the past. Under the UCC’s “merchant entrustment” rule, an owner who entrusts goods to a “merchant” — someone who (1) “deals in goods of the kind” or (2) “”holds himself out as having knowledge or skill peculiar to the practices or goods involved in the transaction” — bears the risk of an improper sale to innocent third parties. WGDC argued that Mr. Khan could not be a “merchant” because he was in the fashion business, not in the business of buying and selling diamonds, but Judge Scheindlin disagreed:
Continue Reading Judge Scheindlin Awards Stolen 7-Carat Diamond to Innocent Buyers Under UCC “Merchant Entrustment” Rule

In a brief order today, Judge Scheindlin denied a request by French conglomerate Vivendi to file, in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Halliburton II case, a new Rule 50(b) motion three years after its initial post-trial motion was denied. As Judge Scheindlin explained:

In the Supreme Court’s own words, it granted certiorari in Halliburton II to address two issues: (1) “to resolve a conflict among the Circuits over whether securities fraud defendants may attempt to rebut the Basic [Inc. v. Levinson] presumption at the class certification stage with evidence of a lack of price impact”; and (2) “to reconsider the presumption of reliance for securities fraud claims that [the Supreme Court] adopted in Basic. The Court said yes to the first question and no to the second.

Vivendi had argued that Halliburton II created new law under Rule 10b-5, requiring a plaintiff to prove that a misleading statement had an impact on the price of a security. But, Judge Scheindlin ruled, that has always been the rule, and was the rule when Vivendi’s prior Rule 50(b) motion had been denied. Halliburton II merely requires that “[d]efendants must be afforded an opportunity before class certification to defeat the [Basic]presumption through evidence that an alleged misrepresentation did no actually affect the market price of the stock.”
Continue Reading Judge Scheindlin: Supreme Court’s Halliburton Decision Did Not Change Plaintiff’s Burden of Proving “Price Impact” in Securities Fraud Case

In an opinion issued on Friday, Judge Scheindlin denied the summary judgment motion of MLB, the NHL, Comcast and DirectTV on antitrust claims rising out of the territorial distribution of television rights the sports leagues have arranged with regional sports networks.  Under the current system, fans are able only to watch a team’s games if it is available from their specific regional network, or if they are willing to pay for the right to watch every team’s games league-wide. Judge Scheindlin, after recounting the nearly century-long history of the “so-called ‘baseball exemption’” to the antitrust laws, formulated by the Supreme Court in Federal Baseball Club of Baltimore v. National League of Professional Baseball Clubs in 1922 and revisited several times by the Court and Congress, ruled that the exemption does not apply to territorial broadcasting restrictions.
Continue Reading Judge Scheindlin: MLB, NHL Television Deals Not Exempt from Antitrust Laws

In an opinion today, Judge Scheindlin granted the State of Israel’s motion to quash, on sovereign immunity grounds, a subpoena to a former Israeli national security official, Uzi Shaya.  The underlying case accuses the Bank of China of aiding and abetting a 2006 suicide bombing in Israel, and Mr. Shaya allegedly had knowledge of the Bank of China funding terrorism.  Judge Scheindlin ruled that Israel had standing to object, and that its objections were valid:
Continue Reading Judge Scheindlin Rules That Sovereign Immunity Protects Former Israeli Security Official From Deposition

In an opinion issued yesterday, Judge Scheindlin rejected a proposed settlement between the New Jersey Department of Enviornmental Protection and oil company Citgo over claims related to the potential contamination of water supplies with a kind of gasoline additive known as MTBE.  The non-settling defendants objected to the proposed $23 million settlement on the grounds that it did not fully account for Citgo’s proportionate share of liability. Judge Scheindlin sustained the objection:
Continue Reading Judge Scheindlin Rejects Proposed Settlement of Water Contamination Suit Against Citgo on Fairness Grounds

In a pair of consolidated cases alleging that it is anticompetitive for Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League to divide the market for games into various territories exclusive to the local teams, while allowing the broadcast of out-of-market games only as part of all-or-nothing packages like MLB Extra Innings or NHL Center Ice (see our prior posts here and here), the MLB and NHL moved (see here [MLB] and here [NHL]), in papers filed online last night, for summary judgment. MLB’s motion argues:
Continue Reading MLB and NHL Move for Summary Judgment in Antitrust Cases Over “Territorial” Broadcast Structure

In an opinion issued today, Judge Scheindlin dismissed fraud claims against Twitter brought by firms who claimed to have been misled into promoting private sales of Twitter stock that Twitter had no intention of ever selling.  The plaintiffs had not dealt directly with Twitter, but instead entered into agreements with a third party (a