Friday, May 12, 2017
A copy of the decision in this case can be found here.
Wednesday, April 05, 2017
On July 12, 2013, The plaintiff sent a letter to the defendant within the 30-day period disputing the validity of the debt and requesting a verification of the dollar amount of the the purported debt.
On August 9, 2013, the defendant complied, but stated that the amount provided included certain fees that were not yet due, and that if the amount was paid and any of those fees did not actually become due, such fees would be refunded.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires that within five days of an initial communication with a consumer, a debt collector has to provide a written notice containing, among other things, the amount of the debt.
The action was brought because plaintiff claimed that the defendant had not complied with that requirement. The defendant moved to dismiss.the action, which motion was denied, but on a motion for reconsideration, the court dismissed the action. The plaintiff appealed. The two questions at issue was which document was the initial communication, and whether the notice had been provided.
The Court first held that the complaint was not the initial communication. The Second Circuit had previously held that a complaint could be an initial communication, but the statute had been amended to eliminate a pleading as an initial communication.
The plaintiff's letter was not an initial communication because an initial communication under the statute was one sent by the debt collector to the consumer.
The Court held that the defendant's August 9, 2013 letter to the plaintiff was the initial communication.
The Court then held that the notice contained in the letter did not comply with the statute because because it "d[id] not specify what the 'estimated fees, costs, [and] additional payments' are." The Court stated that "[w]e do not hold that a debt collector may never satisfy its obligation under [the statute] by providing a payoff statement that provides an amount due, including expected fees and costs. But a statement is incomplete where, as here, it omits information allowing the least sophisticated consumer to determine the minimum amount she owes at the time of the notice, what she will need to pay to resolve the debt at any given moment in the future, and an explanation of any fees and interest that will cause the balance to increase."
The Court acknowledged that the defendant's notice may be common in the debt collection interest, but stated that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act "does not insulate a debt collector from liability merely because others in the industry engage in the same practice."
The Court vacated the order and judgment of the District Court and remanded the case for further proceedings.
The decision in this appeal can be found here.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
The plaintiff, which claim to own the rights to the recordings of "The Turtles," a well-known band with a string of hits in the 1960s, sued Sirius XM Radio, Inc., a radio and internet-radio broadcaster, claiming that Sirius infringed on the plaintiff's copyright in The Turtle's recordings. On a motion for summary judgment, Sirius claimed that there was no public performance rights in pre-1972 recordings under New York law and that if such a right existed, it violated the Dormant Commerce Clause.
The District Court held that there was such a right and that it did not violate the Dormant Commerce Clause. Sirius then moved for reconsideration or to certify its order for interlocutory appeal. The Court denied the motion for reconsideration, but certified both the summary judgment and reconsideration orders for immediate appeal.
On appeal, the Second Circuit decided that there was an unclear issue of state law that should be decided by the New York State Court of Appeals -- whether there is a right of public performance for creators of pre-1972 sound recordings.
On December 20, 2016, the Court of Appeals held that New York common law does not recognize such a right.
Based on this finding, the Second Circuit reversed the District Court's order denying summary judgment and remanded the case to the District Court with instruction to grant Sirius's motion for summary judgment and to dismiss the case with prejudice.
The New York State Court of Appeal's decision can be found here. The Second Circuit's decision can be found here.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
FMLA -- Obligation on Employer to Ask for Information to Determine whether Employee is Entitled to Relief
A copy of the decision can be found here.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
In A.M., the evidence before the CSE showed that A.M. needed intense applied behavior analysis therapy. The school district had declined to provide for such therapy in the IEP.
A copy of the Court's decision in this case can be found here.
Monday, October 31, 2016
What is the standard for finding a defendant liable for punitive damages under the New York City Human Rights Law, N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8‐502?
The decision in Chauca can be found here.
The decision in this case can be found here.
Friday, September 16, 2016
This policy was challenged in Earley v. Murray, in which the Second Circuit held that policy was unconstitutional and that the administratively added-on PRS terms were a nullity because that term had not be imposed by a judge. The Office of Court Administration of New York took the position that the Second Circuit's decision in Earley was not binding on state court and issued a memorandum to judges expressing this view, but urged courts to pronounce PRS terms going forward until the New York State Court of Appeals had the opportunity to rule on this issue.
The New York courts were inconsistent in adhering to to Earley. The New York State Court of Appeals ruled on the issue in People v. Sparber and Garner v. New York State Department of Correctional Services, holding that New York state law required teh judge to pronounce teh term of PRS orally at sentencing if it was to be included in an inmate's sentence, but did not address whether this rule was also required by the Constitution.
The plaintiffs in Betances v. Fischer were offenders who were subject to mandatory PRS terms and who alleged the DOCS,rather than the sentencing judges, had imposed the PRS terms. They sought compensatory damages for this violation of their constitutional rights. The defendants, state officials of DOCS and the Department of Parole, moved to dismiss, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The district court denied the motion, and the Second Circuit affirmed, remanding the case to the district court for further proceedings. In its remand, the Second Circuit directed the district court to develop the record as to objective reasonableness of defendants' efforts to relieve the plaintiffs of the burdens of those unlawfully imposed PRS terms after the defendants know it had been ruled that the imposition violated federal law.
On remand, the district court granted plaintiffs' motion to certify the case as a class action, and after the parties had cross-moved for summary judgment, denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity and granted plaintiffs' cross-motion for summary judgment holding the defendants' personally liable.
After the defendants had filed a notice of appeal, but before their brief was filed, the district court granted plaintiffs' motion to deem the appeal frivolous, which would have enabled the district court to retain jurisdiction and proceed with a trial on damages notwithstanding the trial. The defendants' moved for a stay, and the Second Circuit stayed the proceedings in the district court pending the appeal.
The Second Circuit held that the defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity because they were aware of the holding of Earley and had not taking objectively reasonable steps to comply with the case. Indeed, the Court was not sure that the defendants would ever have complied had it not been for the actions of the New York State Court of Appeals.
The decision of the Second Circuit in Betances v. Fischer can be found here.
The plaintiffs in B.C. v. Mount Vernon School Dist. are high school students with disabilities under IDEA (actually the plaintiffs were the students' parents, but it amounts to the same thing). Their schools had placed them in AIS remedial classes for which academic credit was not given. As a result at the end of the school year, they did not have enough credits to graduate to the next grade. Both students ultimately graduated from high school.
The plaintiffs brought suit in federal court under the ADA and Section 504, claiming that the Mount Vernon School District's policy of scheduling the AIS classes during school hours disparately impacted students with disabilities. The school district moved for summary judgment, asserting that the plaintiffs should have exhausted their claims through the administrative process under the IDEA before raising these claims in federal court. The plaintiffs claimed that they were excused from the exhaustion requirement of IDEA because their claims challenged a district-wide policy of discrimination and exhausting administrative remedies with respect to the district's framework and procedures would have been futile.
The District Court accepted the plaintiffs argument that they fall within the "futility" exception to the IDEA exhaustion requirement because they were challenging a district-wide policy.
The District Court granted the district's motion for summary judgment, stating that the plaintiffs' disparate impact evidence only showed the the district's policy only had a disparate impact on students with a disability under IDEA, not under ADA and Section 504, which defines "disability" differently.
The Second Circuit affirmed. The plaintiffs statistical evidence only showed that district's policy only had a disparate impact on individuals with a disability under IDEA. It is only if , as a matter of law, a child with a disability under the IDEA necessarily qualifies as an individual with a disability under ADA or Section 504.
ADA and Section 504 define "disability" as a "physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities." By contrast, under IDEA, a "child with a disability" has one or more of an enumerated list of impairments requiring "special education or related service." Hence, a student could have a disability that requires special education or related services without it substantially limiting one or more major life activities. The Court held that the plaintiffs' position, in effect, read the ADA's substantial limitation requirement out of the statute. The Court, while acknowledging that many students who qualify for special education or related services under IDEA might also qualify under ADA and Section 504, that is not always the case. Other circuits have similarly held.
The Second Circuit's decision can be found here.