Thursday, August 28, 2008

Certified question. In an action brought under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a father brought an action seeking relief on behalf of him and his disabled son. Because he was the non-custodial parent, the distirict court held that he did not have standing to bring the action. The Second Circuit held that standing turned on an unsettled issue of New York state law and certified the question for decision by the New York State Court of Appeals. The certified question is:

Whether, under New York law, the biological and non-custodial parent of a child retains the right to participate in decision pertaining to the education of the child where (1) the custodial parent is granted exclusive custody of the child and (2) the divorce decree and custody order are silent as to the right to control such decisions?

The Second Circuit noted that two departments of the Appellate Division, New York's intermediate appellate court, have held that non-custodial parent does not retain such a right, but it "was reluctant to take that final step [considering the Appellate Division decisions as determinative] in the absence of a Court of Appeals pronouncement because the ruling has broad implications affecting the custodial relationships in New York -- a matter of paramount concern."

The decision in Fuentes v. New York City Department of Education can be found here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Absentee Ballot. The Second Circuit reversed the District Court's decision dismissing a complaint claiming that the New York State Board of Elections violated the plaintiffs' Fifth Amendment rights by failing to provide for absentee ballots in elections for polical party county committees, while providing them for all other kinds of elections. The Court remanded the case to the District Court with instructions to enter judment in favor of the plaintiffs.

The decision in Price v. New York State Board of Elections can be found here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Steinbeck. The Second Circuit has reversed a ruling that awarded John Steinbeck's son and granddaughter publishing rights to 10 of the author's early works, including 'The Grapes of Wrath.

The decision in Penguin Group (USA) Inc. v. Steinbeck can be found here.

DISCLOSURE: My firm represents Nancy Steinbeck in this action, although she was not a party to the appeal.
9/11. The Second Circuit has ruled that Saudi Arabia and four of its princes cannot be held liable in the Sept. 11 attacks. The Court held that the Saudi defendants are protected by sovereign immunity. It also agreed with a lower court that a Saudi banker and a charitable organization cannot be held liable.

The decision in In re Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 can be found here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Modest success. The Second Circuit has held that the district court was proper in reducing a request for attorneys' fees in a case brought under the Fair Labor Standanrds Act from $340,375 to $49,889 in light of the limited successs acheived by the attorney.

The decision in Barfield v. New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. can be found here.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Another certified question. The Second Circuit has asked the Court of Appeals for its view on another question. The certified question is:

Does New York General Obligations Law 15-301(1) abrogate, in the case of a contract where the second of two irreconcilable provisions requres that any modifications to the agreement be made in writing, the common law rule where two contractual provisions are irreconcilable, the one appearing first in the contract is to be given effect rather than the one appearing subsequent?

The decision in Israel v. Chabra can be found here.