NYPD Resignation

The Second Circuit upheld the dismissal of a former NYPD officer’s due process claims alleging he was forced to resign without a meaningful hearing in the fallout of a corruption scandal in 2016, finding that the existence of a “post-deprivation Article 78 proceeding” satisfies the Due Process Clause. The plaintiff, James Grant, is a former commanding officer who was acquitted of charges of accepting bribes in exchange for providing access to police resources.

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Live Music

In light of changed circumstances, the Second Circuit ruled a federal court in New York should reconsider injunctive relief it granted to a musician against a Covid-19-related rule that allowed “incidental music” at dining establishments but did not allow advertised or ticketed live music. An attorney for the New York State Liquor Authority’s chairman told the court that its Covid-19 guidelines have been amended to permit bars and restaurants to host live, indoor, ticketed performances.

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Terrorism

The Second Circuit upheld a ruling in favor of National Westminster Bank in two actions seeking to hold it liable under the Antiterrorism Act of 1990 for providing banking services to a charitable organization with alleged ties to Hamas, finding that the plaintiffs could not show the bank was “knowingly providing substantial assistance to Hamas” or “generally aware that it was playing a role in Hamas’s acts of terrorism.”

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Occupy Wall Street

The Second Circuit ruled that a trial court improperly instructed a jury on assault claims against a police officer arising from the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. While New York law allows the use of reasonable force by police for crowd control, the justification charge given to the jury indicated the officer’s subjective intent could be considered, which is contrary to the objective standard of assessment in the law. Because that error was prejudicial, a new trial is warranted.

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DOJ Article

The Second Circuit upheld the dismissal of a defamation suit brought against the New York Times by a former Department of Justice attorney over an article about alleged gender bias, favoritism and groping in his unit. The court ruled an “ordinary reader” of the story would understand that an intern’s declaration in a civil case, which alleged the attorney’s conduct at a happy hour was “unwelcome,” was a report of an official proceeding.

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Manslaughter

First-degree manslaughter is a “categorical violent” crime, because a person can only be guilty of that crime if they cause death while “intending to cause at least serious bodily injury,” the Second Circuit ruled, finding that the lower court improperly ruled that the crime is not a categorical “violent felony” because it’s possible to commit such a homicide by “omission.”

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