FINDLAW: Daily Opinion Summaries for New York Court of Appeals – 06/09/09

COMMERCIAL LAW, CONSUMER PROTECTION LAW, GOVERNMENT LAW, HEALTH LAW

New York v. Smokes-Spirits.com, Inc., No. 92
The Court of Appeals answered the following certified questions from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in the negative: 1) Does New York City have standing to assert its claims under General Business Law section 349?; and 2) may the City assert a common law public nuisance claim that is predicated on N.Y. Public Health Law section 1399-ll?

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, FAMILY LAW, GOVERNMENT LAW, JUVENILE LAW

Anonymous v. Rochester, No. 81
In an action claiming that the juvenile nighttime curfew adopted by the City of Rochester is unconstitutional, the dismissal of the complaint is reversed, where the curfew violated the substantive due process rights of minors to enjoy freedom of movement and of parents to control the upbringing of their children.

CONSTRUCTION, INJURY AND TORT LAW

Cunha v. New York, No. 91
In a personal injury action based on injuries sustained by Plaintiff while working at a roadway excavation, judgment for Plaintiff is reversed where, because New York City was only vicariously liable for violating the provisions of the Labor Law at issue, it was entitled to full common-law indemnification from its codefendant, the party actually responsible for the incident.

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE

People v. Decker, No. 102
Defendant’s murder conviction is affirmed where: 1) although there had been a 15-year delay in re-indicting Defendant after the charges were initially dropped, the delay was justified by the witnesses’ fear of testifying against Defendant; and 2) Defendant was not prejudiced by the delay.

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CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, SENTENCING

People v. Mingo, No. 94
Defendant’s rape sentence is vacated where, with the proper foundation, internal documents generated by the District Attorney’s office may support a risk level adjudication, but the trial court failed to require such a foundation, and thus the sentencing enhancement applied by the trial court was in error.

INJURY AND TORT LAW, PROPERTY LAW & REAL ESTATE

Petrone v. Fernandez, No. 100
In an action claiming that a dog at Defendant apartment complex owner’s property injured Plaintiff, summary judgment for Defendant is affirmed, where Defendant did not own the dog and had no reason to know of the dog’s vicious propensities.

FINDLAW:Daily Opinion Summaries for U.S. Supreme Court -06/08/09

Criminal Law & Procedure, Military Law

US v. Denedo
08-267 – 06/08/09
In a petition for a writ of coram nobis seeking to void a fraud conviction in military court, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces’ order permitting Petitioner to seek the writ is affirmed, where the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals has jurisdiction to entertain Petitioner’s request under Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 66.

Civil Procedure, Government Law

Iraq v. Beatty
07-1090 – 06/08/09
In an action alleging mistreatment by Iraqi officials during the 1991 Gulf War, the Court of Appeals’ holding that the District Court had jurisdiction to hear the case is reversed where the District Court lost jurisdiction when the President exercised his Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act authority to make 28 U.S.C. section 1605(a)(7) inapplicable with respect to Iraq.

Criminal Law & Procedure

Boyle v. US
07-1309 – 06/08/09
Defendant’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act conviction is affirmed where the District Court did not err in declining to instruct the jury that an association-in-fact enterprise must have an ascertainable structure beyond that inherent in the pattern of racketeering activity in which it engages.

Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Ethics & Professional Responsibility, Government Law

Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co.
08-22 – 06/08/09
In an appeal from the denial of a motion to recuse a state supreme court justice, where the justice had received campaign contributions in an extraordinary amount from the board chairman and principal officer of the corporation found liable for the damages at issue, the denial of the motion is reversed, as the probability of actual bias on the part of the justice was too high to be constitutionally tolerable.

Civil Procedure, Government Law

US v. New York
08-660 – 06/08/09
In a False Claims Act action challenging a fee charged by Defendant-City to nonresident workers, the dismissal of Plaintiff’s appeal is affirmed where, when the U.S. has declined to intervene in a privately initiated False Claims Act action, it is not a “party” to the litigation for purposes of either 28 U.S.C. section 2107 or Fed. R. App. P. 4.