Justia Communications Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals
Time Warner Cable Inc. v. FCC
Time Warner petitioned for review of the FCC's 2011 order promulgated under section 616(a)(3) and (5) of the Communications Act of 1934 (Communications Act), as amended by the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 (Cable Act), 47 U.S.C. 536(a)(3), (5). Section 616(a)(3) and (5) and that part of the 2011 Order establishing the standard for demonstrating a prima facie violation of these statutory provisions (the program carriage regime) were intended to curb anticompetitive behavior by limiting the circumstances under which a distributor of video programming could discriminate against unaffiliated networks that provided such programming. The court concluded that the program carriage regime did not violate the First Amendment where its case-specific standards for identifying affiliation-based discrimination served important government interests in promoting competition and diversity in an industry still posing serious competitive risks and were narrowly tailored not to burden substantially more speech than necessary to further those interests. The court concluded, however, that the 2011 Order was substantive and therefore subject to the notice-and-comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 500 et seq. Because the FCC failed to comply with such requirements, the court granted the petition for review insofar as it raised an APA challenge. View "Time Warner Cable Inc. v. FCC" on Justia Law
In Re: WorldCom, Inc.
The IRS challenged the district court's judgment upholding the bankruptcy court's decision to grant the objection of the reorganized Worldcom debtors to the IRS's proof of claim for taxes owed and the debtors' refund motion for the taxes WorldCom had already paid. At issue was whether WorldCom must pay federal excise taxes on the purchase of a telecommunications service that connected people using dial-up modems to the Internet. The court held that WorldCom purchased a "local telephone service" when it paid for the telecommunications service and that WorldCom must therefore pay federal communication excise taxes on those transactions. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "In Re: WorldCom, Inc." on Justia Law
ONY, Inc. v. Cornerstone Therapeutics, Inc.
Plaintiff filed a complaint seeking damages and injunctive relief, alleging that defendants violated, inter alia, the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a)(1), and New York General Business Law 349 when defendants published a scientific article reporting research results related to plaintiff's production of surfactants. The court concluded that, as a matter of law, statements of scientific conclusions about unsettled matters of scientific debate could not give rise to liability for damages sounding in defamation. The court also concluded that the secondary distribution of excerpts of such an article could not give rise to liability, so long as the excerpts did not mislead a reader about the conclusions of the article. Therefore, the district court correctly concluded that plaintiff failed to state a claim based on publication of the article itself because the challenged statements were protected scientific opinion and plaintiff failed to adequately allege that defendants Chiesi and Cornerstone distributed misleading excerpts of the article. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "ONY, Inc. v. Cornerstone Therapeutics, Inc." on Justia Law
Southern New England Telephone Co. v. Comcast
Appellants, an Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC), appealed the district court's judgment under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TCA), 47 U.S.C. 251-261. At issue was whether the TCA obligated ILECs to provide a connection service known as transit traffic service at negotiated rates or at lower regulated rates to new entrants seeking to exchange traffic with each other through the ILECs' facilities. The court affirmed the district court's determination that appellant was obligated to provide appellees with transit service under the TCA at regulated rates. Further, the court affirmed the district court's reversal of an order requiring appellant to apply regulated rates to all of its contracts for the provision of transit traffic service. View "Southern New England Telephone Co. v. Comcast" on Justia Law
In re: WorldCom, Inc. v. MCI Worldcom Communications
This case stemmed from bankruptcy court proceedings between MCI and CNI where MCI sought to recover from CNI allegedly unpaid telecommunications services. CNI counterclaimed. At issue on appeal was whether the district court properly granted relief under Rule 4(a)(6) to CNI when it claimed that it never received the Civil Rule 77(d) notice and therefore failed to file a timely notice of appeal. The court agreed with the district court that CNI met the express preconditions of Rule 4(a)(6). The court held that relief under the rule was discretionary and its grant in this case was inappropriate. The failure to receive Civil Rule 77(d) notice was entirely and indefensibly the fault of CNI's counsel. Granting such relief in these circumstances was at odds with the purposes and structure of the procedural scheme. Accordingly, the court reversed the order granting the motion to reopen and dismissed CNI's appeal as untimely. View "In re: WorldCom, Inc. v. MCI Worldcom Communications" on Justia Law
WPIX, Inc. v. IVI, Inc.
Plaintiffs, producers and owners of copyrighted television programming, sued defendants for streaming plaintiffs' copyrighted television programming over the Internet live and without their consent. The court, applying Chevron analysis, held that: (1) the statutory text was ambiguous as to whether defendant, a service that retransmitted television programming over the Internet, was entitled to a compulsory license under section 111 of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 111; (2) the statute's legislative history, development, and purpose indicated that Congress did not intend for section 111 licenses to extend to Internet retransmissions; (3) the Copyright Office's interpretation of section 111 - that Internet retransmissions services did not constitute cable systems under section 111 - aligned with Congress' intent and was reasonable; and (4) accordingly, the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of the case. The court also concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding irreparable harm; in balancing the hardships; and considering the public interest. View "WPIX, Inc. v. IVI, Inc." on Justia Law
Marcavage v. City of New York
Two protesters at the 2004 Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden were arrested after they failed to comply with police instructions to move from an area where demonstrating was prohibited to one designated for protesting. They sued under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the policy violated the First Amendment and that their arrest violated the Fourth Amendment. The district court entered summary judgment in favor of defendants. The Second Circuit affirmed. The restriction on speech was a reasonable time, place, and manner restriction, and plaintiffs’ arrest was supported by probable cause. View "Marcavage v. City of New York" on Justia Law
23-34 94th St. Grocery Corp. v. NY City Bd. of Health
In 2009, the Board of Health of the City of New York adopted a resolution requiring all tobacco retailers to display signs bearing graphic images showing certain adverse health effects of smoking. The district court held that the resolution is preempted by federal labeling laws. The Second Circuit affirmed, citing the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, 15 U.S.C. 1331-41, a comprehensive program to deal with cigarette labeling and advertising, which includes a preemption provision, limiting the extent to which states may regulate the labeling, advertising, and promotion of cigarettes. View "23-34 94th St. Grocery Corp. v. NY City Bd. of Health" on Justia Law
United States v. Twenty MilJam-350 IED Jammers
Claimant appealed from a judgment of the district court ordering the forfeiture to plaintiff United States, pursuant to 22 U.S.C. 401(a), of certain communication-jamming devices, to wit, the defendant-in-rem Jammers, owned by claimant and a company of which he was the majority shareholder and CEO. On appeal, claimant contended that the district court erred in dismissing his claim, arguing principally that the stipulation he signed was void on the grounds that it was signed under duress and without consideration. The court held that, as a matter of New York law, no consideration for claimant's agreement to the release was needed; and thus, if consideration was absent, its absence did not make the stipulation invalid. The court also held that claimant's assertions did not meet any part of the test of duress. The court further held that the district court correctly granted the government's motion to strike or for summary judgment on the ground of claimant's lack of Article III standing. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed. View "United States v. Twenty MilJam-350 IED Jammers" on Justia Law