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Civil Rights, Criminal, Employment and Immigration Rulings

By FindLaw Staff on February 17, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Today, the Second Circuit decided cases regarding qualified immunity in a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 matter, criminal sentencing issues, employment and immigration.

In V.S. v. Muhammad, No. 08-5157, plaintiff sued various New York City employees involved in the termination of her parental rights based on alleged child abuse in a family court proceeding.  The district court denied defendants summary judgment based on qualified immunity and defendants appealed.  The Second Circuit reversed, holding that: 1) even if defendants had been aware of a physician's alleged reputation for overdiagnosing child abuse, it still would not have been unreasonable for them to rely on his diagnosis of plaintiff's child in these circumstances; and 2) the city defendants were absolutely immune from a claim of abuse of process.

In US v. Green, No. 08-5426, defendant appealed from the district court's denial of defendant's motion to reduce his drug and firearm possession sentence under 18 U.S.C. section 3582(c)(2).  The Second Circuit affirmed on the ground that defendant was sentenced pursuant to a Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement, and was thus ineligible for a reduction of sentence under section 3582(c)(2).

In Ragone v. Atlantic Video, No. 08-4666, plaintiff appealed from the dismissal of her Title VII sexual harassment complaint and the grant of defendant's motion to compel arbitration.  The court of appeals affirmed on the grounds that: 1) the fact that plaintiff was offered the arbitration agreement on a "take it or leave it" basis did not render it unenforceable; and 2) defendant agreed to waive any potentially unconscionable terms of the agreement.

In DeRosa v. Nat'l. Envelope Corp., No. 08-2562, an action under the Americans with Disabilities Act claiming that defendant-employer terminated plaintiff based on a medical disability, the district court granted summary judgment to defendant on the ground that plaintiff's statements on his job application judicially estopped him from challenging his termination.  The court of appeals vacated the judgment because plaintiff's statements did not contradict his position on the critical issue of whether he was able to fulfill the essential functions of his employment with reasonable accommodation.

Ascencio-Rodriguez v. Holder, No. 08-3058, involved a petition for review of the BIA's order denying petitioner's application for cancellation of removal but granting his request for voluntary departure.  The court of appeals denied the petition because, for the purposes of cancellation of removal eligibility under 8 U.S.C. section 1229b(b)(1)(A), petitioner's arrest and conviction for illegal entry into the U.S. and his subsequent departure to Mexico interrupted his period of "continuous physical presence" in the U.S.

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