Justia Construction Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals
Steel Institute of New York v. City of New York
The Steel institute appealed the district court's grant of the City's motion for summary judgment and dismissal of its complaint, which alleged that the City's regulation of cranes and other hoisting equipment was preempted by federal law. The court granted some weight to OSHA's view in reaching its conclusion that local regulatory schemes such as the City's crane regulations have the aim and primary effect of regulating conduct to secure the safety of the general public, rather than the safety of workers in the workplace. Therefore, the City's crane regulations were saved from preemption as laws of general applicability and the court affirmed the judgment. View "Steel Institute of New York v. City of New York" on Justia Law
Scholz Design, Inc. v. Sard Custom Homes, LLC
Scholz Design created technical drawings for three homes and submitted them to the Copyright Office in 1988 and 1989 with front elevation drawings showing the front of the houses surrounded by lawn, bushes, and trees. Scholz obtained copyrights. In 1992 Scholz entered an agreement permitting Sart to build homes using the plans, for a fee of $1 per square foot of each house built. The agreement required that Sard not "copy or duplicate any of the [Scholz] materials nor . . . [use them] in any manner to advertise or build a [Scholz Design] or derivative except under the terms and conditions of the agreement." Scholz claimed that after termination of the agreement, Sard and real estate companies posted copies of the drawings on advertising websites and sued for violation of copyrights, 15 U.S.C. 1051, breach of contract, and violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 1201. The district court dismissed, finding that the copied images did not fulfill the intrinsic function of an architectural plan. The Second Circuit reversed. Architectural technical drawings might be subject to copyright protection even if they are not sufficiently detailed to allow for construction. View "Scholz Design, Inc. v. Sard Custom Homes, LLC" on Justia Law
United States v. Voustianiouk
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement obtained a report from German federal police indicating that the user of a particular IP address had child pornography on their computer. American officials traced the IP address, obtained the name and address of the customer whose account was associated with the address, verified the address (but not the apartment number) with post office and drivers’ records, and obtained a warrant. Neither the warrant nor any accompanying information mentioned Voustianiouk’s name. About a week later, agents arrived at the building and rang both buzzers because neither was marked. They saw a light from the second floor; a man came to the front door and confirmed that he was Voustianiouk. Officials did not explain that the warrant did not mention Voustianiouk’s name or that it clearly referred to the downstairs apartment, not the second floor. Officials discovered thousands of files containing child pornography on Voustianiouk’s computers. He admitted to viewing child pornography for more than one year. The district court imposed a five-year sentence. The Second Circuit vacated the conviction, holding that the search violated the Fourth Amendment and that the government should have been prohibited from introducing evidence seized as a result of that search. View "United States v. Voustianiouk" on Justia Law
The Building Industry Electric Contractors Assoc., et al. v. City of New York et al.
Plaintiffs appealed the dismissal of their complaint challenging a number of agreements entered into by the City of New York with respect to labor conditions on certain City construction projects. Plaintiffs argued that the agreements regulated the labor market and were therefore preempted by the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 151-169. The court found the project labor agreements in this case materially indistinguishable from agreements the Supreme Court found permissible under the market participation exception to preemption in Building and Construction Trades Council of Metropolitan District v. Associated Builders and Contractors of Massachusetts/Rhode Island Inc. Because the City acted as a market participant and not a regulator in entering the agreements, its actions fell outside the scope of NLRA preemption. Therefore, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "The Building Industry Electric Contractors Assoc., et al. v. City of New York et al." on Justia Law
Messa v. Goord, et al.
Plaintiff brought a pro se action under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against defendants, alleging excessive force and other Eighth Amendment and due process violations in connection with a prison yard altercation. At issue was whether a plaintiff in a lawsuit governed by the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA), 42 U.S.C. 1997e(a), was entitled to a jury trial on disputed factual issues relating to his exhaustion of administrative remedies. The court held that the Seventh Amendment did not guarantee a jury trial on factual disputes regarding administrative exhaustion under the PLRA. Accordingly, the judgment of the district court was affirmed. View "Messa v. Goord, et al." on Justia Law