Articles Posted in New York State Court Of Appeals

In an earlier posting on this blog we reported that on February 23, 2010 a divided Panel of the Appellate Division, First Department, New York Supreme Court ruled in People v. Correa (2010 NY Slip Op. 01533) that the 2004 merger of the criminal courts in the Bronx into a single court with jurisdiction to handle both felonies and misdemeanors is unconstitutional. That Appellate Division ruling has now been overturned by the New York Court of Appeals in a single 6-0 opinion on June 3, 2010 that decided three cases–People v. Correa, People v. Fernandez, and People v. Mack, upholding administrative experiments that have New York State Supreme Court judges presiding over misdemeanor cases as well as felonies within a merged Bronx Supreme Court Criminal Division and an Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) Court in Brooklyn.

The high court’s ruling regarding IDV Courts also applies to 44 other IDV Courts throught the State of New York. that centralizes the handling of all aspects of domestic disputes, including criminal charges, in one court. The judges noted that neither the New York Constitution nor its statutes call into question the legality of either court addressed in this opinion.

See also the following articles which discuss this New York Court of Appeals opinion and its implications:

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May 6, 2010
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW, CIVIL PROCEDURE, CLASS ACTIONS, FAMILY LAW, GOVERNMENT LAW City of N.Y. v. Maul, No. 65 In an action concerning the alleged failures of the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD) to fulfill their statutory and regulatory duties with respect to certain children in ACS’s foster care system, the appellate division’s order affirming the trial court’s order certifying a class is affirmed where the appellate division identified four common allegations that transcended and predominated over any individual matters, which tended to establish a de facto policy followed by ACS of delaying the receipt of services as a result of its practices.

CIVIL RIGHTS, LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW Zakrzewska v. The New School, No. 62 In an action asserting claims for sexual harassment and retaliation under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), in which the Second Circuit certified to the Court of Appeals the question of whether the affirmative defense to employer liability articulated in Faragher v City of Boca Raton, 524 US 775 (1998) and Burlington Industries, Inc. v Ellerth, 524 US 742 (1998) applied to sexual harassment and retaliation claims under section 8-107 of the New York City Administrative Code, the court responded in the negative where subdivision 13 of section 8-107 of the NYCHRL created an interrelated set of provisions to govern an employer’s liability for an employee’s unlawful discriminatory conduct in the workplace, and this legislative scheme simply did not match up with the Faragher-Ellerth defense.
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June 11, 2009.

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? Read more…

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.

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.
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May 12, 2009

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CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, GOVERNMENT BENEFITS, HEALTH LAW Khrapunskiy v. Doar, No. 52 In an action by disabled legal resident aliens who were ineligible for SSI payments due to their non-citizenship, judgment for Plaintiffs is reversed, where Article XVII of the New York Constitution does not compel the state to assume the federal government’s obligation when a disabled person becomes ineligible for SSI benefits.

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ATTORNEY’S FEES, INSURANCE LAW LMK Psych. Servs., P.C. v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., No. 31 In an action for no-fault insurance proceeds, the attorneys’ fee award in favor of Plaintiffs is reversed, where: 1) attorneys’ fees in an insurance claim are to be calculated based on the aggregate of all bills for each insured; and 2) an insurer who issues a proper and timely denial is entitled to tolling with regard to interest on the claim.

CONSTRUCTION, INJURY AND TORT LAW, PROPERTY LAW & REAL ESTATE Kerusa Co. v. W10Z/515 Real Estate Ltd. Pshp., No. 36 In a fraud action stemming from construction defects, the dismissal of the complaint is affirmed where a purchaser of a condominium apartment may not bring a claim for common-law fraud against the building’s sponsor when the fraud is predicated solely on alleged material omissions from the statutorily mandated offering plan amendments

INJURY AND TORT LAW, LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW Ferluckaj v. Goldman, Sachs & Co., No. 45 In a tort action based on Plaintiff janitor’s accident while cleaning a building leased to Defendant, the denial of Defendant’s summary judgment motion is reversed, where Defendant did not hire Plaintiff’s employer and exercised no control over Plaintiff’s work. .

PROBATE, TRUSTS & ESTATES, SPORTS LAW Golden Gate Yacht Club v. Societe Nautique de Geneve, No. 25 In an action seeking to exclude a challenger from the America’s Cup yacht race, summary judgment for Plaintiff is affirmed where the phrase “having for its annual regatta” in the trust instrument required a yacht club to hold an annual regatta on the sea prior to issuing its challenge to participate in the race Continue reading

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February 11,17, 2009.

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, EVIDENCE People v. Williams, No. 22mem09 The order of the Appellate Division is affirmed where there is no legal reason to upset the court’s exercise of its discretion in allowing the prosecution to use prior convictions to impeach a defendant’s testimony.

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, INTERNATIONAL LAW People v. Romeo, No. 7opn09 Reversal of a conviction for manslaughter is affirmed where the People’s lengthy post-indictment delay occasioned by delaying their prosecution in favor of a Canadian prosecution violated defendant’s constitutional right to a speedy trial.

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, SENTENCING People v. Taveras, No. 2opn09 Sentence for a criminal sexual act in the third degree and falsifying business records in the first degree is affirmed where the actus reus underlying the crime of criminal sexual act in the third degree does not constitute a “material element” of falsifying business records in the first degree, thus the Appellate Division correctly held that the sentencing court’s imposition of consecutive sentences for these crimes was not in error.

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE People v. Rouse, No. 8mem09 Order of the Appellate Division is reversed and the indictment dismissed where the People did not satisfy their statutory readiness obligation. .

INSURANCE LAW In the Matter of the Ancillary Receivership of Reliance Ins. Co., No. ssm2ent09 In an insurance dispute, order of the Appellate Division is affirmed where the Appellate Division did not err in concluding that the insurance company could not rely on an August 1993 letter as the basis to avoid coverage under the claims-made policy.
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November 25 and December 2, 2008.

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CONTRACTS, ETHICS & PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, PROPERTY LAW & REAL ESTATE Moran v. Erk, No. 176 Where a real estate contract contains an attorney approval contingency providing that the contract is “subject to” or “contingent upon” attorney approval within a specified time period and no further limitations on approval appear in the contract’s language, an attorney for either party may timely disapprove the contract for any reason or for no stated reason. Judgment for plaintiffs is reversed.

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CIVIL PROCEDURE, CIVIL RIGHTS, LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW Crawford v. Liz Claiborne, Inc., No. 145 “In a suit under the Human Rights Law alleging that plaintiff’s employer discriminated against him based on sexual orientation, reversal of summary judgment for defendants is reversed and remanded where defendants’ summary judgment motion was timely under the then-applicable local rule.”

CIVIL PROCEDURE, FAMILY LAW, JUDGMENT ENFORCEMENT Farkas v. Farkas, No. 144 :In an action pursuant to a divorce, reversal of judgments in favor of wife regarding a debt secured by the couple’s shares in their co-op apartment, on the basis that wife’s submission of a proposed judgment was untimely, is reversed where the prior proposed judgments were not subject to a 60-day time limit on submission”