Findlaw Case Summaries: New York State Court of Appeals. May 6, 2010.

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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.

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE People v. Zona, No. 73 The appellate division’s reversal of defendant’s conviction is affirmed where there was evidence in the record to support defendant’s good-faith claim of right defense concerning property he removed from a sheriff’s department warehouse, and the trial court failed to instruct the jury on that defense.

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, ETHICS & PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY Hurrell-Harring v. N.Y., No. 66 In an action by defendants in various criminal prosecutions ongoing at the time of the action’s commencement in various counties, contending that New York’s statutory arrangement of leaving the task of providing free counsel in criminal matters to local government deprived plaintiffs and other similarly situated indigent persons of constitutionally and statutorily guaranteed representational rights, the appellate division’s order dismissing the action is reversed where 1) the complaint contained allegations that in specific cases counsel simply was not provided at critical stages of the proceedings, thus stating a claim under Gideon; and 2) collateral preconviction claims seeking prospective relief for absolute, core denials of the right to the assistance of counsel could not be understood to be incompatible with Strickland. ..

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE People v. Rivera, No. 72 In a robbery prosecution, the appellate division’s order affirming defendant’s conviction is reversed where the trial court violated Criminal Procedure Law section 310.70 when it instructed the jury to render a partial verdict, in which the jury acquitted defendant of four counts and convicted him of one, refused to accept said verdict after it was announced in open court, and then ordered the jury to continue deliberations on all the counts submitted to it.

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