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In this complaint alleging that Defendants were responsible for causing Mason South’s mesothelioma, from which he died, the Court of Appeals affirmed the Appellate Division's decision affirming Supreme Court’s denial of Chevron Corporation’s motion for summary judgment, holding that the record was insufficient to demonstrate the effectiveness of a release South signed when he settled a 1997 lawsuit he filed against Texaco Inc. and other defendants based on his exposure to asbestos. South worked shipboard as a merchant marine for almost forty years. In 1997, South and hundreds of other plaintiffs filed lawsuits against Texaco and other defendants. Texaco reached a settlement with South and other plaintiffs, and South executed a release. Two decades later, South and his wife filed this lawsuit seeking to recover for South’s asbestos-related disease resulting from his asbestos exposure shipboard. In denying Chevron’s motion for summary judgment, Supreme Court determined that the record did not meet Chevron’s heightened burden under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act and admiralty law to demonstrate that the release foreclosed the claims in the instant lawsuit. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) Chevron had the burden to prove the 1997 release’s viability; and (2) the record was insufficient to demonstrate the effectiveness of the release as a matter of law. View "In re New York City Asbestos Litigation" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Court of Appeals held that a correctional facility’s release to prosecutors or law enforcement agencies of recordings of nonprivileged telephone calls made by pretrial detainees, who are notified that their calls will be monitored and recorded, does not violate the Fourth Amendment. Defendant was charged with multiple offenses and committed the custody of the New York City Department of Correction. At trial, the prosecution sought to introduce excerpts of four phone calls Defendant made from prison recorded by DOC containing incriminating statements. Supreme Court admitted the recordings into evidence. The Appellate Division affirmed, concluding that the DOC’s failure to notify Defendant that the recordings of his calls may be turned over to prosecutors did not render the calls inadmissible. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) detainees, who are informed of the monitoring and recording of their calls, have no objectively reasonable constitutional expectation of privacy in the content of those calls; and (2) therefore, a correctional facility does not violate the Fourth Amendment when it records and monitors detainees’ calls and then shares the recordings with law enforcement officials and prosecutors. View "People v. Diaz" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the order of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of Supreme Court dismissing this action filed by the trustee (Trustee) of three residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) alleging violations of representations and warranties regarding the quality of loans contained in the respective securitization trust instruments, holding that the Trustee’s untimely-filed complaint cannot relate back under N.Y. C.P.L.R. 203(f) to a certificate holder’s previously filed action. Defendant served as seller and sponsor of three RMBS securitization trusts, each governed by a separate pooling and servicing agreement. A certificate holder later filed a notice claiming violations of the representations and warranties for each of the trusts. After the limitations period elapsed, the Trustee filed this complaint. Supreme Court dismissed the action with prejudice. The Appellate Division affirmed, concluding that the complaint was time-barred and that the Trustee could not rely on the prior action because the certificate holder lacked standing to sues. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the certificate holder’s action was subject to dismissal, and there was no valid pre-existing action to which a claim in a subsequent amended pleading may relate back. View "U.S. Bank National Ass’n v. DLJ Mortgage Capital, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the order of the Appellate Division affirming Supreme Court’s dismissal of the complaint filed by the trustee (Trustee) of the ABSHE 2006 residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) trust, without prejudice to refiling, holding that N.Y. C.P.L.R. 205(a) applies to an RMBS trustee’s second action when its timely first action is dismissed for failure to comply with a contractual condition precedent. The Trustee first filed an action against Defendant, the sponsor and seller of the trust securitization, and the action was dismissed for failure to comply with a contractual condition precedent, without prejudice to refiling. The Trustee then filed this action against Defendant claiming violations of representations and warranties regarding the quality of the loans contained in the trust. On appeal, Defendant argued that the first action should have been dismissed with prejudice. The Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that the Trustee’s failure to comply with a contractual condition precedent did not foreclose refiling of its action for alleged breach of RMBS representations and warranties pursuant to N.Y. C.P.L.R. 205(a). View "U.S. Bank National Ass’n v DLJ Mortgage Capital, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals held that N.Y. Mental Hyg. Law 33.13, which protects the confidentiality of the clinical records of patients and clients as maintained by facilities licensed or operated by the Office of Mental Health or the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, does not require automatic sealing of the entire court record of all proceedings involving insanity acquittees who have dangerous mental disorders within the meaning of N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law (CPL) 330.20. Defendant, an insanity acquittee, was found to have a dangerous mental disorder as defined by CPL 330.20(1)(c) and was committed to the custody of the Commissioner for the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. Supreme Court denied Defendant’s motion to seal the entire court record in his case, finding that the documents related to the legal proceedings rather than Defendant’s treatment. The Appellate Division modified. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the legislature provided no automatic sealing requirement of an entire court record in either CPL 330.20 or the Mental Hygiene Law for an insanity acquittee, and Defendant cited no authority for such an obligation. View "In re James Q." on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals held that a resentence on a prior conviction, imposed after the original sentence is vacated as illegal, does not reset the date of sentencing for purposes of determining a defendant’s predicate felony status. Defendant was convicted of attempted robbery in the second degree and was later convicted in another county of attempted robbery in the first degree. In both cases, Defendant was erroneously sentenced as a second felony offender. After he served his sentences, Defendant moved to set aside his sentences. The motions were granted and the courts resentenced Defendant accordingly. Defendant then moved to set aside the sentence on his 1993 conviction, arguing that his 1989 convictions were no longer predicate felonies under the statute governing second felony offender status because he was resentenced on both after the commission of the offense underlying the 1993 conviction. Supreme Court granted the motion, and the Appellate Division affirmed, concluding that Defendant must be resentenced as a first-time offender. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the date on which sentence was first imposed upon a prior conviction is the relevant date for purposes of determining when the the sentence upon the prior conviction was imposed for purposes of N.Y. Penal Law 70.06(1)(b)(ii). View "People v. Thomas" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Court of Appeals reversed the order of the Appellate Division and dismissed this petition and proceeding, holding that Mental Hygiene Legal Service (MHLS) did not have standing to bring this proceeding in its own name to vindicate its clients’ rights under N.Y. Mental Hyg. Law 9.31(b). MHLS, a government entity charged with providing legal services to patients of mental health facilities and hospitals, brought this proceeding in its own name seeking a writ of mandamus to compel a hospital to comply with section 9.31(b), which sets forth the procedure to be followed after a patient requests an admission or retention hearing. The hospital moved to dismiss the petition on the ground the MHLS lacked standing to bring the claim in its own name. Supreme Court denied the hospital’s motion to dismiss and granted the petition, concluding that MHLS had demonstrated a right to mandamus relief. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed and dismissing both the petition and the proceeding, holding that MHLS did not have standing to bring this petition. View "Mental Hygiene Legal Service v. Daniels" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the Appellate Division affirming Supreme Court’s dismissal of the claims in this case, holding that failure by a nonresident attorney admitted in New York to comply with the requirement to maintain a physical office in the state in order to practice law in New York at the time a complaint is filed does not render that filing a nullity. In dismissing the remaining claims against Defendants without prejudice, Supreme Court found that Plaintiff’s counsel resided in Pennsylvania and there was no evidence that counsel maintained an office of phone in New York when the action was filed. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) a violation of N.Y. Jud. Law 470 does not render the actions taken by the attorney involved a nullity; and (2) instead, the party may cure the section 470 violation with the appearance of a compliant counsel or an application for admission pro hac vice by appropriate counsel. View "Arrowhead Capital Finance, Ltd. v Cheyne Specialty Fin. Fund L.P." on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals held that assigned Mental Hygiene Legal Services (MHLS) counsel is not entitled to be given an interview and an opportunity to participate in treatment planning meetings for article 10 respondents placed in a sex offender treatment program at a secure treatment facility simply by virtue of an attorney-client relationship with the article 10 respondent. Petitioners - an article 10 respondent called D.J. and his assigned MHLS counsel - requested that counsel be permitted to attend D.J.’s treatment planning meetings either as an “authorized representative” or a “significant individual” under N.Y. Mental Hyg. Law 29.13(b). The requests were denied, after which Petitioners commenced this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding. Supreme Court dismissed the petition, and the Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that MHLS counsel was not intended to be included, as a matter of law, within the terms “authorized representative” or “significant individual.” View "Mental Hygiene Legal Service v. Sullivan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law

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The Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the Appellate Division reversing Defendant’s conviction of manslaughter and granting Defendant a new trial, holding that the People’s failure to obtain court permission to resubmit a murder count to a new grand jury after the first grand jury deadlocked on that charge violated N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law 190.75(3), and Supreme Court erred in denying Defendant’s motion to dismiss the murder count in the second indictment on that ground, but the error did not require reversal of Defendant’s conviction. Defendant was charged with manslaughter and two counts of attempted murder. The first grand jury deadlocked on a charge of murder in the second degree. The People subsequently filed a second indictment charging Defendant with murder in the second degree. Defendant proceeded to trial on both indictments and was tried jointly with two codefendants. The jury acquitted Defendant of the murder count contained in the second indictment and convicted Defendant of the manslaughter count contained in the first indictment. The Appellate Division reversed and granted Defendant a new trial on the manslaughter count. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that there was no reasonable possibility that the presence of the murder count during trial influenced the jury’s decision to convict Defendant on the manslaughter count in any meaningful way. View "People v. Allen" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law