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The Court of Appeals held that whether an absolute privilege applies to a communication made in the course of a quasi-judicial proceeding depends on the status of the subject of the communication. New York Downtown Hospital terminated the employment of Plaintiff, a medical scientist, and removed her as chairperson of the hospital’s Institutional Review Board. Dr. Steven Friedman’s statements to the FDA during an investigation of Downtown Hospital’s IRBs about Plaintiff, which discussed the reasons for the removal of Plaintiff from her positions, were published in an Establishment Inspection Report (EIR) released by the FDA. Plaintiff commenced this defamation action against Downtown Hospital, Friedman, and others, asserting that her professional reputation was damaged by the publication of defamatory statements about her made by Friedman to the FDA inspectors. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. Supreme Court allowed Plaintiff’s defamation claim against Downtown Hospital and Friedman to survive, concluding that the statements were not shielded by an absolute privilege because the FDA’s investigation had none of the indicia of a quasi-judicial proceeding. The Appellate Division reversed, concluding that the complained-of statements were made in a quasi-judicial context in which an absolute privilege protected them. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that Friedman’s statements, as published in the EIR, were not protected by absolute privilege. View "Stega v. New York Downtown Hospital" on Justia Law

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The Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) may withhold payments to recover from Petitioner, the operator of a methadone clinic and provider of Medicaid-covered services, the full $1,857,401 in overpayments assessed following an audit. OMIG notified Petitioner than it had been overpaid $1,857,401 in claims from 2003 through 2007. OMIG informed Petitioner that it had twenty days to agree to settle these claims for a lower amount or OMIG would begin to withhold a percentage of Petitioner’s payments. When Petitioner did not agree to settle after twenty days and failed timely to commence an administrative appeal to challenge the audit findings, OMIG commenced withholding. Petitioner commenced this article 78 proceeding seeking to prohibit OMIG from liquidating the full amount in overpayments and a declaration that OMIG can collect only $1,460,914, the amount for which Petitioner declined to settle. The Court of Appeals held that OMIG was not precluded from seeking to withhold the full $1,857,401 amount. View "West Midtown Management Group, Inc. v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Public Benefits

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The Court of Appeals affirmed Defendant’s conviction for assault in the second degree, holding that Defendant’s claim on appeal were either unpreserved or meritless. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court erred by failing to inquire as to a juror’s impartiality and fairness, as required by People v. Buford, 69 N.Y.2d 290 (1987), and erred by permitting prejudicial testimony about gang customs and practices. The Court of Appeals held (1) Defendant did not preserve for appellate review his claim that the trial court erred in failing to inquire about a juror’s impartiality and fairness; and (2) Defendant’s objection to the challenged testimony as wholly inadmissible was without merit. View "People v. Bailey" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the conclusion of the courts below that the finding of the Nassau County Police Officer Indemnification Board that Petitioner’s conduct was not “proper” within the meaning of N.Y. Gen. Mun. Law 50-1 was rational. Petitioner, a Nassau County police officer, commenced this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding seeking a judgment annulling the determination of the Nassau County Police Officer Indemnification Board revoking a prior defense and indemnification determination in favor of Petitioner. At issue was whether Petitioner’s conduct was “proper” under N.Y. Gen. Mun. Law 50-1, which provides for defense and indemnification of Nassau County police officers in civil actions arising out of “a negligent act or other tort of such police officer committed while in the proper discharge” of the officer’s duties and within the scope of the officer’s employment. Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s petition, concluding that the Board rationally concluded that Petitioner’s conduct was not proper. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the Board’s determination that Petitioner’s conduct was not in the “proper discharge of his duties” was not arbitrary and capricious. View "Lemma v. Nassau County Police Officer Indemnification Board" on Justia Law

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The determination of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) that income reported on a joint tax return filed on behalf of an occupant and non-occupant of a housing accommodation may not be apportioned to determine the occupant’s individual annual income for purposes of ascertaining if the deregulation income threshold has been met was rational and does not run counter to the language of the Rent Regulation Reform Act of 1993. Petitioner, the owner of the building where Respondent was a tenant of the subject rent-controlled apartment, served a tenant and her husband with an income certification form (ICF) pursuant to New York City Rent Control Law. When they did not respond, Petitioner filed a petition with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) to verify whether the total annual income of the occupants exceeded the deregulation income threshold for the two years preceding the filing of the ICF. DHCR denied Petitioner’s petition for deregulation. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the income of the tenant’s husband was properly excluded from the calculation of total annual income because he was not an occupant of the housing accommodation when the ICF was served. View "Matter of Brookford, LLC v. New York State Division of Housing & Community Renewal" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the order of the Appellate Division affirming the judgment of the trial court convincing defendant of first-degree depraved indifference assault and second-degree intentional assault, holding that there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant’s conviction for depraved indifference assault. On appeal, the Appellate Division held that the People adduced legally sufficient evidence to support Defendant’s conviction of assault in the first degree beyond a reasonable doubt, as the evidence of Defendant’s conduct supported a finding of depraved indifference. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the evidence presented the jury with a valid line of reasoning to find Defendant guilty of depraved indifference assault. View "People v. Wilson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Where a defendant has been convicted by guilty plea, there is no actual innocence claim cognizable under N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law 440.10(1)(h) to vacate the judgment of conviction. Defendant pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person in the first degree. Defendant moved pursuant to N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law 440.10(1)(h) to vacate the judgment, alleging that her guilty plea was constitutionally obtained due to the ineffective assistance of her counsel. County Court summarily denied the 440 motion, concluding that, even assuming a claim of actual innocence lies from a guilty plea, Defendant failed to provide clear and convincing evidence warranting such relief. The Appellate Division reversed and authorizing a hearing on Defendant’s actual innocence claim. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the branch of Defendant’s 440.10 motion that was based on an independent claim of actual innocence was foreclosed. View "People v. Tiger" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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A court must offset a retired New York City police officer’s projected accident disability retirement (ADR) benefits against the injured retiree’s jury award for both future lost earnings and pension. Plaintiff, a retired police officer who was injured on duty, filed a personal injury action against Defendants. The jury found Defendants responsible for the accident and awarded Plaintiff a set amount for past and future lost earnings and future loss of pension. Defendants moved to offset the jury award pursuant to N.Y. C.P.L.R. 4545, which permits a court to find that certain awarded damages will, with a reasonable certainty, be replaced or indemnified from a collateral source. Supreme Court denied the motion. The Appellate Division granted Defendants’ motion to offset the award for future pension benefits by the total amount of Plaintiff’s projected ADR benefits and otherwise affirmed Supreme Court’s denial of an offset for Plaintiff’s future lost earnings. The Court of Appeals affirmed as modified, holding (1) the Appellate Division erred in holding that ADR benefits could not be offset against lost earnings and incorrectly applied the entire amount of Plaintiff’s projected ADR benefits against the future lost pension; and (2) therefore, recalculation of the offset to future lost earnings and pension is warranted. View "Andino v. Mills" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the Appellate Division concluding that Defendant’s statements during an interrogation on a murder charge regarding the murder should have been suppressed because the murder charge was factually related to a robbery charge and Supreme Court had suppressed Defendant’s statements regarding the robbery. Defendant was charged with multiple counts of robbery in the first degree, murder in the second degree, and other charges. Defendant moved to suppress his statements regarding the robbery and murder as having been obtained in violation of his right to counsel, which attached as to the marijuana charge. Supreme Court suppressed Defendant’s statements regarding to the robbery, reasoning that the robbery and marijuana charges were related under People v. Cohen, 90 N.Y.2d 632 (N.Y. 1997), but refused to suppress Defendant’s statements regarding the murder because the murder and marijuana charges were unrelated. The Appellate Division ruled that Defendant’s statements to the police regarding the murder charge should have been suppressed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the Appellate Division misapplied N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law 470.15 and the standard established by this Court’s decision in Cohen. View "People v. Henry" on Justia Law

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New York’s borrowing statute, N.Y. C.P.L.R. 202, applies when contracting parties have agreed that their contract would be “enforced” according to New York law. Plaintiff brought this action for breach of contract and unjust enrichment in state court in New York. SkyPower Corp., an Ontario renewable energy developer, had assigned its claims against Defendants to Plaintiff, also an Ontario corporation. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the action was time-barred pursuant to Ontario’s two-year statute of limitations, which applied pursuant to section 202. Plaintiff contended that the choice-of-law provision in the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) entered into by SkyPower and Defendants required the conclusion that the parties intended to preclude application of section 202 and instead apply the six-year limitations period provided by N.Y. C.P.L.R. 213(2). Supreme Court dismissed Plaintiff’s claims asserted on SkyPower’s behalf as time-barred. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that because the contracting parties chose New York’s procedural law, and section 202 is part of that procedural law, the borrowing statute applied. View "2138747 Ontario, Inc. v. Samsung C&T Corp." on Justia Law