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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

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Claims brought under the Martin Act, N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law 23-A, 352 et seq., are governed by the three-year statute of limitations in N.Y. C.P.L.R. 214(2) rather than the six-year limitations period in either N.Y. C.P.L.R. 213(1) or 213(8). The Attorney General commenced this action asserting that the issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities by Defendants violated the Martin Act. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the action was time-barred because the operative statute of limitations was the three-year period found in N.Y. C.P.L.R. 214(2), which covers actions to recover upon a liability, penalty or forfeiture created or imposed by statute. Supreme Court denied the motion to dismiss, concluding that the six-year limitations period in N.Y. C.P.L.R. 213 applied because Plaintiff sought to impose liability on Defendants based on the common-law tort of investor fraud. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that because the Martin Act expands liability for fraudulent practices beyond that recognized under the common law, section 214(2) controls. View "People v. Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Securities Law

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Because N.Y. Tax Law 471, which imposes requirements on Indian retailers located on reservation land to pre-pay the tax on cigarette sales to individuals who are not members of the Seneca Nation of Indians, does not operate as a direct tax on the retailers or upon members of the Seneca Nation, it does not conflict with either the Buffalo Creek Treaty of 1842 or N.Y. Indian Law 6. Plaintiffs brought this action seeking a declaration that Tax Law 471 is unconstitutional and a permanent injunction enjoining Defendants from enforcing the law against them. Supreme Court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a cause of action. The Appellate Division reinstated the complaint to the extent it sought a declaration and then granted judgment in favor of Defendants. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) Tax Law 471 does not constitute a tax on an Indian retailer; and (2) therefore, Tax Law 471 does not violate the plain language of the Treaty or Indian Law 6. View "White v. Schneiderman" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the order of the Appellate Division affirming the final judgments awarding damages in favor of Plaintiff in this personal injury action filed against the State. Plaintiff was injured and her husband was killed when the couple’s motorcycle collided with a pickup truck in an intersection. Plaintiff sought damages, alleging that the accident was the result of the improper design of the intersection, an excessive speed limit, and inadequate signage. On remittal, the Court of Claims found that the lack of a four-way stop sign was a proximate cause of the accident. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) there was record support for the finding that the State’s breach was a proximate cause of the accident; and (2) the trial court did not err in declining to apportion some fault to the driver of the pickup truck. View "Brown v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Court of Appeals reversed the order of the Appellate Division affirming the trial court’s decision to admit a statement, heard in the background of a 911 call and spoken by an unidentified person, under the excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule, holding that the admission of the statement was error, and the error was not harmless. During Defendant’s retrial, the trial court allowed admission of the statement at issue as an excited utterance. Defendant was convicted of one count of assault in the first degree and other crimes. On appeal, Defendant argued (1) the law-of-the-case doctrine prevented the substitute Supreme Court Justice from revisiting the prior justice’s decision to exclude the statement; and (2) the admission of the statement was in error because there was no evidence to infer that the statement was based on the personal observation of the declarant. The Appellate Division rejected both arguments. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) the substitute justice was not bound by law of the case; but (2) it was not reasonably inferable from the circumstances that the unidentified speaker personally observed the shooting upon which Defendant’s convictions were based. View "People v. Cummings" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law