by
Equitable apportionment ensuring that employers’ insurance carriers pay their equitable share of litigation expenses incurred by injured workers who obtain recoveries from a third-party tortfeasor should not turn solely on the label given to a claimant’s award but must take into account the certainty of the award at the time a third-party matter is resolved. In this case a third-party settlement was consummated before a workers’ compensation award was determined. The Workers’ Compensation Board misinterpreted the Court of Appeals’ precedents as requiring that litigation costs apportioned against all schedule loss of use awards be either assigned at the time of the third-party settlement or not at all. The Court of Appeals reversed the order of the Appellate Division concluding that the award of workers’ compensation benefits was of a type the Court of Appeals had indicated had an ascertainable present value, and therefore, the claimant was not entitled to a post-settlement apportionment of the litigation expenses contemplated for other types of awards. View "Terranova v. Lehr Construction Co." on Justia Law

by
The Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of Supreme Court granting Petitioners’ petition asserting that the decision of the New York City Water Board and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) adopting a resolution approving a rate increase and bill credit and publishing a rate schedule was arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion. Petitioners commenced this N.Y. C.P.L.R. article 78 proceeding against the Water Board and DEP challenging the resolution and rate schedule. Supreme Court granted the petition, ruling that the resolution and rate schedule were ultra vires, exceeded the Water Board’s statutory authority, and were unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that Respondents’ actions were not utterly arbitrary or unsupported by economic or public policy goals and that Respondents did not act ultra vires or levy a tax. View "Prometheus Realty Corp. v. New York City Water Board" on Justia Law

by
The Family Court properly found that Respondent willfully violated two temporary orders of protection issued during the pendency of a family offense proceeding and that the court acted within its jurisdiction to enter an order of protection upon those findings. Petitioner filed a family offense petition against Respondent, her husband and the father of her children. Petitioner requested and received a temporary order of protection at her first appearance in Family Court. While the family offense proceeding remained pending, Family Court determined that Respondent had committed two willful violations of two temporary orders. The Family Court thus dismissed the family offense petition but sustained Petitioner’s violation petition and issued a one-year final order or protection precluding Respondent from communicating with Petitioner except as necessary to make arrangements for Respondent’s visitation with the child. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) Family Court had jurisdiction to enter the final order of protection; and (2) Respondents’ challenge to Family Court’s finding that he violated the temporary order of protection was without merit. View "Lisa T. v. King E.T." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

by
The Court of Appeals modified the order of the Appellate Division that reversed a judgment by Supreme Court, vacated Defendant’s pleas, and dismissed Defendant’s indictment without prejudice. The People filed a motion to compel a DNA test and served the motion on retained defense counsel. The trial court, in Defendant’s absence, granted retained counsel’s motion to be relieved from representing Defendant and granted the People’s DNA discovery motion. After counsel was relieved, Defendant appeared in court. The court proceeding to act in place of counsel throughout an extensive colloquy. Notwithstanding Defendant’s entreaties for an attorney to advise him regarding the motion to compel a DNA test, the court rejected Defendant’s requests for an attorney. The Court of Appeals held that the Appellate Division correctly determined that Defendant was deprived his right to counsel during the pretrial proceedings concerning the DNA test. The court further held, however, that dismissal of the indictment was not “necessary and appropriate” to rectify the injustice to Defendant. View "People v. Smith" on Justia Law

by
When identification is an issue in a criminal case and the identifying witness and defendant appear to be of different races, a party is entitled, upon request, to a charge on cross-racial identification. Defendant was charged with robbery in the first degree and other crimes. During trial, defense counsel requested that the jury be instructed on cross-racial identification. The trial court denied the request, and the jury found Defendant guilty. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed and ordered a new trial, holding (1) in light of the “near consensus among cognitive and social psychologists that people have significantly greater difficulty in accurately identifying members of a different race than in accurately identifying members of their own race,” the need for a charge on the cross-race effect is evidence; and (2) under the circumstances of this case, the trial court abused its discretion in denying Defendant’s request for a cross-racial identification charge. View "People v. Boone" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The statute of limitations for a cause of action permitting parents to recover the extraordinary expenses incurred to care for a disabled infant who, but for a physician’s negligent failure to detect or advise on the risks of impairment, would not have been born runs from the date of birth rather than the date of the alleged negligence. Plaintiffs in both cases gave birth to children through in vitro fertilization treatment using an egg donor. Two of the three children born to the two couples had the Fragile X mutation, a chromosomal abnormality. Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants failed timely to screen the egg donor for the Fragile X mutation and that these negligent acts or omissions resulted in the parents incurring extraordinary expenses to care for and treat a child with a disability. Defendants moved to dismiss both complaints, arguing that the extraordinary expenses claims were time-barred because the limitations period runs from the date of the alleged malpractice, which they identified as the date the embryos were implanted in the mothers. Supreme Court denied the motion to dismiss, and the Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that because Plaintiffs’ causes of action for extraordinary expenses accrued upon the birth of their children, the claims were timely. View "B.F. v Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York, LLP" on Justia Law

by
The Court of Appeals answered a question certified to it by the United States Court of Appeals in the negative, answering that under New York law generally, and particularly in light of the New York Court of Appeals’ decision in Excess Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Factor Mutual Insurance Co., 3 NY3d 577 (N.Y. 2004), there is neither a rule of construction nor a presumption that a per occurrence liability limitation in a reinsurance contract caps all obligations of the reinsurer, such as payments made to reimburse the reinsured’s defense costs. The court held definitively that Excess did not supersede the “standard rules of contract interpretation” otherwise applicable to facultative reinsurance contracts. Therefore, New York law does not impose either a rule or a presumption that a limitation on liability clause necessarily caps all obligations owed by a reinsurer, such as defense costs, without regard for the specific language employed therein. View "Global Reinsurance Corp. of America v. Century Indemnity Co." on Justia Law

by
The New York State Department of Health (DOH) complied with its responsibilities under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) in assessing Jewish Home Lifecare’s (JHL) application to construct a new residential facility in New York City. Petitioners, parents of students attending a public elementary school next door to the proposed construction site and tenants living in apartment buildings surrounding the site, brought these two article 78 proceedings seeking to annul, vacate and set aside DOH’s determination, arguing that DOH relied on flawed assessment methodologies and failed adequately to mitigate the environmental dangers associated with the construction. Supreme Court vacated and annulled DOH’s approval of JHL’s application, concluding that DOH followed proper SEQRA procedures but failed adequately to consider all relevant mitigation measures. The appellate division reversed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that DOH complied with its SEQRA responsibilities by identifying and assessing relevant environmental hazards and imposed mitigation measures to protect public health and safety. View "Friends of P.S. 163, Inc. v. Jewish Home Lifecare, Manhattan" on Justia Law

by
N.Y. C.P.L.R. 908 applies to class actions that are settled or dismissed before the class has been certified, and not just to certified class actions. Plaintiff filed a class action against Defendants alleging that Defendants improperly classified employees as interns. Plaintiff accepted Defendants’ offer of compromise. When Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, the time within which Plaintiff was required to move for class certification pursuant to N.Y. C.P.L.R. 902 had expired. Supreme Court dismissed the complaint but denied Plaintiff’s cross motion to provide notice of the dismissal to putative class members pursuant to section 908. The appellate division reversed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that notice to putative class members of a proposed dismissal, discontinuance, or compromise must be given. View "Desrosiers v. Perry Ellis Menswear, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

by
In these appeals stemming from four residential mortgage-backed securities transactions, the Court of Appeals held that claims for general contract damages based on alleged breaches of a “no untrue statement” provision in mortgage loan purchase agreements cannot withstand a motion to dismiss based on a contract provision mandating cure of the breaches or repurchase of the loans as the sole remedy for breaches of mortgage loan-specific representations and warranties. Specifically, the court held that, inasmuch as the claims for general contract damages at issue were grounded in alleged breaches of the mortgage loan-specific representations and warranties to which the limited remedy fashioned by the sophisticated parties applies, Plaintiffs’ claims for general contract damages should be dismissed. View "Nomura Home Equity Loan, Inc., Series 2006-FM2 v. Nomura Credit & Capital, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts