Several weeks ago, we reported on some recent updates to Manhattan Commercial Division Justice Bransten’s individual practice rules. New York commercial litigators should take note of some recent changes in the Queens County Commercial Division as well.
According to an official announcement from the Queens County Commercial Division, as of April 3, 2017, all Commercial Division motions made before Justices Marguerite A. Grays or Leonard Livote must be made returnable directly before either judge in their respective Commercial Division Parts and on their respective motion days (as opposed to the Queens County’s Centralized Motion Part or “CMP”), with the corresponding Notices of Motion or Proposed Orders to Show Cause bearing the words “COMMERCIAL DIVISION” in boldfaced type.
Justice Grays’s individual practice rules and Justice Livote’s individual practice rules, particularly with respect to Commercial Division motions made before them (again, as opposed to the CMP), are virtually identical. Some specifics worth noting:
• Both judges designate Tuesdays as their motion day, first call at 10:00 a.m.;
• Both judges emphasize the above-referenced “COMMERCIAL DIVISION” marking requirement, cautioning that non-compliance “may result in the motion being calendared in the CMP”;
• Both judges require that all moving papers be filed in hard copy in the Motion Support Office “at least five business days prior to the scheduled return date.” All answering papers, cross-motions, and replies, on the other hand, “will be accepted only on the return date in the Part”;
• Both judges require in-person appearances by counsel or pro se litigants on the return date of all disclosure motions and Orders to Show Cause, cautioning that such “papers will not be accepted from a calendar service”; and
• Both judges require that all applications for adjournment be made in person on the return date. Again, “calendar service or non-attorneys will not be permitted to make applications for adjournments.”
These are welcome distinctions for litigants interested in prosecuting and/or defending their commercial cases expeditiously. Before April 3, 2017, a commercial litigator wishing to make a motion in the Queens County Commercial Division was left to navigate the many and specific procedures of the CMP where motions are seemingly ever subject to the prospect of being “administratively rescheduled,” “marked off,” outright “discarded,” or otherwise delayed because of some other emboldened, highlighted, and/or underscored procedural particularity.