In a recent Commercial Division case, Justice Elizabeth H. Emerson was asked to determine whether certain parties were bound by an arbitration clause and whether that arbitration clause applied to a particular controversy—two questions typically determined by the court. Then why did Justice Emerson defer these questions to the arbitrator? The answer requires a close

Commercial Division justices have been trailblazers in the bench’s efforts to improve the diversity and inclusiveness of the attorneys appearing before them.  For example, many Commercial Division justices include in their individual rules provisions specifying that oral argument is more likely to be granted in cases where women or attorneys from historically underrepresented groups have a speaking role.  Justice Jamieson of the Westchester Commercial Division recently emphasized to members of the New York State Bar Association at the Association’s Spring Meeting that she often insists on hearing from the women or diverse attorneys present, posing questions directly to them—sometimes to the chagrin of the “lead “ attorneys—during conferences and arguments.

These and other efforts of the Commercial Division justices have greatly contributed to the substantial improvement of the courts and the legal profession in its inclusion of women and attorneys from historically underrepresented backgrounds.  A recent survey published by the New York State Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts, however, found that “there still remains a significant strain of bias against female lawyers, litigants, and witnesses that adversely impacts the fairness of their treatment in the judicial process which must be vigorously addressed.”


Continue Reading Reminder to Practitioners: Gender Neutral Language Required

In one of my first posts, entitled Restrictive Covenants: The Importance of Understanding Their Contractual Limits, I wrote about a First Department decision upholding a portion of Justice Andrea Masley’s Order enjoining a defendant modeling agent and agency from unfairly competing, disclosing, or misappropriating the plaintiff’s confidential information and interfering with the plaintiff’s contractual

A cause of action accrues, triggering the commencement of the statute of limitations period, when “all of the factual circumstances necessary to establish a right of action have occurred, so that the plaintiff would be entitled to relief” (Gaidon v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am.).  The “continuing wrong” doctrine is an exception

The New York Commercial Division was created in 1993 “to test whether it would be possible, by concentrating on commercial litigation, to improve the efficiency with which such matters were addressed by the court and, at the same time, to enhance the quality of judicial treatment of those cases.”  By implementing rules and procedures developed with efficiency in mind and after careful consultation with Judges and practitioners alike, the Commercial Division has become a resounding success; it is one of the most efficient and effective forums in the world for the litigation of complex civil disputes.

It should therefore come as no surprise that other New York courts have taken notice of the innovative rule changes contributing to the success of the Commercial Division.  As Chief Administrative Judge Marks observes: “through the work of the Commercial Division Advisory Council – a committee of commercial practitioners, corporate in-house counsel and jurists devoted to the Division’ s excellence – the Commercial Division has functioned as an incubator, becoming a recognized leader in court system innovation, and demonstrating an unparalleled creativity and flexibility in development of rules and practices.”

Now, by Administrative Order effective February 1, 2021, the Uniform Civil Rules for the Supreme Court (the “Uniform Rules”) will incorporate, in whole or in part, nearly 30 Commercial Division Rules.  Some of these changes were foreshadowed by my colleague Paige Bartholomew in 2018 when the Unified Court System’s Advisory Committee on Civil Practice requested public comment on whether to adopt nine of the Commercial Division’s Rules.  
Continue Reading Innovation Becomes the Norm: Commercial Division Rules Shape Revised Uniform Rules for the Supreme Court and County Court

“Successor liability”, is it a theory or distinct claim or cause of action?

In a recent decision, Justice Sherwood analyzed the applicability of successor liability as a distinct cause of action, rather than merely a theory of liability in New York.  In Meyer v Blue Sky Alternative Investments LLC, plaintiff Meyer moved to amend

Recently, Justice James Hudson issued a decision testing the limits of New York’s Long Arm Statute. The Court was tasked with determining whether personal jurisdiction exists over an out-of-state defendant, based on a claim arising from an out-of-state contract, but where a portion of the work under the contract was performed in New York.

In